Ledesma v. Adame et al

Filing 19

FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS that Plaintiff's 15 Second Amended Complaint Proceed Only Against Defendants Adame, Tyree, and Lundy for Eighth Amendment Violation Based on Conditions of Confinement, and All Remaining Claims and Defendants be Dismissed with Prejudice, signed by Magistrate Judge Erica P. Grosjean on 6/24/16. Referred to Judge Ishii. Objections to F&R Due Within Fourteen Days. (Gonzalez, R)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JOSE LEDESMA, 12 13 14 15 Plaintiff, v. J. TYREE, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 1:13-cv-01227-AWI-EPG-PC SCREENING ORDER FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT PLAINTIFF’S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT PROCEED ONLY AGAINST DEFENDANTS ADAME, TYREE, AND LUNDY FOR EIGHTH AMENDMENT VIOLATION BASED ON CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT, AND ALL REMAINING CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS BE DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN 20 DAYS 19 (Doc. 9) 20 21 Plaintiff Jose Ledesma (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma 22 pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court1 previously 23 screened Plaintiff’s initial complaint and found that it stated claims under the Eighth 24 Amendment against Defendants Tyree and Lundy for unconstitutional conditions of 25 confinement, but not other claims. ECF No. 9. The Court gave Plaintiff leave to file an 26 amended complaint. 27 28 1 All orders prior to the current order were issued by Magistrate Judge Gary Austin. 1 1 2 3 Now before the Court is Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint, dated October 13, 2015. (ECF. No. 9) I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT 4 The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 5 governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. ' 1915A(a). 6 The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are 7 legally Afrivolous or malicious,@ that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or 8 that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. 9 ' 1915A(b)(1),(2). ANotwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been 10 paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or 11 appeal fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.@ 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 12 A complaint is required to contain Aa short and plain statement of the claim showing 13 that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .@ Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations 14 are not required, but A[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by 15 mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.@ Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 16 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 17 (2007)). While a plaintiff=s allegations are taken as true, courts Aare not required to indulge 18 unwarranted inferences.@ Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) 19 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Plaintiff must set forth Asufficient factual 20 matter, accepted as true, to >state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.=@ Iqbal 556 U.S. 21 at 678. While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. The mere 22 possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id. at 678-79; Moss 23 v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). 24 II. SUMMARY OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLANT 25 On or about October 26, 2011, Plaintiff arrived at the California Corrections Institution. 26 He was held in the “receiving and release” area and subjected to a strip search by Officers 27 Adame and Medrano. After the strip search, Officers Adame and Medrano placed Plaintiff in 28 2 1 waist chains, put mits over Plaintiffs hands, shackled Plaintiff’s ankles, and taped Plaintiff’s 2 boxers to Plaintiff’s thighs. 3 For the next 16 days, Plaintiff was kept on contraband watch. The holding tank is 2 to 3 4 feet from the entrance door, and the bottom has a 6 to 7” gap. Plaintiff was very cold. The 5 tank was dirty and bed-infested. Defendant Adame told Plaintiff “after tonight your [sic] going 6 to wish you had cooperated with us and worked with us from the beginning.” There was no 7 blanket, mattress, shower, change of clothes, or tooth brush. The restraints were kept on 8 throughout so that Plaintiff could not stretch. The restraints cut Plaintiff’s wrists and ankles. 9 Bright lights were kept on at all times. 10 All defecation and x-rays showed up negative for contraband. 11 Plaintiff submitted a grievance, but the appeals coordinator failed to respond. 12 Plaintiff asserts claims for cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth 13 Amendment, violation of the First Amendment access to the courts, and retaliation in violation 14 of the 14th Amendment. 15 16 III. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT a. Legal Standards 17 “It is undisputed that the treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions 18 under which [the prisoner] is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment.” 19 Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993); see also Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 20 (1994). Conditions of confinement may, consistent with the Constitution, be restrictive and 21 harsh. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981); Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 22 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006); Osolinski v. Kane, 92 F.3d 934, 937 (9th Cir. 1996); Jordan v. 23 Gardner, 986 F.2d 1521, 1531 (9th Cir. 1993) (en banc). Prison officials must, however, 24 provide prisoners with “food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, medical care, and personal safety.” 25 Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1107 (9th Cir. 1986), abrogated in part on other 26 grounds by Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472 (1995); see also Johnson v. Lewis, 217 F.3d 726, 27 731 (9th Cir. 2000); Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1246 (9th Cir. 1982); Wright v. Rushen, 28 642 F.2d 1129, 1132-33 (9th Cir. 1981). 3 1 When determining whether the conditions of confinement meet the objective prong of 2 the Eighth Amendment analysis, the Court must analyze each condition separately to determine 3 whether that specific condition violates the Eighth Amendment. See Toussaint, 801 F.2d at 4 1107; Hoptowit, 682 F.2d at 1246-47; Wright, 642 F.2d at 1133. “Some conditions of 5 confinement may establish an Eighth Amendment violation 'in combination' when each would 6 not do so alone, but only when they have a mutually enforcing effect that produces the 7 deprivation of a single, identifiable human need such as food, warmth, or exercise – for 8 example, a low cell temperature at night combined with a failure to issue blankets.” Wilson v. 9 Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 304 (1991); see also Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1151 (9th Cir. 10 2010); Osolinski, 92 F.3d at 938-39; Toussaint, 801 F.2d at 1107; Wright, 642 F.2d at 1133. 11 When considering the conditions of confinement, the Court should also consider the amount of 12 time to which the prisoner was subjected to the condition. See Hutto v. Finney, 437 U.S. 678, 13 686-87 (1978); Hearns v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1042 (9th Cir. 2005); Hoptowit, 682 F.2d at 14 1258. As to the subjective prong of the Eighth Amendment analysis, prisoners must establish 15 prison officials’ “deliberate indifference” to unconstitutional conditions of confinement to 16 establish an Eighth Amendment violation. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834; Wilson, 501 U.S. at 17 303. This Court has found that “placement of seriously mentally ill inmates in the harsh, 18 restrictive and non-therapeutic conditions of California's administrative segregation units for 19 non-disciplinary reasons for more than a minimal period necessary to effect transfer to 20 protective housing or a housing assignment violates the Eighth Amendment.” Coleman v. 21 Brown, 28 F. Supp. 3d 1068, 1099 (E.D.Cal. 2014). b. Analysis of Plaintiff’s Allegations 22 23 The Court finds that Plaintiff has stated a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment 24 for unconsitutional conditions of confinement against Defendants Adame, Lundy, and Tyree 25 based on their role in confining Plaintiff for 16 days to a holding cell without the ability to 26 move unrestrained, and without blankets, showers, and other basic necessities. 27 \\\ 28 \\\ 4 1 IV. ACCESS TO THE COURTS 2 A. Legal Standards 3 Under the First Amendment, prisoners have the right to access the courts and the right 4 to petition the government for a redress of grievances. See Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821 5 (1977). To establish a violation of the right of access to the courts, a prisoner must establish 6 that he has suffered an “actual injury” as a result of a prison official's misconduct. See Docket 7 No. 15 at 8 (citing Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351–52 (1996)). An “actual injury” exists 8 where a prisoner has been “hindered [in his] efforts to pursue a legal claim.” Id. at 351; see also 9 Silva v. Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1102–03 (9th Cir. 2010) (recognizing that access-to-courts 10 claim requires an actual injury to court access), overruled on other grounds as stated by Richey 11 v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1202, 1209 n.6 (9th Cir. 2015). 12 B. Analysis of Plaintiff’s Allegations 13 Plaintiff has failed to allege a constitutional violation for access to the courts here. 14 Plaintiff alleges that the prison has mishandled or ignored his grievance. At this point, Plaintiff 15 has not been hindered in his efforts to pursue his legal claim based on the prison’s response to 16 his grievance. 17 exhausted his administrative remedies and can go forward with this lawsuit on its merits. But 18 the prison’s failure to address the grievance properly itself does not raise an independent 19 constitutional claim. 20 21 V. These allegations will be relevant in determining whether Plaintiff has RETALIATION A. Legal Standards 22 Prisoners have a First Amendment right to file grievances and pursue civil rights 23 actions. Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567 (9th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted); Bradley v. 24 Hall, 64 F.3d 1276, 1279 (9th Cir. 1995) (prisoners have a constitutional right to meaningful 25 access to the courts, and prison authorities may not penalize or retaliate against an inmate for 26 exercising that right), overruled on other grounds by Shaw v. Murphy, 532 U.S. 223 (2001). 27 Thus, allegations of retaliation against an inmate’s exercise of First Amendment rights may 28 support a civil rights claim. Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 531–32 (9th Cir. 1985); Pratt v. 5 1 Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 806 & n. 4, 807 (9th Cir. 1995) (retaliation claims “fall within the other 2 protections from arbitrary state action ... because they are based upon protection of the 3 prisoner's First Amendment rights, and not their Due Process rights”) (citation, alteration and 4 internal quotation marks omitted). 5 “A viable claim of First Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) an 6 assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that 7 prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First 8 Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional 9 goal.” Rhodes, 408 F.3d at 567–68 (alterations omitted). B. Analysis of Plaintiff’s Claims 10 11 Plaintiff does not state an independent violation based on a retaliation claim. Plaintiff’s 12 retaliation claim alleges the same facts regarding “being shackled, having clothes taped around 13 plaintiff’s hands” and similar allegations that relate to his conditions of confinement, as 14 addressed above. Plaintiff does not allege that these actions were done because of Plaintiff 15 exercising some protected rights. 16 VI. CONCLUSION 17 Plaintiff has stated a claim against Defendants Adame, Tyree, and Lundy for violations 18 of the Eighth Amendment based on conditions of confinement. Plaintiff has failed to state any 19 other claims, or claims against any other defendants. 20 Plaintiff has already been given leave to file an amended complaint with instructions 21 regarding the law to inform that amended complaint. The Court does not believe further 22 amendment would cure the deficiencies in the remaining claims and defendants. 23 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that: 24 1. 25 This action proceed only against Defendants Adame, Tyree, and Lundy for violations of the Eighth Amendment based on conditions of confinement; 26 2. 27 These Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United States District 28 Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(l). Within All remaining claims and defendants be dismissed from this action. 6 1 twenty (20) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendations, Plaintiff may 2 file written objections with the Court. The document should be captioned “Objections to 3 Magistrate Judge=s Findings and Recommendations.” Plaintiff is advised that failure to file 4 objections within the specified time may result in the waiver of rights on appeal. Wilkerson v. 5 Wheeler, 772 F.3d 834, 838-39 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Baxter v. Sullivan, 923 F.2d 1391, 1394 6 (9th Cir. 1991)). 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: June 24, 2016 /s/ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7

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