United States District Court, E.D. California
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel. On October
31, 2019, plaintiff's complaint raising multiple
unrelated and improperly-joined claims was dismissed and
plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint. On
December 17, 2019, plaintiff was granted sixty days in which
to file an amended complaint that complies with the October
31, 2019 order.
January 3, 2020, plaintiff filed a document entitled
“Petition for Writ of Replevin.” (ECF No. 14.) In
his petition, filed on a state court form, plaintiff appears
to raise claims of lost and destroyed personal property and
seeks monetary and injunctive relief under California Penal
Code §§ 1258, 1259, and 1536.
as plaintiff was previously informed in the court's
screening order, the United States Supreme Court has held
that “an unauthorized intentional deprivation of
property by a state employee does not constitute a violation
of the procedural requirements of the Due Process Clause of
the Fourteenth Amendment if a meaningful postdeprivation
remedy for the loss is available.” Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984). The negligent or
intentional deprivation of property fails to state a
cognizable due process claim under section 1983 if the
deprivation was random and unauthorized. Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981) (state employee
negligently lost prisoner's hobby kit), overruled in
part on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474
U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Hudson, 468 U.S. at 533
(intentional destruction of inmate's property). The
availability of an adequate state post-deprivation remedy,
e.g. a state tort action, precludes relief because it
provides prisoners with sufficient procedural due process.
See Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 128 (1990)
(where state cannot foresee, and therefore provide meaningful
hearing prior to the deprivation, a statutory provision for
post-deprivation hearing or a state common law tort remedy
for erroneous deprivation satisfies due process); King v.
Massarweh, 782 F.2d 825, 826 (9th Cir. 1986) (same). The
Ninth Circuit has long recognized that California law
provides such an adequate post-deprivation remedy.
Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir.
1994) (citing Cal. Gov't Code §§ 810-895).
of property resulting from negligence, or “mere lack of
due care” do not deny due process at all, and must be
redressed through a state court damages action. See
Daniels, 474 U.S. at 328 (“[T]he Due Process
Clause is simply not implicated by a negligent act of an
official causing unintended loss of or injury to life,
liberty, or property.”); Daniels, 474 U.S. at
330 (“‘To hold that this kind of loss is a
deprivation of property within the meaning of the Fourteenth
Amendment seems not only to trivialize, but grossly to
distort the meaning and intent of the
Constitution.'” (quoting Parratt, 451 U.S.
at 545 (Stewart, J., concurring)). In fact, the Supreme Court
has explicitly warned against turning the Fourteenth
Amendment and § 1983 into a “font of tort law to
be superimposed upon whatever systems may already be
administered by the States.” See Paul v.
Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 701 (1976) (“the procedural
guarantees of the Due Process Clause cannot be the source for
plaintiff contends he was deprived of personal property, any
remedy he may have lies in state court, not federal court. In
other words, plaintiff must seek redress through the
California courts. Based on such binding authorities, and the
fact that plaintiff was previously advised that he could not
pursue such property claims in federal court, the court
concludes that the petition for writ of replevin was
improperly filed in this court. Therefore, the undersigned
declines to construe such filing as plaintiff's amended
civil rights complaint because it does not comply with the
October 31, 2019 order, and the petition is disregarded.
Plaintiff is granted an extension of time to file an amended
complaint that complies with the court's October 31, 2019
addition, plaintiff appended a copy of the court's last
order on which plaintiff complains that the January 3, 2010
order contained “no teeth, ” apparently because
the court did not order the litigation coordinator or the
supervising deputy attorney general to meet with plaintiff by
a date certain. However, because there is no operative
complaint on file, the court has no jurisdiction to issue
such an order at this time. Moreover, it appears that
plaintiff has now received at least some of his property.
because plaintiff has not yet identified the specific claims
he intends to pursue in this action, it is unclear whether
plaintiff needs any of his personal property in order to file
a proper pleading in this case. Prisoners are not required to
cite legal authority, including cases or statutes, in the
initial pleading. Rather, plaintiff is only required to name
and sufficiently identify each defendant, identify the
federal cause of action or constitutional violation and set
forth the facts that demonstrate his constitutional rights
were violated by each named defendant. Indeed, the court
provides state prisoners with a civil rights complaint form
which plaintiff may use to identify his claims and articulate
the facts supporting such claims in a concise fashion. The
court will direct the Clerk of Court to provide plaintiff
with a copy of his initial complaint filed in this action
should the pleading assist plaintiff in filing his amended
complaint. Due to the difficulties plaintiff has recently
experienced, plaintiff is granted sixty days in which to file
the amended complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
improperly-filed petition for writ of replevin (ECF No. 14)
Plaintiff is granted sixty days from the date of this order
in which to file an amended complaint that complies with the
October 31, 2019 order; and
Clerk of the Court is directed to send plaintiff a copy of
his original complaint (ECF No. 1), as well as the form for
filing a civil rights complaint by a prisoner.