Allen v. Norum

Filing 5

ORDER OF SERVICE (Re: ECF No. 1) Re: 1 Complaint filed by Timothy Nathaniel Allen. Signed by Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler on 7/2/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(ls, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/2/2014)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 Northern District of California 10 San Francisco Division 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 TIMOTHY ALLEN, 13 14 15 Plaintiff, ORDER OF SERVICE v. [Re: ECF No. 1] DR. NORUM, 16 17 No. C 14-2570 LB Defendant. _____________________________________/ 18 INTRODUCTION 19 Timothy Allen, an inmate at California State Prison - Sacramento, filed this pro se prisoner's 20 civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He has consented to proceed before a magistrate judge. 21 ECF No. 3. His complaint is now before the court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. This order 22 directs that the Marshal serve the complaint on the defendant so that he may respond to it. STATEMENT 23 24 Mr. Allen alleges the following in his complaint about events and omissions that apparently 25 occurred at Pelican Bay State Prison. On January 9, 2014, while being admitted to a mental health 26 crisis bed at the correctional treatment center, Mr. Allen was interviewed by Dr. Norum, the chief 27 psychiatrist at Pelican Bay. Dr. Norum thought Mr. Allen "was lying about being suicidal so he 28 stated, 'since you want to play these suicidal games, I'm going to make you suicidal.' Dr. Norum C 14-2570 LB ORDER 1 then told staff to place [Mr. Allen] in the coldest cell in the [correctional treatment center] and make 2 it as uncomfortable as possible." ECF No. 1 at 3. Mr. Allen was kept in the cell for 10 days without 3 a mattress or blanket, and was kept in this cell for 27 days "overall." Id. All the other crisis bed 4 cells were vacant at the time he was placed in this cell. 5 ANALYSIS 6 A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks 7 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. 8 § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims 9 which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See id. at § 1915A(b). Pro se 11 complaints must be liberally construed. See Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right 13 secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the violation was 14 committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 15 (1988). 16 The Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment requires that prison 17 officials take reasonable measures for the safety and health of inmates. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 18 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements 19 are met: (1) the deprivation alleged is, objectively, sufficiently serious, and (2) the official is, 20 subjectively, deliberately indifferent to the inmate's safety or health. See id. at 834. 21 There are two routes to potential Eighth Amendment liability in this action. The first route is a 22 claim for deliberate indifference to mental health needs. Deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s 23 serious medical needs, including his mental health needs, amounts to the cruel and unusual 24 punishment prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); Doty 25 v. County of Lassen, 37 F.3d 540, 546 (9th Ci. 1994) (medical needs may include mental health care 26 needs). Liberally construed, the complaint states a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for 27 deliberate indifference to Mr. Allen's mental health needs by Dr. Norum. Dr. Norum allegedly said 28 he would make Mr. Allen suicidal because he (Dr. Norum) thought Mr. Allen was malingering, and C 14-2570 LB ORDER 2 1 Dr. Norum thereafter directed that Mr. Allen be put in the coldest cell and be made as uncomfortable 2 as possible. Mr. Allen allegedly was kept in the cold cell for 27 days, the first 10 days of which he 3 was without a mattress or blanket. 4 The second route to potential Eighth Amendment liability is a claim for deprivation of one of the 5 basic necessities of life, regardless of whether Mr. Allen had a serious mental health need. The 6 Eighth Amendment imposes duties on prison officials to "provide humane conditions of 7 confinement," including adequate food, clothing and shelter. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832. The 8 Eighth Amendment may be violated by the placement of a prisoner in a cell without adequate 9 heating, particularly where the inmate also is not given a blanket. See Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, adequate heating). Liberally construed, the complaint states a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim 12 For the Northern District of California 1091 (9th Cir. 1996), amended, 135 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 1998) (Eighth Amendment guarantees 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 10 against Dr. Norum based on the allegations that he caused Mr. Allen be put in a cold cell for 27 days 13 and without a blanket for the first 10 days. As noted, this theory of liability does not depend on Mr. 14 Allen having any particular mental health need. 15 CONCLUSION 16 1. The complaint states a cognizable § 1983 claim against Dr. Norum for a violation of Mr. 17 18 Allen's Eighth Amendment rights. 2. The clerk shall issue a summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without 19 prepayment of fees, the summons, a copy of the amended complaint and a copy of all the documents 20 in the case file upon Dr. Norum, chief psychiatrist at Pelican Bay State Prison. 21 22 23 3. In order to expedite the resolution of this case, the following briefing schedule for dispositive motions is set: a. No later than September 12, 2014, defendant must file and serve a motion for 24 summary judgment or other dispositive motion. If defendant is of the opinion that this case cannot 25 be resolved by summary judgment, defendant must so inform the Court prior to the date the motion 26 is due. If defendant files a motion for summary judgment, defendant must provide to Plaintiff a new 27 Rand notice regarding summary judgment procedures at the time he files such a motion. See Woods 28 v. Carey, 684 F.3d 934, 939 (9th Cir. 2012). If the motion is based on non-exhaustion of C 14-2570 LB ORDER 3 1 administrative remedies, defendant must comply with the notice and procedural requirements in 2 Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2014). 3 b. Plaintiff's opposition to the summary judgment or other dispositive motion must be 4 filed with the court and served upon defendant no later than October 10, 2014. Plaintiff must bear 5 in mind the notice and warning regarding summary judgment provided later in this order as he 6 prepares his opposition to any motion for summary judgment. 7 8 9 10 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 c. If defendant wishes to file a reply brief, the reply brief must be filed and served no later than October 24, 2014. 4. Plaintiff is provided the following notices and warnings about the procedures for motions for summary judgment: The defendants [may make] a motion for summary judgment by which they seek to have your case dismissed. A motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will, if granted, end your case. [¶] Rule 56 tells you what you must do in order to oppose a motion for summary judgment. Generally, summary judgment must be granted when there is no genuine issue of material fact -- that is, if there is no real dispute about any fact that would affect the result of your case, the party who asked for summary judgment is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, which will end your case. When a party you are suing makes a motion for summary judgment that is properly supported by declarations (or other sworn testimony), you cannot simply rely on what your complaint says. Instead, you must set out specific facts in declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or authenticated documents, as provided in Rule 56(e), that contradict the facts shown in the defendants' declarations and documents and show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If you do not submit your own evidence in opposition, summary judgment, if appropriate, may be entered against you. If summary judgment is granted, your case will be dismissed and there will be no trial. Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 962-63 (9th Cir. 1998). If a defendant files a motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust administrative 21 remedies, he is seeking to have the case dismissed. A plaintiff faced with such a motion can oppose 22 it using the same methods as described above for other summary judgment motions. As with other 23 defense summary judgment motions, if a motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust 24 administrative remedies is granted, the case will be dismissed and there will be no trial. 25 5. All communications by plaintiff with the court must be served on a defendant's counsel by 26 mailing a true copy of the document to the defendant's counsel. The court may disregard any 27 document which a party files but fails to send a copy of to his opponent. Until a defendant's counsel 28 has been designated, plaintiff may serve a document by mailing a true copy of the document directly C 14-2570 LB ORDER 4 1 to the defendant, but once a defendant is represented by counsel, all documents must be mailed to 2 counsel rather than directly to that defendant. 3 6. Discovery may be taken in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. No further 4 court order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(a)(2) or Local Rule 16 is required before the 5 parties may conduct discovery. 6 7. Plaintiff is responsible for prosecuting this case. Plaintiff must promptly keep the court 7 informed of any change of address and must comply with the court's orders in a timely fashion. 8 Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal 9 Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). Plaintiff must file a notice of change of address in every pending 10 12 For the Northern District of California UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 11 13 14 case every time he is moved to a new facility or is released from custody. 8. Plaintiff is cautioned that he must include the case name and case number for this case on any document he submits to the Court for consideration in this case. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: July 2, 2014 _______________________________ LAUREL BEELER United States Magistrate Judge 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 C 14-2570 LB ORDER 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?