Stamos v. Grounds

Filing 13

ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND. Amended Complaint due by 5/1/2014. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 04/03/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(tmi, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/4/2014)

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1 2 3 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 JAMES GEORGE STAMOS, JR., 7 Plaintiff, 8 9 United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 No. C-13-6012 TEH (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND v. RANDY GROUNDS, Warden, Doc. no. 8 Defendant. 11 / 12 13 Plaintiff James George Stamos, Jr., an inmate at 14 California State Prison-Corcoran (CSP-COR), filed a pro se civil 15 rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Randy 16 Grounds, Warden of Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), where 17 Plaintiff was previously incarcerated. 18 in forma pauperis (IFP) and moves for removal from the Security 19 Housing Unit (SHU). 20 pauperis in a separate order. 21 Court dismisses the complaint with leave to amend and denies the 22 motion for removal from the SHU. Plaintiff moves to proceed Plaintiff is granted leave to proceed in forma For the reasons stated below, the 23 DISCUSSION 24 I 25 A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any 26 case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or 27 officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 1 dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a 2 claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from 3 a defendant who is immune from such relief. 4 § 1915A(b)(1),(2). 5 Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 6 1990). 7 28 U.S.C. Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must 8 allege two elements: 9 or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the violation (1) that a right secured by the Constitution United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. 11 v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 12 West Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under 13 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the defendant's 14 actions both actually and proximately caused the deprivation of a 15 federally protected right. 16 Rehabilitation, 726 F.3d 1062, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013); Leer v. Murphy, 17 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988); Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 18 F.2d 1121, 1125 (9th Cir. 1981). 19 constitutional right within the meaning of § 1983 if he does an 20 affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative act or omits 21 to perform an act which he is legally required to do, that causes 22 the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains. 23 633. 24 under § 1983. 25 under no circumstances is there liability under § 1983 solely 26 because one is responsible for the actions or omissions of another. 27 Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). 28 Lemire v. California Dept. Corrections & A person deprives another of a Leer, 844 F.2d at Under no circumstances is there respondeat superior liability Lemire, 726 F.3d at 1074. 2 Or, in layman's terms, 1 A supervisor may be liable under § 1983 upon a showing of 2 personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a 3 sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful 4 conduct and the constitutional violation. 5 Diego, 942 F.2d 1435, 1446 (9th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (citation 6 omitted). 7 constitutional violations of his subordinates if the supervisor 8 participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the 9 violations and failed to act to prevent them." Redman v. County of San A supervisor therefore generally "is only liable for Taylor, 880 F.2d at United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 1045. 11 policy so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of 12 constitutional rights and is the moving force of the constitutional 13 violation." 14 895, 917 (9th Cir. 2001). This includes allegations that a supervisor implemented "a Redman, 942 F.2d at 1446; Jeffers v. Gomez, 267 F.3d 15 II 16 A 17 In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, on February 22, 2013, 18 SVSP Officers Cermeno and Dorivan falsified reports that accused 19 Plaintiff of battery with a weapon. 20 had a disciplinary hearing presided over by Lt. Ruiz where Plaintiff 21 was unlawfully denied witnesses, the opportunity to present evidence 22 and the opportunity to change his statement. 23 guilty and sent to the SHU. 24 a reply. 25 26 27 28 On March 31, 2013, Plaintiff Plaintiff was found Plaintiff appealed, but never received B Interests that are procedurally protected by the Due Process Clause may arise from two sources – the Due Process Clause 3 1 itself and laws of the states. 2 223-27 (1976). 3 ones pertaining to liberty. 4 affect the sentence imposed in an unexpected manner implicate the 5 Due Process Clause itself, whether or not they are authorized by 6 state law. 7 v. Jones, 445 U.S. 480, 493 (1980) (transfer to mental hospital), 8 and Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990) (involuntary 9 administration of psychotropic drugs)). Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, In the prison context, these interests are generally Changes in conditions so severe as to Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995) (citing Vitek A state may not impose such United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 changes without complying with minimum requirements of procedural 11 due process. 12 Id. at 484. Deprivations that are authorized by state law and are less 13 severe or more closely related to the expected terms of confinement 14 may also amount to deprivations of a procedurally protected liberty 15 interest, provided that (1) state statutes or regulations narrowly 16 restrict the power of prison officials to impose the deprivation, 17 i.e., give the inmate a kind of right to avoid it, and (2) the 18 liberty in question is one of "real substance." 19 Generally, "real substance" will be limited to freedom from (1) a 20 restraint that imposes "atypical and significant hardship on the 21 inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life," id. at 22 484, or (2) state action that "will inevitably affect the duration 23 of [a] sentence," id. at 487. 24 Id. at 477-87. Typically, placement in segregated housing in and of 25 itself does not implicate a protected liberty interest. 26 Francis, 345 F.3d 1071, 1078 (9th Cir. 2003); see, e.g., Sandin, 515 27 U.S. at 485-86 (inmate's thirty-day placement in disciplinary 28 4 Serrano v. 1 segregation, where conditions mirrored conditions imposed upon 2 inmates in administrative segregation and protective custody, did 3 not result in type of atypical, significant deprivation for which 4 state might create liberty interest; nor did situation present case 5 where state's action would inevitably affect duration of sentence); 6 Mujahid v. Meyer, 59 F.3d 931, 932 (9th Cir. 1995) (despite prior 7 case law determining disciplinary regulations created liberty 8 interest, under Sandin no liberty interest when inmate placed in 9 disciplinary segregation for 14 days). However, the circumstances United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 of a particular case may sometimes result in segregation working an 11 atypical and significant hardship on an inmate so that it does 12 implicate a protected liberty interest. 13 Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 223-25 (2005) (indefinite placement in Ohio's 14 "supermax" facility, where inmates are not eligible for parole 15 consideration, imposes an "atypical and significant hardship within 16 the correctional context"). 17 See, e.g., Wilkinson v. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974) established 18 several procedural requirements for disciplinary hearings. 19 "written notice of the charges must be given to the 20 disciplinary-action defendant in order to inform him of the charges 21 and to enable him to marshal the facts and prepare a defense." 22 at 564. 23 no less than 24 hours, should be allowed to the inmate to prepare 24 for the appearance before the [disciplinary committee]." 25 Third, "there must be a 'written statement by the factfinders as to 26 the evidence relied on and reasons' for the disciplinary action." 27 Id. 28 First, Id. Second, "at least a brief period of time after the notice, Id. Fourth, "the inmate facing disciplinary proceedings should be 5 1 allowed to call witnesses and present documentary evidence in his 2 defense when permitting him to do so will not be unduly hazardous to 3 institutional safety or correctional goals." 4 Bartholomew v. Watson, 665 F.2d 915, 917-18 (9th Cir. 1982) (right 5 to call witnesses is basic to fair hearing and decisions to preclude 6 should be on case by case analysis of potential hazards of calling 7 particular person). 8 9 Id. at 566; see also The fact that a prisoner may have been innocent of disciplinary charges brought against him, however, does not give United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 rise to a constitutional claim. 11 process in prison disciplinary procedures, not error-free 12 decision-making. 13 1994); Gorham v. Hedgpeth, 2013 WL 530904, *2 (N.D. Cal. 2013). The Constitution demands due Ricker v. Leapley, 25 F.3d 1406, 1410 (8th Cir. 14 C 15 Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a cognizable due 16 process claim for several reasons. 17 placement in the SHU itself does not implicate a protected liberty 18 interest. 19 Plaintiff also does not state a constitutional claim. 20 First, as indicated above, Second, the fact that false charges were brought against On the other hand, Plaintiff’s allegations that he was not 21 allowed to present witnesses or to present evidence may state a 22 cognizable due process violation. 23 complaint, this claim fails as well because Plaintiff only sues 24 Warden Grounds, against whom he makes no allegations. 25 above, there is no respondeat superior liability under § 1983. 26 Therefore, to state a claim against Warden Grounds, or against any 27 individual, Plaintiff must allege the conduct of each individual 28 However, as alleged in his 6 As indicated 1 2 that violated his constitutional rights. Therefore, Plaintiff’s due process claim against Warden 3 Grounds is dismissed with leave to amend to remedy this deficiency, 4 if he truthfully can do so. 5 Plaintiff may dismiss Warden Grounds and name other individuals who 6 violated his due process rights. Alternately, in an amended complaint, 7 8 9 III Plaintiff moves to be released from the SHU because he has been placed there illegally. As discussed above, in his complaint, United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 Plaintiff has failed to allege a cognizable due process claim for 11 placement in the SHU. 12 the noted deficiencies, his complaint will be served and his claim 13 will be adjudicated at that time. 14 release from the SHU is denied. 15 If Plaintiff amends his complaint to remedy Therefore, Plaintiff’s motion for CONCLUSION 16 For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows: 17 1. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. 18 2. Plaintiff’ motion for release from the SHU is denied. 19 20 Doc. no. 8. 3. If Plaintiff can cure the pleading deficiencies 21 described above, he shall file an AMENDED COMPLAINT within 22 twenty-eight days from the date this order is filed. 23 complaint must include the caption and civil case number used in 24 this order (C 13-6012 TEH (PR)) and the words AMENDED COMPLAINT on 25 the first page. 26 27 28 The amended The amended complaint must indicate which specific, named Defendant(s) was involved in the deprivation of Plaintiff's due 7 1 process rights and what each Defendant did that violated Plaintiff’s 2 due process rights. 3 Plaintiff may not incorporate material from the prior 4 complaint by reference. 5 twenty-eight days and in accordance with this Order will result in a 6 finding that further leave to amend would be futile, and the 7 complaint will be dismissed. 8 9 Failure to file an amended complaint within 4. It is Plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the Court informed of any change of United States District Court For the Northern District of California 10 address by filing a separate paper with the Clerk headed "Notice of 11 Change of Address," and must comply with the Court's orders in a 12 timely fashion. 13 this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of 14 Civil Procedure 41(b). Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of 15 5. This Order terminates docket number 8. 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 18 19 DATED 04/03/2014 THELTON E. HENDERSON United States District Judge 20 21 22 23 24 25 G:\PRO-SE\TEH\CR.13\Stamosv Grounds12-6012 DWLA..wpd 26 27 28 8

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