Jenkins v. Garcia et al

Filing 3

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 11/19/2020. (amd2S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/19/2020)Any non-CM/ECF Participants have been served by First Class Mail to the addresses of record listed on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)

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Case 3:20-cv-04420-WHA Document 3 Filed 11/19/20 Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 6 7 Plaintiff, 8 G. GARCIA; S. HERRERA; S. SALAS; J. VERNON, 11 Defendants. For the Northern District of California United States District Court ORDER OF DISMISSAL v. 9 10 No. C 20-4420 WHA (PR) ROBERT LEE JENKINS, / 12 13 INTRODUCTION 14 Plaintiff is a California prisoner who filed this pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 15 against prison officials for improperly paying funds from his trust account to the federal court 16 for partial filing fees in several of plaintiff’s civil rights cases. For the reasons discussed below, 17 the complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a cognizable claim for relief. Leave to proceed 18 in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. 19 ANALYSIS 20 A. STANDARD OF REVIEW 21 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which a plaintiff seeks 22 to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”). 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). In its review the court must dismiss 23 any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be 24 granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at § 25 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police 26 Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 27 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the 28 claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." “Specific facts are not necessary; the Case 3:20-cv-04420-WHA Document 3 Filed 11/19/20 Page 2 of 3 1 statement need only ‘“give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds 2 upon which it rests.”’” Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). 3 Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a 4 plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than 5 labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not 6 do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative 7 level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A 8 complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. 9 at 1974. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) 12 that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. 13 West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 14 B. 15 LEGAL CLAIMS Plaintiff alleges that defendants have improperly paid money from his trust account to 16 the federal court for initial partial payment of filing fees in several of plaintiff’s civil rights 17 cases. Plaintiff claims that these actions violated his right to due process. 18 Neither the negligent nor intentional deprivation of property states a due process claim 19 under section 1983 if the deprivation was random and not authorized by state law. See Parratt 20 v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535-44 (1981). The availability of an adequate state post-deprivation 21 remedy, e.g., a state tort action, precludes relief because it provides sufficient procedural due 22 process. See Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 128 (1990). California law provides such an 23 adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816-17 (9th Cir. 1994) 24 (citing Cal. Gov't Code §§ 810-895). If the deprivation of property was in fact authorized by 25 state law, however, the availability of a post-termination tort action does not necessarily provide 26 due process. See Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, 435-37 (1982). Plaintiff 27 alleges that the withdrawal of his funds was not random and unauthorized. This does not mean 28 2 Case 3:20-cv-04420-WHA Document 3 Filed 11/19/20 Page 3 of 3 1 that his right to due process was implicated. The alleged authority for defendants to take his 2 money was not state law. Rather, it was the federal court’s orders to pay partial filing fees that 3 purportedly authorized defendants to withdraw the funds. There is no legal authority providing 4 that an inmate’s right to due process is implicated when state officials deprive an inmate of 5 property under federal court authority. Plaintiff’s remedy, if any, for his claim that the federal 6 court orders did not authorize prison officials to pay the funds is to seek a refund of the funds 7 from the federal court to which such funds were paid. 8 9 Plaintiff seeks $25,000 in damages, although defendants disbursed less than $200 from his account. Under the PLRA, he may not obtain damages for emotional distress because he did not suffer any physical injury. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). The most he can obtain is compensatory 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 damages, or a refund of any overpayments, which, as discussed, he must seek from the federal 12 court to which such funds were paid. 13 CONCLUSION 14 For the reasons set out above, this case is DISMISSED. 15 The clerk shall enter judgment and close the file. 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. 17 Dated: November 19 , 2020. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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