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Wright v. Evans

filed*fn*: June 2, 1992.

PAUL WRIGHT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
JIM EVANS; CHRIS EDWARDSON; WILLIAM WOODLEY; MICHAEL T. WILLIAMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. D.C. No. CV-88-1480-TSZ. Thomas S. Zilly, District Judge, Presiding.

Before: Farris, Thompson, and Fernandez, Circuit Judges.

MEMORANDUM

Paul Wright, a Washington state prisoner, appeals pro se the district court's summary judgment in favor of prison officers Evans, Edwardson, and Woodley and dismissal of prison supervisors and administrators Williams, DuCharme, and Riveland for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Wright's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint alleged that the prison officials violated his due process and first amendment rights by transferring Wright to another cell in the prison in retaliation for Wright's use of the prison grievance system. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and affirm.

I

Merits

A. Prison Supervisors: Williams, DuCharme, and Riveland

We review de novo a district court's dismissal of an action for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Tanner v. Heise, 879 F.2d 572, 576 (9th Cir. 1989). All allegations of material fact are taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id. In civil rights cases, where the petitioner is pro se, the court has an obligation to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner any benefit of the doubt. Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026, 1027 n.1 (9th Cir. 1985).

To state a section 1983 claim, the plaintiff must allege facts showing a person acting under color of state law deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986).

Liability under section 1983 arises only upon a showing of personal involvement by the defendant in the alleged constitutional violations; there is no respondeat superior liability. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Thus, a supervisor is liable under section 1983 only if he "participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent them." Id. Vague and conclusory allegations of official participation in civil rights violations are not sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982).

Here, the district court properly concluded that defendants Williams, DuCharme, and Riveland had no direct involvement and dismissed the action against them. See Taylor, 880 F.2d at 1045.

B. Prison Guards: Evans, Edwardson, and Woodley

We review de novo the district court's grant of summary judgment. Kruso v. International Tel. & Tel. Corp., 872 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 110 S. Ct. 3217 (1990). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Tzung v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 873 F.2d 1338, 1339-40 (9th Cir. 1989).

1. Due Process Claim

In his complaint, Wright alleged that the cell transfer violated his due process rights. This claim lacks merit. A due process claim requires that the plaintiff is deprived of a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest. See Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 530 (9th Cir. 1985). Here, Wright has no constitutionally protected right to a certain cell within the prison. See id. (prisoner has no constitutionally protected right to be housed at a particular ...


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