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Turner v. Coordinator

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 30, 2014

JOHN TURNER, #1096333, Plaintiff,
v.
GRIEVANCE COORDINATOR, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

ANDREW P. GORDON, District Judge.

This pro se prisoner civil rights action by a state inmate comes before the Court for initial review of the amended complaint (Dkt. #17) under 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915A as well as upon plaintiff's application (Dkt. #1) to proceed in forma pauperis, motion (Dkt. #18) to appoint counsel, motion (Dkt. #19) to extend copy credit limit, and motion (Dkt. #20) for summary judgment.

The prior screening order (Dkt. #16) dismissed the original complaint without prejudice and with leave to amend. The order outlines the screening standard and the application of the standard to the claims in the original complaint.

The amended complaint does not correct the deficiencies in the original complaint.

Plaintiff still seeks to proceed against the State of Nevada and the state corrections department despite being informed that state sovereign immunity bars any suit in federal court against the state and the department. Dkt. #16, at 2-3. The same conclusion would apply to the extent that the amended complaint seeks to name the state attorney general's office as a defendant.

Plaintiff still seeks to proceed against High Desert State Prison despite being informed that the prison buildings do not constitute a juridical person subject to being sued. Dkt. #16, at 3.

The amended complaint names Warden D.W. Neven as a defendant in his official capacity, and the pleading perhaps could be read to also named state corrections department Director Cox also as a defendant in his official capacity. However, as the screening order clearly stated, plaintiff may not proceed against state officials in their official capacity for monetary damages, which is the only relief sought. See Dkt. #16, at 3. Plaintiff otherwise states no actual factual allegations in the amended complaint that would establish liability on the part of either Neven or Cox in their individual capacity. Moreover, as discussed infra, plaintiff states no claim for relief in the amended complaint in all events.

The remaining fictitiously named defendant, the "Grievance Coordinator, " similarly is named in only a nonviable official capacity as to a claim for damages; and no viable claim in any event is stated against the fictitiously named defendant.

The statements in the prior screening order regarding the claims presented in the original petition and the deficiencies in those claims remain applicable to the amended pleading:

Plaintiff John Turner alleges that his prison grievances have not been responded to within the required time. In Count I, he alleges that this alleged failure constitutes "abandonment" in violation of the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. In Count II, he alleges that this alleged failure deprived him of due process in violation of the Fifth And Fourteenth Amendments. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and he asserts in the prayer that because "of these write up's [sic] I'm being held in D-seg [disciplinary segregation] [and] also I could've been at an [sic] camp or Casa Grande [a halfway house] by now."
Under well-established law, an inmate does not have a constitutional right to have his grievances decided or processed in a particular manner. See, e.g., Seely v. Gibbons, 2013 WL 6440206 (9th Cir. Dec. 10, 2013); Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003). The handling of a particular grievance may have a bearing on whether the inmate has constructively satisfied the administrative exhaustion requirement in order to pursue other underlying claims. However, there is no independently viable constitutional claim for any alleged deficiency in the grievance process itself. In this same vein, any arguendo viable issue as to whether plaintiff improperly was held in one circumstance or another - such as disciplinary segregation in a prison as opposed to a conservation camp or a halfway house - would be an issue addressed, if the issue is viable at all, within the context of any underlying challenge to the disciplinary writeup itself. The complaint therefore fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The cases cited by plaintiff in Count II are inapposite and not to the contrary.

Dkt. #16, at 2 & 3-4.

Plaintiff, in the main, simply repeats - along with intervening administrative procedural history detail - his claims alleging the he has been deprived of sundry constitutional rights because grievances allegedly were not processed according to state corrections department regulations. Plaintiff, again, does not have a constitutional right to have his grievances decided or processed in a particular manner. Seely, supra; Ramirez, supra . The Supreme Court further has emphatically rejected the proposition that a violation of state corrections department regulations gives rise to a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause in compliance with procedures established by the regulations. See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 480-84 (1995). In ...


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