United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
relevant times in this action, plaintiff was a state prisoner
under the authority of the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Plaintiff recently
informed the court that he has been transferred to Atascadero
State Hospital. Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is
before the court for screening. This action is referred to
the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
Local Rule 302(c). For the reasons that follow, the
undersigned recommends that this action be dismissed without
leave to amend.
March 16, 2017, while a state prisoner at Salinas Valley
State Prison, plaintiff filed his original complaint in this
action in the Amador County Superior Court. ECF No. 1 at
4-43. On December 7, 2018, defendants paid the filing fee and
removed the action to this federal district court pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). ECF No. 1 at 1-3; ECF No. 2.
Plaintiff filed a motion to remand the case back to the
Amador County Superior Court, ECF No. 4, which defendants
opposed, ECF No. 5. Thereafter, while a prisoner at
California State Prison Corcoran, plaintiff filed his First
Amended Complaint. ECF No. 6. On July 30, 2019, the
undersigned recommended that plaintiff's motion to remand
be denied, ECF No. 8, and the district judge adopted that
recommendation on September 4, 2019, ECF No. 9.
undersigned now screens plaintiff's First Amended
Complaint (FAC) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Screening of Plaintiff's Complaint
Legal Standards for Screening Prisoner Civil Rights
court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or 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). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires only
‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to
‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
“[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly at 555). To survive dismissal for failure to
state a claim, “a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal at 678 (quoting Twombly at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to
a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. (citing Twombly at
556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are
‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability, it ‘stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of “entitlement to
relief.”'” Id. (quoting
Twombly at 557).
document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally
construed,' and ‘a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (internal
quotation marks omitted)). See also Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(e) (“Pleadings shall be so construed as to do
justice.”). Additionally, a pro se litigant is entitled
to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an
opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's deficiencies
cannot be cured by amendment. See Noll v. Carlson,
809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987).
allegations are drawn both from the operative FAC, ECF No. 6,
and a copy of the First Level Review (FLR) decision
addressing plaintiff's relevant inmate appeal, which was
provided as an exhibit to plaintiff's original complaint,
ECF No. 1 at 26-7.
alleges that on June 23, 2015, during his prior incarceration
at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP), he received confidential
legal documents through the mail that had been opened outside
his presence. On June 26, 2015, plaintiff received a notice
via institutional mail stating that the subject legal mail
had gone out as “regular” rather than
confidential mail. Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance (CDCR
602) on July 10, 2015. On September 8, 2015, the matter was
considered at First Level Review (FLR). Plaintiff was
interviewed by defendant J. Dowdy, the MCSP Mailroom
Supervisor. The FLR decision, signed both by defendant Dowdy
and defendant D. Lorey, MCSP Associate Warden for Business
Services, made the following findings, ECF No. 1 at 27
The incoming address on the original envelope was read as
Steve Cole being a lawyer working in the Law Office of the
Public Defender. When the state bar was searched there was no
listing for Steve Cole, Attorney at Law. As there was no
valid attorney's name listed, the envelope was determined
to not meet the requirements of Title 15 § 3142 and thus
not handled as confidential correspondence. However, the
paperwork you provided ...