United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SCREENING;
AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO DISMISS SECOND AMENDED
COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE (Docs. 22, 23)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
has filed a second amended complaint asserting claims against
governmental employees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
Court is required to screen complaints brought by inmates
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1), (2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or
any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall
dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . .
. the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. §
Relevant Procedural Background
initiated this action on December 19, 2017, for claims
related to the delayed receipt of his personal property
following several institutional transfers; this property
included legal documents, personal hygiene items, and a
Torah. The Court screened the complaint and found it lacked a
cognizable claim. (Doc. 12.) Plaintiff then filed a first
amended complaint (Doc. 14), which the Court screened again
and deemed it to be substantively identical to the original
complaint. Because plaintiff failed to state a claim and his
allegations suggested that there were no additional facts to
plead, the Court issued findings and recommendations to
dismiss the first amended complaint without leave to amend.
(Doc. 18.) Plaintiff objected to the findings and
recommendations. (Doc. 19.) On review of the objections,
District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill granted the findings
and recommendations in part, giving plaintiff one final
opportunity to state an Eighth Amendment conditions of
confinement claim and a First Amendment free exercise claim.
Plaintiff's second amended complaint follows from that
order and is now before the Court for screening.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual
allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice, ”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)), and courts “are not required to indulge
unwarranted inferences, ” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual
allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
may bring § 1983 claims against individuals acting
“under color of state law.” See 42
U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2)(B)(ii).
Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each
defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his
rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th
Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual
allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret
Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but
nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short
of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
brings this civil rights action against four defendants:
Corcoran State Prison Associate Warden R. Godwin, Chief
Deputy Warden J. Perez, Secretary of the California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”) S. Kernan, and Appeals Examiner /
Captain T. Lee. Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive
relief. Plaintiff's allegations are summarized as
Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment Claims
first challenge concerns the relationship between his
indigency and the CDCR's alleged practice of excessively
delaying the transfer of an inmate's personal property
following the inmate's transfer to another institution.
Plaintiff claims that he was transferred multiple times since
2014, accompanying each transfer was a six to eight-week
delay in the receiving his personal property.
who owes restitution and court fees, has been unable to
purchase any hygiene items from the canteen because any money
that is in his account is taken before he is able to buy
anything. Therefore, during those periods while he awaited
the receipt of his personal property, he was forced to rely
on items provided to him by the institution, to include
toothpaste, soap, and shower shoes. In lieu of toothpaste,
however, plaintiff was (and presumably still is) provided
baking soda, which causes plaintiff's gums to bleed and
become highly sensitive. This prevents him from eating
healthy solid foods, such as apples, and forces him instead
to eat “a lot of bread, ” resulting in weight
gain and gingivitis. He also claims that he was denied shower
shoes, forcing him to go extended periods of time without a
shower for fear of contracting an illness walking barefoot in
the showers. Between 2015-2016, plaintiff claims he
“went a whole year without a shower and using a piece
of soap as toothpaste.”
early 2017, and in anticipation of an upcoming transfer to
CSP, plaintiff submitted an inmate grievance explaining his
past problems with the delayed receipt and/or loss of his
personal property, but the appeal was not processed. Upon his
transfer to CSP in March 2017, plaintiff claims that
“most of his property was either damaged or
missing.” As a result, from March 2017 until October
2017, plaintiff was forced to forego showers and to wash his
clothes, body, and cell with a single bar of soap.
March 30, 2017-the same month that he was transferred to
CSP-plaintiff filed an inmate grievance regarding the
property transfer policy in general and its effect on
indigent inmates. This appeal was denied at the first level
of review by defendant Associate Warden Godwin; denied at the
second level by defendant Warden Perez; and ...