McKinnie v. Munger et al

Filing 3

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 4/20/07. (jjo, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/20/2007)

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McKinnie v. Munger et al Doc. 3 Case 3:07-cv-02024-JSW Document 3 Filed 04/20/2007 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA BRUCE THOMAS MCKINNIE, ) ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) C. O. MUNGER AND C. O. ) MENDOZA, ) ) Defendants. _______________________________ ) No. C 07-2024 JSW (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against several correctional officers at the prison who he contends are responsible for the negligent destruction of personal property that he purchased from the canteen. Plaintiff alleges that the actions of the officers was not pursuant to "common CDC[R] practice but they are doing it anyway and refuse to reimburse me." Plaintiff seeks compensation for the loss of his property as well as transfer to a different prison and prosecution of the responsible officers. DISCUSSION A. Standard of Review Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such 1 Case 3:07-cv-02024-JSW Document 3 Filed 04/20/2007 Page 2 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). B. Claims In his complaint, Plaintiff asserts a claims against the named Defendants for negligent or intentional destruction of his personal property. Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a federal claim for relief under 1983. Ordinarily, due process of law requires notice and an opportunity for some kind of hearing prior to the deprivation of a significant property interest. See Memphis Light, Gas & Water Div. v. Craft, 436 U.S. 1, 19 (1978). However, neither the negligent nor intentional deprivation of property states a due process claim under 1983 if the deprivation was random and unauthorized. See 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 v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984) (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 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, deprivation statutory provision for post-deprivation hearing or common law tort remedy for erroneous deprivation satisfies due process); King v. Massarweh, 782 F.2d 825, 826 (9th Cir. 1986) (same). California law provides such an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Cal. Gov't Code 810-895). Therefore, where a prison official acts in a random and unauthorized manner to deny an inmate his property (that is, he fails to act in accord with established prison procedures), the claim must be pursued in state, not 2 Case 3:07-cv-02024-JSW Document 3 Filed 04/20/2007 Page 3 of 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 federal, court. As Plaintiff here alleges that prison officials failed to provide him with the required process before depriving him of his property, Plaintiff fails to state a due process claim for deprivation of his property. As such, Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim under 1983 against the named Defendants and must be DISMISSED without prejudice to Plaintiff bringing his claims in a proper forum. CONCLUSION For the forgoing reasons, Plaintiff's complaint is hereby DISMISSED. The Clerk shall close the file and enter judgment in this case. IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: April 20, 2007 JEFFREY S. WHITE United States District Judge 3

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