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Glass v. Lamarque

June 2, 2005


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge



Plaintiff Robert Latrelle Glass is a prisoner of the State of California who is confined at Corcoran State Prison. He has filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Venue is proper in this district as the acts complained of occurred when Plaintiff was incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), which is in Monterey County. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).


Plaintiff alleges that prison officials deprived him and all other SVSP C status inmates*fn1 of access to the outdoors and exercise from October 30, 2001, until March 5, 2003. As a result, Plaintiff suffered physical and psychological deterioration and distress and received numerous disciplinary write-ups.

While on lockdown, the C status inmates, individually and as a class, pursued the administrative grievance process and eventually filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in Monterey County Superior Court on November 17, 2002. On December 17, 2002, the court issued an order to show cause why yard access should not be granted. On February 26, 2003, Warden Anthony A. Lamarque issued a revised and new Operational Procedure #11 providing yard access to the C status inmates three times a week. On March 5, 2003, Plaintiff began receiving yard and exercise access. On April 17, 2003, Plaintiff and other C status inmates were transferred to Corcoran State Prison. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages for the alleged deprivation of his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, the denial of his rights to due process and equal protection, and violations of State law.*fn2



To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of State law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). "'[A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Terracom v. Valley National Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 558 (9th Cir. 1995) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).


Exercise is one of the basic human necessities protected by the Eighth Amendment. See LeMaire v. Maass, 12 F.3d 1444, 1457 (9th Cir. 1993); Toussaint v. Rushen, 553 F. Supp. 1365, 1380 (N.D. Cal. 1983), aff'd in part and vacated in part, 722 F.2d 1490 (9th Cir. 1984). Prisoners who are "confined to continuous and long-term segregation" may not be deprived of outdoor exercise. See Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, 1089-90 (9th Cir. 1996), amended, 135 F.3d 1318 (9th Cir. 1998). The "long-term" deprivation of outdoor exercise to such prisoners is unconstitutional. See LeMaire, 12 F.3d at 1458; see, e.g., Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1132-33 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (denial of outdoor exercise for 6-1/2 weeks meets the objective prong of Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim); Keenan, 83 F.3d at 1089-90 (plaintiff's undisputed claim of denial of outdoor exercise for six months while in segregation sufficient to proceed to trial); Allen v. Sakai, 48 F.3d 1082, 1087-88 (9th Cir. 1994) (deprivation of outdoor exercise for six weeks to prisoners in indefinite segregation enough to state Eighth Amendment claim), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1065 (1995); Toussaint v. Yockey, 722 F.2d 1490, 1493 (9th Cir. 1984) (denial of outdoor exercise to prisoners assigned to administrative segregation for over one year raised "substantial constitutional question"); Spain, 600 F.2d at 199-200 (complete deprivation of outdoor exercise for four years to prisoners in continuous segregation violated Eighth Amendment). Thus, Plaintiff states a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim for relief.

"The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment commands that no State shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,' which is essentially a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike." City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432, 439 (1985) (quoting Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 216 (1982)). In determining the validity of a prison regulation or practice claimed to infringe on an inmate's right to equal protection, the court asks whether the regulation or practice is "reasonably related to legitimate penological interests." See Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987) (listing four factors to be considered in applying test). Plaintiff alleges that he was denied exercise solely because of his C status and for no legitimate penological purpose. The Court liberally construes this as a cognizable equal protection claim. Plaintiff has not alleged facts, however, from which the Court can find a cognizable due process claim. Accordingly, this claim is DISMISSED without prejudice to Plaintiff reasserting this claim if he can cure this pleading deficiency. Plaintiff has linked the named Defendants adequately to his claims as individuals who participated in the grievance process and denied his appeals.


In his complaint, Plaintiff refers to what appears to have been a successful habeas petition brought in State superior court. To the extent the claims raised in the present action were included in that action, the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata might bear on some or all of Plaintiff's claims. See Silverton v. Dep't of Treasury, 644 F.2d 1341, 1347 (9th Cir.) (State habeas proceeding precludes identical issue from being relitigated in subsequent § 1983 action if State habeas court afforded full and fair opportunity for issue to be heard), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 895 (1981); ...

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