Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Corral v. Warren

United States District Court, E.D. California

January 13, 2020

DYLAN SCOTT CORRAL, Plaintiff,
v.
WARREN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          CAROLYN K. DELANEY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is a California prisoner proceeding pro se with an action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On May 8, 2019, the court screened plaintiff's second amended complaint as the court is required to do under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and found that plaintiff could proceed on two claims arising under the First Amendment. The remaining defendants, Berlier, Bouldin, Woodman and Melgarejo, have filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007), and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). Review is generally limited to the complaint. Cervantes v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1274 (9th Cir. 1993). Of course, the court “draw[s] on its judicial experience and common sense.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

         An exception to the rule that review is generally limited to the contents of the complaint is that the court can consider judicially noticed facts pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A fact which can be judicially noticed is a fact “not subject to reasonable dispute because it (1) is generally known within the trial court's jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably questioned.”

         1. Computer Printouts

         In his second amended complaint, plaintiff asserts that on September 5, 2017, while housed at the Glenn County Jail, he was informed that mail addressed to him was returned to the sender by defendant Berlier because the mail included printouts from a computer.[1] Plaintiff alleges that the jail policy of not permitting inmates to possess computer printouts was initiated by Lt. Bouldin.[2]

         In Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396, 408-409 (1974), the Supreme Court held that “[t]he addressee as well as the sender of direct personal correspondence derives from the First and Fourteenth Amendments a protection against unjustified governmental interference with the intended communication.” With respect to prisoner mail, any interference must be “reasonably related to legitimate penological needs.” Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 413 (1989).

         Nothing in plaintiff's second amended complaint suggests that any legitimate penological interest, such as correctional safety, is furthered by a blanket ban on all computer printouts. This being the case, defendants' motion to dismiss should be denied with respect to plaintiff's claim that he was denied correspondence simply because it included such material. In a motion for summary judgment, defendants are free to point to evidence indicating that a blanket ban is reasonably related to legitimate penological needs, or to evidence indicating that the material which was returned is not protected under the First Amendment.[3]

         2. Spiral Binding

         Plaintiff also claims that on December 4, 2017, he was informed by defendant Woodman that he had received mail from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. However, Woodman told plaintiff that plaintiff would not be permitted to possess the material which was received because it had a “spiral binding.” Woodman told plaintiff the material would be placed with plaintiff's property. On December 6, 2017, plaintiff received written notice from defendant Melgarejo that the mail from the Northern District was rejected by defendant LT. Bouldin because it had a spiral binding. At that point, the mail was returned to the Northern District.

         The court understands that jail officials have a legitimate safety concern with inmates possessing material with stiff metal spiral binding. But, the court questions whether a blanket ban on all spiral binding, including more malleable plastic, could serve a valid purpose. Further, banning the material with the spiral binding altogether, rather than removing the binding and allowing the inmate to possess what remains, appears to be an overreaction. In any case, nothing in plaintiff's second amended complaint suggests that any legitimate penological interest, such as correctional safety, is furthered by a blanket ban on all material with spiral bindings.

         3. Qualified Immunity

         Finally, defendants argue plaintiff's remaining claims are barred by the “qualified immunity” doctrine. “Government officials enjoy qualified immunity from civil damages unless their conduct violates ‘clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.'” Jeffers v. Gomez, 267 F.3d 895, 910 (9th Cir. 2001) quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). In analyzing a qualified immunity defense, the court must consider the following: (1) whether the alleged facts, taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, demonstrate that defendant's conduct violated a statutory or constitutional right; and (2) whether the right at issue was clearly established at the time of the incident. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001).

         As indicated above, plaintiff has a clearly established right to receive mail while incarcerated and any limitation on the material plaintiff can receive must be “reasonably related to legitimate penological needs.” This right was clearly established at the time plaintiff alleges his First Amendment rights were violated. Accordingly, none of the defendants are immune from ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.