United States Ninth Circuit

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Hayes v. Idaho Correectional Center, 14-35078

In an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 by a prisoner who alleged First Amendment claims arising from prison officials opening his legal mail outside his presence, the district court's dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1915A is: 1) reversed in part where prisoners have a protected First Amendment interest in having properly marked legal mail opened only in their presence, and a plaintiff need not allege a long standing practice of violating his First Amendment rights in order to state a claim for relief on a direct liability theory, nor does a plaintiff need to show any actual injury beyond the free speech violation itself to state a constitutional violation; and 2) affirmed in part where the district court properly dismissed two other counts of alleged improper mail opening because plaintiff had not met his burden of plausibly alleging that the item opened outside his presence was legal mail, and because mail from the United States courts is not legal mail.

Appellate Information

  • Decided
  • Published 2017/03/03


  • PAEZ


  • United States Ninth Circuit