Tinajero v. Madden et al

Filing 9

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Court dismisses Pla's Second Amended Complaint for failing to state a claim upon which 1983 relief may be granted pursuant to 28 USC 1915(e)(2) and 1915A9b). Court denies Pla further leave to amend as futile. Clerk directed to close the file. Signed by Judge Cynthia Bashant on 2/17/2017. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) (jah)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 ARMANDO TINAJERO, CDCR No. AX-3761 15 ORDER DISMISSING SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM Plaintiff, 13 14 Case No. 16-cv-01342-BAS-BGS v. RAYMOND MADDEN; L. MARIN, Defendants. 16 17 18 I. Procedural History 19 On June 2, 2016, Plaintiff Armando Tinajero, currently incarcerated at Centinela 20 State Prison located in Imperial, California, and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights 21 complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff did not prepay the required 22 civil filing fee when he filed his Complaint, but instead moved to proceed in forma pauperis 23 (“IFP”) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). (ECF No. 4.) The Court granted Plaintiff’s 24 Motion to Proceed IFP but simultaneously dismissed his Complaint for failing to state a 25 claim upon which § 1983 relief could be granted. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff was granted leave 26 to file an amended pleading, and on August 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed his First Amended 27 28 1 16cv1342 1 Complaint (“FAC”). (ECF No. 6.) However, the Court again found that Plaintiff failed to 2 state a claim upon which § 1983 relief could be granted and provided Plaintiff one final 3 opportunity to correct the deficiencies of pleading found in his FAC. (ECF No. 7.) On 4 December 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”). (ECF 5 No. 8.) 6 II. Sua Sponte Screening per 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b) 7 A. 8 As the Court has previously informed Plaintiff, the Prison Litigation Reform Act 9 (“PLRA”) obligates the Court to review complaints filed by prisoners proceeding IFP as 10 soon as practicable. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). In conducting this review, 11 the Court must sua sponte dismiss any complaint, or any portion of a complaint, which is 12 frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks damages from defendants who are 13 immune. Id.; see also Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing 14 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126–27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) 15 (§ 1915(e)(2)). Standard of Review 16 All complaints must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 17 the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not 18 required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere 19 conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing 20 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Determining whether a complaint 21 states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a context-specific task that requires the reviewing 22 court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. The “mere possibility of 23 misconduct” falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.; see also Moss v. U.S. 24 Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). 25 “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their 26 veracity, and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” 27 28 2 16cv1342 1 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Resnick v. Hayes, 213 F.3d 443, 447 (9th Cir. 2000) 2 (“[W]hen determining whether a complaint states a claim, a court must accept as true all 3 allegations of material fact and must construe those facts in the light most favorable to the 4 plaintiff.”); Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998) (noting that 5 § 1915(e)(2) “parallels the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)”). 6 However, while the court “ha[s] an obligation where the petitioner is pro se, 7 particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the 8 petitioner the benefit of any doubt,” Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) 9 (citation omitted), it may not “supply essential elements of claims that were not initially 10 pled.” Ivey v. Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 11 1982). “Vague and conclusory allegations of official participation in civil rights violations” 12 are simply not “sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.” Id. 13 B. 14 “Section 1983 creates a private right of action against individuals who, acting under 15 color of state law, violate federal constitutional or statutory rights.” Devereaux v. Abbey, 16 263 F.3d 1070, 1074 (9th Cir. 2001). Section 1983 “is not itself a source of substantive 17 rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.” 18 Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393–94 (1989) (internal quotation marks and citations 19 omitted). “To establish § 1983 liability, a plaintiff must show both (1) deprivation of a right 20 secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and (2) that the deprivation was 21 committed by a person acting under color of state law.” Tsao v. Desert Palace, Inc., 698 22 F.3d 1128, 1138 (9th Cir. 2012). 42 U.S.C. § 1983 23 C. 24 As was the case with Plaintiff’s original Complaint and his FAC, his SAC contains 25 virtually no factual allegations as to whom he claims violated his constitutional rights; nor 26 does it contain “further factual enhancement” to describe how, or to what extent, any Individual Liability and Causation 27 28 3 16cv1342 1 individual became aware of, or were actually aware of, alleged constitutional violations. 2 “Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to . . . §1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that 3 each government-official defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has 4 violated the Constitution.” 5 Redevelopment Agency of City of Los Angeles, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984) (even pro 6 se plaintiff must “allege with at least some degree of particularity overt acts which 7 defendants engaged in” in order to state a claim). Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; see also Jones v. Community 8 “Causation is, of course, a required element of a § 1983 claim.” Estate of Brooks v. 9 United States, 197 F.3d 1245, 1248 (9th Cir. 1999). “The inquiry into causation must be 10 individualized and focus on the duties and responsibilities of each individual defendant 11 whose acts or omissions are alleged to have caused a constitutional deprivation.” Leer v. 12 Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988) (citing Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 370–71 13 (1976)). 14 Instead of setting forth specific factual allegations relating to each individual 15 defendant and specific constitutional violation alleged, Plaintiff directs the Court to review 16 the exhibits attached to his SAC. (See SAC at 3–5.) The Court informed Plaintiff in the 17 two previous Orders that he must supply specific factual allegations regarding what the 18 named Defendants were alleged to have done that violated his constitutional rights. (See 19 ECF No. 5 at 4–7; see also ECF No. 7 at 4–5.) Plaintiff has, once again, failed to follow 20 the Court’s Orders. 21 Instead, Plaintiff broadly claims that Defendant Madden should be held liable for 22 “failure to act pursuant to his subordinates [sic] illegal and malicious conduct against 23 Plaintiff.” (SAC at 9.) Plaintiff further alleges that “in regards to [Defendant] Marin” he 24 allegedly “falsified RVR documentation in violation of P.C. 118.1 Peace Officers false 25 reports.” (Id. at 11.) These broad claims lack specific factual allegations, and are thus 26 insufficient to state a § 1983 claim. Iqbal, 662 U.S. at 678 (noting that Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 27 28 4 16cv1342 1 “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation,” and 2 that “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, 3 accepted as true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face’”) (quoting Twombly, 4 550 U.S. at 555, 570). 5 D. 6 Based on the exhibits attached to Plaintiff’s SAC, it appears that he is challenging Fourteenth Amendment Claims 7 a disciplinary conviction. The Due Process Clause protects prisoners against deprivation 8 or restraint of “a protected liberty interest” and “atypical and significant hardship on the 9 inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 10 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)). Although 11 the level of the hardship must be determined in a case-by-case determination, courts look 12 to: 13 14 15 16 1) whether the challenged condition ‘mirrored those conditions imposed upon inmates in administrative segregation and protective custody,’ and thus comported with the prison’s discretionary authority; 2) the duration of the condition, and the degree of restraint imposed; and 3) whether the state’s action will invariably affect the duration of the prisoner’s sentence. 17 Ramirez, 334 F.3d at 861 (quoting Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486–87). Only if an inmate has 18 alleged facts sufficient to show a protected liberty interest does the court next consider 19 “whether the procedures used to deprive that liberty satisfied Due Process.” Ramirez, 334 20 F.3d at 860. 21 As currently pleaded, Plaintiff’s SAC is devoid of facts which show that the 22 disciplinary punishment he faced as a result of Defendants’ actions subjected him to any 23 “atypical and significant hardship in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Id.; 24 Sandin, 515 U.S. at 584. Plaintiff does not compare the conditions of his confinement 25 before or after his disciplinary conviction. Nor does he allege the duration of his term of 26 discipline, or the degree of restraint it imposed. Ramirez, 334 F.3d at 861 (quoting Sandin, 27 28 5 16cv1342 1 515 U.S. at 486–87). 2 Moreover, Plaintiff has not pled factual content that would allow the court to draw 3 the reasonable inference that Defendants’ actions “presented a dramatic departure from the 4 basic conditions of [Plaintiff’s] sentence,” or caused him to suffer an “atypical” or 5 “significant hardship.” Sandin, 515 U.S. at 584–85; see also Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, 6 1088–89 (9th Cir. 1996), amended by 135 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 1998). 7 In addition, to the extent that Plaintiff is challenging the administrative grievance 8 process, he has failed to state a claim. While the Fourteenth Amendment provides that 9 “[n]o state shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of 10 law,” U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1, “[t]he requirements of procedural due process apply 11 only to the deprivation of interests encompassed by the Fourteenth Amendment’s 12 protection of liberty and property.” Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569 (1972). 13 State statutes and prison regulations may grant prisoners liberty or property interests 14 sufficient to invoke due process protection. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 223–27 15 (1976). However, to state a procedural due process claim, Plaintiff must allege: “(1) a 16 liberty or property interest protected by the Constitution; (2) a deprivation of the interest 17 by the government; [and] (3) lack of process.” Wright v. Riveland, 219 F.3d 905, 913 (9th 18 Cir. 2000). 19 The Ninth Circuit has held that inmates have no protected property interest in an 20 inmate grievance procedure arising directly from the Due Process Clause. See Ramirez, 21 334 F.3d at 869 (“[I]nmates lack a separate constitutional entitlement to a specific prison 22 grievance procedure”) (citing Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988)). Even 23 the non-existence of, or the failure of prison officials to properly implement, an 24 administrative appeals process within the prison system does not raise constitutional 25 concerns. Mann, 855 F.2d at 640. 26 Here, Plaintiff has failed to plead any facts sufficient to show that Defendants 27 28 6 16cv1342 1 deprived him of a protected liberty interest by allegedly failing to respond to any particular 2 prison grievance in a satisfactory manner. 3 In sum, for the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff’s SAC requires dismissal pursuant 4 to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b). See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1126–27; Rhodes, 621 5 F.3d at 1004. 6 III. Conclusion and Order 7 For the foregoing reasons, the Court: 8 1) 9 10 11 DISMISSES Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint for failing state a claim upon which § 1983 relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(b); 2) DENIES Plaintiff further leave to amend as futile. See Cahill v. Liberty Mut. 12 Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 339 (9th Cir. 1996) (denial of a leave to amend is not an abuse of 13 discretion where further amendment would be futile); Gonzalez v. Planned Parenthood of 14 Los Angeles, 759 F.3d 1112, 1116 (district court’s discretion in denying amendment is 15 “particularly broad” when it has previously granted leave to amend). 16 3) 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. 18 DATED: February 17, 2017 The Clerk of Court is directed to close the file. 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7 16cv1342

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