Lemons v. Camarillo

Filing 188

ORDER Granting 142 Defendant Valenzuela's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court GRANTS Defendant Valenzuela's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 142-4) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 as to all of Plaintiff's claims against him. Signed by Judge Dana M. Sabraw on 8/15/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service)(aef)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 TERRELL DESHON LEMONS, CDCR #P-83680, ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT VALENZUELA'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Plaintiff, 13 vs. 14 15 Case No.: 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB A. CAMARILLO, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 Terrell Deshon Lemons (“Plaintiff”), a prisoner at Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, 23 California, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”), is proceeding with a Second 24 Amended Complaint (“SAC”) filed pursuant to the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 25 (ECF No. 60). 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 1 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 I. Procedural History 2 On January 24, 2017, Defendant Valenzuela1 filed a Motion for Summary Judgment 3 pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56 (ECF No. 142). On February 13, 2017, the Court notified 4 Plaintiff of the requirements for opposing summary judgment pursuant to Klingele v. 5 Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988) and Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 6 1998) (en banc), and set a briefing schedule (ECF No. 148). Plaintiff was given until June 7 9, 2017, to notify the Court that he did not oppose Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion or file 8 an Opposition. (Id. at 2.) 9 That date has long since passed and Plaintiff has not filed an Opposition or any 10 notification relating to the Motion currently before the Court. The Court has determined 11 no oral argument is required, and took Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary 12 Judgment under submission for resolution on the papers pursuant to S.D. CAL. CIVLR 13 7.1.d. 14 Having carefully considered the record as submitted, the Court now GRANTS 15 Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary Judgment. 16 II. Factual Background Plaintiff’s Claims 17 A. 18 On August 15, 2012, while housed at Centinela State Prison (“CEN”), Plaintiff’s cell 19 was searched “during a massive search of Facility C-2 Building.” (SAC at 4.) Plaintiff 20 and his cellmate were returning to their cell at approximately 3:30 p.m. and realized that a 21 radio was missing that was not documented in the cell search. (Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff and 22 his cellmate “called upon Sgt. Cortez and 3rd Watch Building Officer Liss to verify that 23 Plaintiff’s radio was indeed missing.” (Id. at 5.) 24 The next day, on August 16, 2012, Plaintiff approached Correctional Officer 25 Camarillo and showed him that the radio had not been documented as confiscated during 26 27 1 28 This Motion is brought by Defendant Valenzuela only. The remaining Defendants are not currently moving for summary judgment and remain in this action. 2 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 the cell search. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges Camarillo responded by denying that Plaintiff’s name 2 or identification was on the radio. 3 documentation” that showed “Sgt. D. Pollard had recently compensated Plaintiff with that 4 exact radio.” (Id.) However, Defendant Camarillo “insisted ‘he was not giving [Plaintiff’s] 5 radio back.’” (Id.) 6 (Id.) Plaintiff “immediately produced valid Plaintiff then “walked about 10 feet” and spoke to an unidentified Sergeant who 7 “advised [Plaintiff] to 602 (appeal).” (Id. at 6.) 8 writing the appeal and later that day a radio was “placed in front of Plaintiff’s cell” by 9 another inmate. (Id.) Plaintiff returned to his cell to begin 10 On August 23, 2012, Plaintiff was exiting the “chowhall” when Camarillo decided 11 to search Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he complied with the search but the pat down 12 search became “aggressive.” (Id.) Plaintiff asked Camarillo “why are you grabbing me 13 like that?” (Id. at 5.) While receiving no response from Camarillo Plaintiff claims he “felt 14 a shot of pain from his testicles to the gut of his stomach.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he was 15 unable to remain in the “spread eagle” position due to the pain but Camarillo told him to 16 “put your [expletive] hands in the air and squeezed his grasp harder.” (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff 17 “bucked in an attempt to free himself” but he was “taken to the ground immediately by 18 Defendant Camarillo from the front and Defendants J. Butcher and D. Zamora from 19 behind.” (Id.) 20 Plaintiff was “subdued and restrained on the ground” by Butcher and Zamora while 21 “Camarillo continued to punch Plaintiff upon the face and while applying a choke-hold.” 22 (Id.) Plaintiff claims that “after allowing this to go on for some time,” Butcher “pulled 23 and/or waved” Camarillo off Plaintiff. (Id.) 24 Following this incident, Camarillo allegedly told his supervisors that he “felt ‘contra- 25 band’ on Plaintiff and Plaintiff resisted.” (Id.) 26 contraband was ever found on him. (Id.) He further claims that Defendants Greenwood, 27 Valenzuela and Pollard “all accepted as true” that Plaintiff had contraband despite no 28 evidence of any contraband. (Id. at 8.) However, Plaintiff claims that no 3 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 Plaintiff was escorted to the Program Office where he “immediately told” Defendant 2 Pollard that Camarillo had used excessive force and that it was “in reprisal for Plaintiff’s 3 complaint about his radio the week prior.” (Id.) Plaintiff also claims he told Valenzuela 4 and Greenwood about the excessive force by Camarillo as well. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that 5 Greenwood “declined to accept and/or investigate Plaintiff’s version of the events.” (Id. 6 at 9.) Greenwood allegedly told Plaintiff that “you are a liar, you assaulted my officer . . . 7 and if it’s the last thing [Greenwood] does, [Greenwood] is going to make sure that Plaintiff 8 would be transferred to Pelican Bay, so that Plaintiff would never see his family again.” 9 (Id.) 10 A few hours later, Plaintiff was again brought to the Program Office where he would 11 be transferred to Administrative Segregation (“Ad-Seg”). (Id. at 8.) However, Plaintiff 12 claims he realized that his “radio was not on the inventory list/receipt and immediately 13 brought it to Sgt. Pollard’s attention.” (Id.) Pollard sent Defendant Ramirez to locate 14 Plaintiff’s radio and bring it to Plaintiff. (Id.) When the radio was located, Pollard “signed 15 ‘602’ on the inventory sheet to show she placed the radio in Plaintiff’s property upon 16 departure.” (Id.) However, on September 21, 2012, Plaintiff received his “allowable 17 property” while housed in Ad-Seg but there was no radio contained in the property. (Id.) 18 Plaintiff appealed the issue and was again “granted a Super III G.E. radio.” (Id.) 19 On October 28, 2012, while still housed in Ad-Seg, Plaintiff was permitted to receive 20 “non-contact (behind the glass) visits” with his wife. (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff claims that his 21 wife was “ordered to a closed room by a Sgt. or Lt. Ramirez and subjected to being 22 searched in further reprisal and [to] discourage Plaintiff’s wife from visiting.” (Id.) 23 On April 3, 2014, Plaintiff “brought this (threat) and other situations where Plaintiff 24 experienced other reprisal/retaliation” to former Warden Miller’s attention. (Id.) Plaintiff 25 claims she “assured Plaintiff that this would not occur” while in the presence of 26 Greenwood. (Id.) The next day, on April 4, 2014, Plaintiff submitted an “Inmate Request 27 CDCR 22” form to Miller regarding the threat by Greenwood which was received by Miller 28 on April 14, 2014, and forwarded to Defendant Galeana, a correctional counselor. (Id. at 4 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 10.) Galeana then passed Plaintiff’s complaint to Defendant Angulo, also a correctional 2 counselor. (Id.) 3 On April 21, 2014, Angulo called Plaintiff into his office “to reiterate/reassure 4 Plaintiff that he would indeed by referred by ICC to be transferred to a Level III prison, 5 not a Level IV prison (Pelican Bay State Prison) as previously threatened” by Greenwood. 6 (Id.) Four days later, Angulo “retracted this reassurance” on the grounds that there had 7 been a “miscalculation in points.” (Id.) However, Galeana called Plaintiff into his office 8 to inform him that he was “taking Plaintiff back to ICC for Level III transfer” because he 9 had contacted the “Head Office in Sacramento” to review his calculations for accuracy. 10 (Id.) 11 Plaintiff was later called back again to Galeana’s office between May 16, 2014, and 12 May 22, 2014, and was told that “some guy in CSR, at Centinela, have a stick up his ass 13 because nobody aggravated your offense to make you a high-risk, high security Level IV 14 inmate.” (Id.) Previously in August of 2010, Plaintiff claims Valenzuela found Plaintiff 15 “not guilty” of mutual combat with another inmate but “approximately 2 years later, and 16 coincidentally in August of 2012, Plaintiff was re-issued the same rule violation report 17 (RVR) 115 and found ‘guilty’ for fighting.” (Id. at 11.) Plaintiff alleges there was no other 18 documentation of this finding other than Valenzuela’s entry in a log book. (Id.) 19 Plaintiff claims this was done to make him eligible for a Level IV placement. (Id.) 20 On June 9, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to Pelican Bay State Prison, a Level IV 21 prison, by himself in a van. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that this was intentional so that his “radio 22 would be confiscated once again, this time without compensation.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims 23 he was subjected to further acts of retaliation while housed at Pelican Bay. (Id. at 11-12.) 24 On August 23, 2012, following the alleged incident with Camarillo, Plaintiff claims 25 Defendant Villalobos-Valenzuela “was on notice and notified of the incident” but waited 26 an “hour and 30 minutes after the excruciating pain” to examine Plaintiff.” (Id. at 15.) 27 Plaintiff further alleges Villalobos-Valenzuela “failed to report any and all marks, bruises 28 and/or scratches upon Plaintiff’s body.” (Id. at 16.) Plaintiff claims that in the days 5 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 following the incident, he “started to notice his vision getting blurry in his right eye, the 2 eye Defendant Camarillo was punching, while being restrained.” (Id.) Plaintiff did not 3 immediately assume it was serious but it later “flared up and [Plaintiff] had to be rushed to 4 CTC 2-4 weeks later.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims to continue to suffer from “negative reactions 5 to bright lights and blurriness.” (Id.) Defendant’s Claims 6 B. 7 Defendant Valenzuela, a Correctional Lieutenant, was employed at Centinela State 8 Prison (“CEN”) until October of 2013. (See Def.’s Valenzuela’s Decl., ECF No. 142-4, ¶ 9 1.) As a Lieutenant, Valenzuela’s job responsibilities included “overseeing and 10 supervising the general activities and the day-to-day operations of the facility.” (Id. ¶ 2.) 11 In addition, Valenzuela was responsible for “ensuring that staff met all security standards,” 12 as well as serving as a “senior hearing officer” who conducts disciplinary hearings and 13 appeal reviews. (Id.) This also included being “responsible for collecting and preparing 14 documents in response to use of force incidents.” (Id.) 15 On August 23, 2012, the date of the incident with Defendant Camarillo, Valenzuela 16 was in the program office when he heard “the yard alarm and the institutional radio report 17 an incident” in the dining hall. (Id. ¶ 3.) Valenzuela arrived at the scene and “saw that 18 Sergeant Pollard was already handling the incident and that inmate Lemons had been 19 restrained.” (Id.) Valenzuela claims that prior to this incident he was “not aware of any 20 purported risk that Officer Camarillo posed to Plaintiff” and that Plaintiff had never 21 expressed any concerns to him about Defendant Camarillo. (Id. ¶ 4.) 22 Sergeant Pollard collected reports from each of the individual officers involved in 23 the incident, completed a “CDCR 837 Crime/Incident Report, Part C,” and provided this 24 report to Valenzuela. (Id. ¶ 5.) It was Valenzuela’s duty to collect the report from Pollard 25 and conduct his own review of the incident. (Id.) Valenzuela was responsible for 26 reviewing the individual reports, preparing a “summary of the events as described by the 27 officers,” and assemble an “Initial Incident Report package.” (Id.) 28 On August 23, 2012, Pollard provided Valenzuela with reports from “the officers 6 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 who participated in or witnessed the incident between Officer Camarillo and inmate 2 Lemons.” (Id. ¶ 6.) Following a review of these reports, Valenzuela “prepared a summary 3 of the incident, as had been reported by staff.” (Id. ¶ 8.) An administrative disciplinary 4 hearing “on the Rules Violation Report concerning the August 23, 2012 incident” was 5 conducted on May 2, 2014. (Id. ¶ 9.) Criminal Charges were also brought against Plaintiff 6 in state court for battery on a peace officer. (See Jeffrey Decl., Ex. A, ECF No. 142-3, Pl’s 7 Depo. 102:18-24.) Plaintiff was convicted by a jury and sentenced to six years. (Id.) At 8 his trial, Plaintiff was represented by counsel and called several fellow inmates as 9 witnesses. (Id. at 102:18 - 103:18.) 10 On May 24, 2012, an administrative hearing was held at CEN regarding the Rules 11 Violation Report and Plaintiff was found “guilty of the charges and assessed 150 days 12 forfeiture of behavioral credits and sentenced to a 12 month term in administrative 13 segregation.” (Valenzuela Decl., Ex. D., ECF No. 142-4, Rules Violation Report dated 14 May 2, 2014.) 15 III. Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary Judgment 16 Defendant Valenzuela seeks summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff 17 waived his Eighth Amendment claims against Valenzuela; (2) Plaintiff cannot establish an 18 Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim or a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim; 19 (3) his Eighth Amendment claim is barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); (4) 20 Valenzuela cannot be sued in his official capacity for monetary damages; and (5) 21 Valenzuela is entitled to qualified immunity. (See Def’s. Mem. of P&As in Supp. of Mot. 22 for Summ. J., ECF No. 142-1, at 512-22 (hereafter “Def’s. P&As”).) 23 A. 24 Rule 56(a) provides that a court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 25 that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to 26 judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Standard of Review 27 Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always bears the initial 28 responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying 7 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 those portions of “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions 2 on file, together with the affidavits, if any,” which it believes demonstrate the absence of a 3 genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting 4 Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)) If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then 5 shifts to the nonmoving party to establish, beyond the pleadings, that there is a genuine 6 issue for trial. Id. at 324. 7 To avoid summary judgment, the non-moving party is “required to present 8 significant, probative evidence tending to support h[is] allegations,” Bias v. Moynihan, 508 9 F.3d 1212, 1218 (9th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted), and must point to some evidence in 10 the record that demonstrates “a genuine issue of material fact [which], with all reasonable 11 inferences made in the plaintiff[]’s favor, could convince a reasonable jury to find for the 12 plaintiff[].” Reese v. Jefferson School Dist. No. 14J, 208 F.3d 736, 738 (9th Cir. 2000) 13 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). The opposing party cannot rest solely 14 on conclusory allegations of fact or law. Berg v. Kincheloe, 794 F.2d 457, 459 (9th Cir. 15 1986). 16 17 B. Eighth Amendment Claim 1. Waiver of claims 18 Valenzuela moves for summary judgment of the Eighth Amendment claim brought 19 against him on the ground that Plaintiff waived this claim during his deposition. (See Def’s. 20 P&As at 12.) While it does appear in Plaintiff’s deposition that he intends to bring only 21 due process claims against Valenzuela, his SAC is verified and remains the operative 22 pleading containing an Eighth Amendment claim against Valenzuela. (See SAC at 6-12, 23 27.) Therefore, the Court will not enter summary judgment as to this claim on the ground 24 that Plaintiff waived these claims. However, the Court will consider summary judgment 25 on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to raise a genuine dispute as to any material fact. 26 2. Failure to Protect Claim 27 Plaintiff alleges in his SAC that Valenzuela failed to “take disciplinary or other 28 actions to cure the known pattern of physical ‘verbal abuse of inmates by Defendant 8 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 Camarillo” which “constituted ‘deliberate indifference’ to the Plaintiff and other 2 prisoners[’] safety.” (SAC at 18.) 3 Under the Eighth Amendment, prison officials must “take reasonable measures to 4 guarantee the safety of the inmates.” Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984); 5 DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep’t of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189, 199-200 (1989) 6 (“[W]hen the State takes a person into its custody and holds him there against his will, the 7 Constitution imposes upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his 8 safety and general well-being.”). “Protecting the safety of prisoners and staff involves 9 difficult choices and evades easy solutions.” Berg, 794 F.2d at 460. 10 Thus, to show that a prisoner has been subject to cruel and unusual punishment by 11 an officer’s failure to protect him, he must point to evidence in the record which shows that 12 the alleged deprivation was objectively “sufficiently serious,” i.e., that the conditions he 13 faced posed a “substantial risk of serious harm.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 14 (1994). Second, because “only the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain implicates 15 the Eighth Amendment,” evidence must exist to show the defendant acted with a 16 “sufficiently culpable state of mind.” Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991) (internal 17 quotation marks, emphasis and citations omitted); see also Hudson, 503 U.S. at 5, 8. 18 In a failure to protect case, “that state of mind is one of ‘deliberate indifference’ to 19 inmate health or safety.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Prison officials display a deliberate 20 indifference to an inmate’s well-being when they know of and consciously disregard an 21 excessive risk of harm to that inmate’s health or safety. Id. at 837. “[T]he official must 22 both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of 23 serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” 24 indifference” entails something more than mere negligence, but may be satisfied with proof 25 of something less than acts or omissions “for the very purpose of causing harm,” or that a 26 particular official “acted or failed to act believing that harm actually would befall an 27 inmate; it is enough that the official acted or failed to act despite his knowledge of a 28 substantial risk of serious harm.” Id. at 842. “Whether a prison official had the requisite Id. Thus, “deliberate 9 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 knowledge of a substantial risk” may be inferred if the prisoner produces evidence 2 sufficient to show that the risk was “obvious.” Id. 3 As set forth above, Plaintiff alleges in his SAC that Valenzuela, and other prison 4 officials, were aware that Defendant Camarillo was both verbally and physically abusive 5 to inmates. (See SAC at 18.) Plaintiff offers no other factual allegations to support his 6 claim. In his Declaration, Valenzuela states “[p]rior to the August 23, 2012 incident, 7 inmate Lemons had never communicated to me any safety concerns he had in regard to 8 Officer Camarillo, or any of the other involved officers.” 9 Valenzuela also declares that he “was not aware of any purported risk that Officer 10 Camarillo posed to Plaintiff.” (Id.) In his deposition, Plaintiff testified that he did not have 11 “any idea” that he was going to have a confrontation with Camarillo on August 23, 2012, 12 and “the whole thing came as a big surprise” to him. (Jeffery Decl., Ex. A at 118:19-25.) 13 Plaintiff offers no specific factual allegations in his SAC or his deposition testimony that 14 Valenzuela knew, or should have known, that Camarillo was a danger to Plaintiff. (Valenzuela Decl. ¶ 4.) 15 When the moving party meets its initial obligation demonstrating that no genuine 16 issue exists, the burden shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of 17 material fact does exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., v. Zenith Radio Corp, 475 U.S. 574, 18 586 (1986). Plaintiff provides no factual evidence, exhibits or admissible affidavits to 19 defeat Defendant’s showing that he did not fail to protect him from harm in violation of his 20 Eighth Amendment rights. Accordingly Defendant’s Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary 21 Judgment as to Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claims is GRANTED. 22 C. 23 In his SAC, Plaintiff alleges that on August 23, 2012, “Defendants Capt. 24 Greenwood, Lt. Valenzuela, and Sgt. Pollard failed to follow the ‘excessive force 25 procedure/protocol: secure a video interview or secure video facing chowhall.” (SAC at 26 13.) Due Process Claim 27 The Due Process Clause prohibits states from “depriving any person of life, liberty, 28 or property, without the due process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV. The procedural 10 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 guarantees of due process apply only when a constitutionally-protected liberty or property 2 interest is at stake. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 557-58 (1974). In order to 3 invoke the protection of the Due Process Clause, Plaintiff must first establish the existence 4 of a liberty interest. Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005); Sandin v. Conner, 515 5 U.S. 472 (1995). In Sandin, the Supreme Court “refocused the test for determining the 6 existence of a liberty interest away from the wording of prison regulations and toward an 7 examination of the hardship caused by the prison’s challenged action relative to the ‘basic 8 conditions’ of life as a prisoner.” Mitchell v. Dupnik, 75 F.3d 517, 522 (9th Cir. 1996) 9 (citing Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484); McQuillion v. Duncan, 306 F.3d 895, 902-03 (9th Cir. 10 2002) (noting that Sandin abandons the mandatory/permissive language analysis courts 11 traditionally looked to when determining whether a state prison regulation created a liberty 12 interest which required due process protection). 13 Thus, “[a]fter Sandin, it is clear that the touchstone of the inquiry into the existence 14 of a protected, state-created liberty interest is avoiding restrictive conditions of 15 confinement is not the language of regulations regarding those conditions but the nature of 16 those conditions themselves ‘in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.’” 17 Wilkinson, 545 U.S. at 223 (quoting Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484). 18 Defendant does not argue that Plaintiff has not alleged facts relating to his 19 disciplinary conviction that constitute a liberty interest. Therefore, the Court will presume 20 that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a liberty interest. When a liberty interest has been 21 implicated as the result of a disciplinary charge, the Fourteenth Amendment requires prison 22 officials to provide the prisoner with: (1) written notice of the charges at least 24-hours 23 before the hearing; (2) the opportunity to appear in person at the hearing, to call witnesses, 24 and to present rebuttal evidence; and (3) a written statement by the factfinders of the 25 evidence relied on for their decision and the reasons for the action taken by the committee. 26 Wolff, 418 U.S. at 564-66; Neal, 131 F.3d at 830; Freeman, 808 F.2d at 952 (“Although 27 prisoners are entitled to be free from arbitrary action and conduct of prison officials, the 28 protections against arbitrary action ‘are the procedural due process requirements as set 11 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 forth in Wolff v. McDonnell.’”). 2 Here, Plaintiff does not dispute that he received written notice or that he was 3 deprived of the right to call witnesses. Instead, Plaintiff argues that he was denied access 4 to evidence to rebut the charges. The only allegation that Plaintiff clearly sets forth as to 5 Defendant Valenzuela is his alleged failure to videotape an interview with Plaintiff 6 following the August 23, 2012 incident. In his deposition testimony, Plaintiff maintains 7 that Valenzuela did not follow protocol and as a result, he could not rebut Defendants 8 assertion that Plaintiff failed to report the alleged excessive force by Camarillo. (Jeffery 9 Decl., Ex. A at 22, 119:20-120:22.) Plaintiff further maintains that Valenzuela denied his 10 due process rights by failing to investigate his claims that Camarillo used excessive force 11 against him. (See id. at 23, 121:4-13.) 12 Even if Plaintiff believes that Valenzuela’s investigation was inadequate, that 13 argument alone is insufficient to support a due process claims against Valenzuela. See 14 Gomez v. Whitney, 757 F.2d 1005, 1006 (9th Cir. 1985) (per curiam) (“[W]e can find no 15 instance where the courts have recognized inadequate investigation as sufficient to state a 16 civil rights claim unless there was another recognized constitutional right involved.”) 17 Defendant argues that the disciplinary hearing came after Plaintiff’s criminal trial at 18 which time he had counsel and witnesses that testified on his behalf. (See Def.’s Ps & As 19 at 20.) Moreover, it is not at all clear how the lack of a videotaped interview with Plaintiff 20 would have made any difference in the outcome of Plaintiff’s disciplinary hearing. As 21 Defendant also notes, Plaintiff was able to tell his version of the events that occurred on 22 August 23, 2012 as he testified at both his criminal trial and his disciplinary hearing. (Id.) 23 Plaintiff provides no evidence, nor does he point to any evidence in the record, to rebut 24 Defendant’s showing that he was provided with the procedural protections guaranteed by 25 Wolff. For all these reasons, Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary Judgment based 26 27 on due process violations is GRANTED. 28 /// 12 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB 1 D. 2 Defendant also seeks summary judgment to the extent Plaintiff seeks money 3 damages against him based on actions taken in his “official” capacity. The Eleventh 4 Amendment bars a prisoner’s § 1983 claims against state actors sued in their official 5 capacities, Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). Consequently, 6 the Court GRANTS Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Eleventh 7 Amendment grounds. Eleventh Amendment 8 E. 9 Finally, Defendant argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity. Because the 10 Court has found no triable issue of fact exists to show Plaintiff’s constitutional rights were 11 violated by Defendant Valenzuela, it need not reach any issues regarding qualified 12 immunity. See Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 201 (2001) (“If no constitutional right would 13 have been violated were the allegations established, there is no necessity for further 14 inquiries concerning qualified immunity.”); County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 15 841 n.5 (1998) (“[The better approach to resolving cases in which the defense of qualified 16 immunity is raised is to determine first whether the plaintiff has alleged the deprivation of 17 a constitutional right at all.”). 18 IV. Qualified Immunity Conclusion and Order 19 For all the reasons explained, the Court GRANTS Defendant Valenzuela’s Motion 20 for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 142-4) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 as to all of 21 Plaintiff’s claims against him. 22 IT IS SO ORDERED. 23 Dated: August 15, 2017 24 25 26 27 28 13 3:14-cv-02814-DMS-DHB

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