Esquibel v. Department of Corrections et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER of dismissal by Chief Judge M. Christina Armijo. (vv)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO
No. 2:17-cv-00248 MCA-GBW
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS,
JOSEPH GARCIA, Warden, WNMCF,
PETE PEREZ, Deputy Warden, WNMCF, and
GREGG MARCANTEL, New Mexico Corrections Secretary,
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF DISMISSAL
THIS MATTER is before the Court, sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and Fed.
R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), on Plaintiff Gary Esquibel’s civil rights complaint [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff is
incarcerated, appears pro se, and is proceeding in forma pauperis. For the reasons set out below,
the Court will dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and failure to prosecute. The
Court will also impose a “strike” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
On February 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint challenging the conditions
of his confinement at the Western New Mexico Correctional Facility (“WNMCF”). The
complaint alleges Plaintiff was housed with another inmate in a cell designed for one. [Doc. 1,
p. 3]. The cell did not have air conditioning, heating, or sufficient plumbing. Id. According to
Plaintiff, the arrangement caused increased tension among inmates. He also purportedly
experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and severe depression as a result of the
overcrowding. Id. The complaint seeks unspecified money damages against Defendants
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. [Doc. 1, p. 2].
By a Memorandum Opinion and Order entered June 20, 2017 [Doc. 7], the Court
dismissed the complaint sua sponte for failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (Courts may sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint “if
… the action … fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.”); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)
(same). Specifically, Plaintiff’s allegations were too conclusory to demonstrate an objectively
serious constitutional deprivation or that the prison officials had a “sufficiently culpable state of
mind.” Craig v. Eberly, 164 F.3d 490, 495 (10th Cir.1998) (quotations omitted). The Court
noted, for example, that allegations regarding double-bunking must demonstrate the arrangement
led to “deprivations of essential food, medical care, … sanitation … or other conditions
intolerable for prison confinement.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348 (1981). The Court
also cited several Tenth Circuit cases describing the level of detail required to state a claim based
on plumbing, heating, or cooling deficiencies. See, e.g., Rocha v. CCCF Admin., 408 Fed. App’x
141, 144 (10th Cir. 2011) (unpublished) (The complaint must describe “the severity of the
[temperature], its duration, whether he [or she] had alternative means to protect … from the
[temperature], and the adequacy of such alternatives.”); Moore v. Trapp, 1991 WL 65074, * 2
(10th Cir. 1991) (unpublished) (affirming the dismissal of a complaint alleging “plumbing
problems” because plaintiff didn’t describe “the foul involved, who was involved, and when and
where it took place”).
Consistent with Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991), Plaintiff was
given thirty days (i.e., until July 20, 2017) to amend his complaint to cure the pleading defects.
The Court advised that if he failed to timely file an amended complaint, the case could be
dismissed with prejudice and without further notice. Plaintiff did not file an amended complaint
or otherwise respond to the Memorandum Opinion and Order. This action will therefore be
dismissed with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b) for failure to
state a claim on which relief may be granted.
Such dismissal counts as a strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. § 1915(g). See Hafed v. Bureau of Prisons, 635 F.3d 1172, 1176-77 (10th Cir. 2011)
(holding that dismissal of an action as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B) counts as a strike under § 1915(g)). The Court notifies Plaintiff that if he accrues
three strikes under the PLRA, he may not proceed in forma pauperis in civil actions before the
federal courts unless he is under imminent danger of serious physical injury. See § 1915(g).
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED
with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b) for failure to state a
claim on which relief may granted; and judgment will be entered.
IT IS FURTHER ORERED that a strike is IMPOSED against Plaintiff Gary Esquibel
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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