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Thomas v. Montgomery

United States District Court, S.D. California

December 3, 2019

ALBERT THOMAS, CDCR #E-88239, Plaintiff,
W. L. MONTGOMERY, et al. Defendants.


          Hon. Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Defendants J. Garcia, J. Ramirez, Jr., A. Beltran and J. Coronado's motion to dismiss the first amended complaint. Plaintiff did not file an opposition. The Court finds that the matter is appropriate for decision without oral argument pursuant to Local Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1). Based on the reasoning below, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' motion to dismiss.

         Procedural Background

         Plaintiff Albert Thomas (“Plaintiff”), a prisoner currently incarcerated at North Kern State Prison in Delano, California, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”), filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 6, 2018. (Dkt. No. 1, Compl.) Plaintiff claimed the Wardens of Calipatria State Prison (“CAL”) and Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), together with CAL correctional and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) appeals officials, violated his due process rights during a 2015 disciplinary proceeding at CAL which resulted in his administrative segregation for 184 days and an adverse transfer to PBSP. (Id. at 1-6, 14.[1]) Plaintiff further claims several CAL officials confiscated, destroyed, or lost his personal property by failing to properly inventory and transfer it to PBSP, and CDCR appeals officials failed to provide him a meaningful remedy for that loss. (Id. at 9-10.)

         On October 25, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed IFP but simultaneously dismissed his complaint for failing to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A. (Dkt. No. 3.) Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended pleading in order to correct the deficiencies of pleading identified in the Court's Order. (See Id. at 13-14.) Plaintiff failed to timely comply with the Court's Order and the entire matter was dismissed on December 21, 2018. (Dkt. No. 5.) Plaintiff later sought leave of Court to vacate the judgment entered and file his amended pleading which was granted by this Court on January 16, 2019. (Dkt. No. 10.) On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). (Dkt. No. 12.)

         On sua sponte review of the FAC, the Court dismissed Defendants PBSP Warden Ducart, Davis, W.L. Montgomery, M. Pollard, and M. Voong pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) for failing to state a claim upon which § 1983 may be granted and directed that summons be issued as to Defendants Correctional Officer Ramirez, A. Beltran, Lt. Coronado, and Sergeant Garcia. (Dkt. No. 13.)

         The remaining Defendants move to dismiss the First and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Defendant A. Beltran; the Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Ramirez, Coronado, and Beltran; and the Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Ramirez. (Dkt. No. 23.) No opposition was filed by Plaintiff.

         Factual Allegations

         On June 24, 2015, while he was incarcerated at CAL, Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation (“Ad-Seg”) pending a CDCR 115 investigation and disciplinary hearing after a weapon was found inside a mattress in the cell he shared with another inmate named Banks. (Dkt. No. 12, FAC at 6-8.) Plaintiff gave his statement to a correctional officer and asked her to “relay a few questions” to Correctional Officer Ramirez. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff also requested that the mattresses in the cell be photographed so that he would be able to provide documentary evidence that was “needed for Plaintiff's defense against the charged offense.” (Id.) He further claims that Ramirez “knowingly wrote a false CDCR rules violation report in an attempt to punish Plaintiff just because.” (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff claims he was “improperly” confined to Ad-Seg for 184 days, lost 360 days behavior credit and 10 days loss of yard. (Id. at 9.)

         Plaintiff claims that “once J. Coronado, A. Beltran, M. Pollard, M. Voong, and W.L. Montgomery were made aware of these facts, each defendant” had an “obligation to correct the problem.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims these Defendants “willfully, willingly, aggressively, and recklessly disregarded their own rules and regulations” from the “very start.” (Id.)

         In addition, Plaintiff claims to have engaged in a “heated exchange” with Sergeant Garcia regarding how his property was to be treated and told Garcia that he would “be written up for said treatment.” (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff alleges, as a result, Garcia “retaliated against him” when he “grabbed Plaintiff's headphones.” (Id.) Garcia allegedly took the headphones from Plaintiff, stated that the headphones had been “altered, ” and told Plaintiff that he would “either have to send them home or donate them.” (Id.) Plaintiff “opted to send them home” and was instructed to “fill out” a “trust withdrawal form.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims he filed an administrative grievance when he later learned that Garcia had not “mailed Plaintiff's headphones home.” (Id.) He claims Garcia “introduced false evidence” into Plaintiff's grievance to “make it seem as if Plaintiff was providing false information into the appeals process.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff also alleges “A. Beltran conspired to aid” Garcia in his retaliatory acts “against Plaintiff” when Beltran “introduced a scheme to deny Plaintiff his full compensation.” (Id. at 11.) Beltran “contacted Plaintiff offering only a TV if Plaintiff would sign away any chance of recovering the rest of his compensation.” (Id.)

         Plaintiff claims he suffered “atypical and significant hardship” when he was housed in Ad-Seg. (Id. at 12.) Some of these alleged hardships include losing his prison job, losing the opportunity for an early hearing with the parole board, being placed in “shackles and cuffs” each time he left his ...

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