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Lee v. Alameida

June 1, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Wunderlich United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding prose in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 72-302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

This action proceeds on the August 26, 2008, first amended complaint. The first amended complaint is filed in response to an earlier order dismissing the original complaint with leave to amend. Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at Mule Creek State Prison, brings this civil rights action against defendant correctional officials employed by the CDCR at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran. Plaintiff names the following individual defendants: CDC Director E. Alameida, Warden Derral Adams; Chief Deputy Warden Marsh; William A. Duncan, R. March; Captain Mark Johnson; Lieutenant Abbati-Harlow; Sergeant T. Akins; Sergeant Kellams; Correctional Officer E. Hough; C/O M. Garcia; C/O M. White; C/O M. Thissen; Mouse; L. Melching; Lewis N. Jones; E. Espinosa; Jerry Negrete; K. Holland; Tony Loftin. In the order dismissing the original complaint, the court noted the following allegations.

In July of 2000, Plaintiff was the Men's Advisory Committee/Inmate Affairs Committee (MAC/IAC) chair person. Plaintiff alleges that "on multiple instances" prior to July of 2000, he was subjected to retaliatory threats from Defendant Johnson and his subordinates.

On July 5, 2000, Plaintiff was assaulted in his cell by two inmates. C/O Ramirez saw the altercation and activated his personal alarm. Responding staff separated Plaintiff from the attacking inmates. Plaintiff was charged with mutual combat, though the charges were ultimately dismissed.

On July 7, 2000, Plaintiff had a scheduled visit. During Plaintiff's visit, personal property was stolen from Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff eventually discovered that his cellmate had stolen his property. His cellmate advised Plaintiff that he was pressured to do so by other inmates.

Plaintiff approached Defendant Thissen, the floor officer assigned to Plaintiff's housing unit. Thissen told Plaintiff that he would search the inmates who had pressured Plaintiff's cellmate. Thissen advised Plaintiff that he would report back to him. Plaintiff's cellmate was allowed to speak with the inmates that pressured him. Plaintiff's cellmate reported back to Plaintiff and Defendant Thissen, advising them that the property would be returned the next morning. Defendant Thissen noted the information in the log.

The next morning, approximately half of Plaintiff's stolen property was returned to him. Plaintiff approached the inmates responsible for taking his property. Those inmates threatened Plaintiff in the presence of Doe number 7. Specifically, Inmate Fuller advised Plaintiff that "that's all your getting and the next time I see you, I'm doing to deal with you1" (Compl; 13:5-6).

Plaintiff alleges that he was threatened "in light of the fact that Plaintiff had declined previous pressure of the black inmates to retaliate against the two hispanic inmates responsible for assaulting plaintiff on July 5, 2000." Plaintiff immediately reported the threat to Defendant Kellams.

Kellams provided Plaintiff with three options. All of the involved inmates could be placed in Administrative Segregation pending investigation of the incident. Defendant Kellams could "approach the thieves of the plaintiff and 'rouse-them-up' and alert them to the fact that plaintiff did in fact 'snitch' on the perpetrators of the theft." Kellams also advised Plaintiff that Plaintiff could handle it himself.

Plaintiff demanded to speak to Defendant Abbatti-Harlow. Abbatti-Harlow offered Plaintiff the same three options. Plaintiff returned to the yard and approached inmates Watkins and Bonville. Inmate Bonville previously served as MAC/IAC Chairman. These inmates advised Plaintiff to wait until July 10, 2000, in order for inmate Bonville to intercede on Plaintiff's behalf with Defendant Johnson. On July 9th, Watkins approached Plaintiff and advised Plaintiff that "talks were essential to prevent the escalation of the situation at hand." Plaintiff sought access to the housing section where inmates Pates and Fuller (the inmates who allegedly pressured Plaintiff's cellmate) were housed. Plaintiff was granted permission to speak to the inmates through the secured dayroom door.

Inmate Taylor and inmate Watkins approached the C-section dayroom door while Plaintiff was out of sight, but within earshot. Taylor and Watkins inquired about the status of Plaintiff's remaining stolen property. Fuller advised them that "it was a lick" and "had inmate Taylor not not 'snitched' Plaintiff wouldn't have received nothing back." Fuller and Pates informed Watkins and Taylor that "it was a done deal." Plaintiff, Watkins and Taylor informed Defendant Doe no. 7 "of the disposition of their diplomatic attempts to informally obtain Plaintiff's property."

On July 10th, upon entering the dining area, Plaintiff was attacked by Pates and Fuller in full view of Defendants Doe no. 8, Doe no. 9, White, Garcia and Hough. Plaintiff was "repeatedly struck about his head, chest and stomach areas" by Pates and Fuller. Pates then "reintegrated himself back into the crowds of other inmates present in the chowhall area." Defendants White, Garcia and Hough directed the inmates to separate. Plaintiff was unable to comply, and both Plaintiff and inmate Fuller were sprayed with pepper spray. Fuller and Plaintiff were placed in mechanical restraints. Plaintiff alleges that after he was secured, "responding staff" again sprayed him with pepper spray.

Plaintiff and Fuller were taken to the medical clinic for decontamination. They were placed in cages separated from, but next to, each other. After Fuller was examined, Sergeant Adams released Pates from his cage.*fn1 Pates was told that he was free to return to the recreational yard.

Plaintiff alleges that after he and Fuller were separated, they were placed next to each other in separate cages. Plaintiff alleges that a short time later, "Pates was also placed into one of the one-man steel cages next to plaintiff in the defendants attempt to get Plaintiff and inmate Pates to openly express hostility and further substantiate that plaintiff and inmate Pates associates in fact had open hostility toward each other." Id., 17:14-19.

Within ten minutes after being released from the cages, the yard was ordered down due to the initiation of a riot between Plaintiff's group of associates and a group of associates linked to Pates and Fuller. All of the involved inmates were separated and secured. Plaintiff was released to his cell after signing a "get along" chrono. Approximately 20 minutes after Plaintiff returned to his cell location, Defendant Johnson and other state defendants intentionally released Inmate Taylor back to Plaintiff's cell location "notwithstanding their first hand knowledge of the acted upon hostilities between Plaintiff's group of associates and inmate Taylor's group of associates and despite the riot between the identified groups."

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Johnson intended to instigate a physical confrontation between Plaintiff and Taylor. Johnson ordered that Plaintiff and Taylor be confined to quarters together. Three days later, Plaintiff and Taylor were placed on administrative segregation status. The cell was stripped of property, linens and other items pending their placement in AdSeg. Plaintiff and Taylor were deprived of bedding and a change of clothes for four days. On July 17th, their property was returned to them. On July ...

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