Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dunaway v. Clark

May 10, 2010

THOMAS DUNAWAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEN CLARK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (Doc. 17) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff Thomas Dunaway ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, California ("CSATFCSP"). Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff names Ken Clark (warden), K. Rocha (correctional counselor), and Hakim Kamal (correctional captain) as defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's second amended complaint fails to state any claims. The Court further finds that Plaintiff's claims are not capable of being cured by granting further leave to amend. Accordingly, the Court will recommend that Plaintiff's second amended complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

I. Screening Requirement

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability . . . 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Background

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on March 19, 2009. (Doc. #1.) On August 10, 2009, the Court screened Plaintiff's original complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. #9.) The Court found that Plaintiff's original complaint failed to state any cognizable claims and gave Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. On September 17, 2009, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint. (Doc. #11.) On November 10, 2009, the Court screened Plaintiff's first amended complaint. (Doc. #16.) The Court found that Plaintiff's first amended complaint failed to state any cognizable claims and granted Plaintiff an additional opportunity to amend his complaint. On December 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint. (Doc. #16.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's second amended complaint.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff claims that he has been living in unconstitutional living conditions since late 2007. He was assigned to live in dayroom housing due to prison overcrowding, and claims that the living conditions in dayroom housing are unconstitutional because of the threat of dangerous inmates and other uncomfortable living conditions. Plaintiff claims he was violently attacked by other inmates on June 17, 2008. He contends that he is at risk of being violently assaulted in the dayroom because of the lack of supervision by prison staff. Plaintiff further complains that he suffers from sleep deprivation because the dayroom lights are on all night. He also contends that he has to share one toilet and sink with 20 other inmates. Plaintiff claims that, on one occasion, he was forced to defecate in a brown bag because he could not access the toilet.

Plaintiff notified prison officials about the unconstitutional conditions. Prison officials then gave Plaintiff the option of either remaining in the dayroom, or being placed in administrative segregation ("ad-seg"). Plaintiff complains that prison officials' response was deliberately indifferent because the conditions in ad-seg are more restrictive than the conditions in the dayroom. Plaintiff claims that if he lived in ad-seg, he would not get regular access to outside exercise or contact visits and Plaintiff would be in his cell for 23 hours a day. Plaintiff also complains that placement in ad-seg limits his ability to earn good time credits and "would also result in a CDC 115."*fn1

III. Discussion

A. Eighth Amendment Claims

Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment by housing him in the dayroom. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishments and "embodies 'broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity and decency.'" Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976) (quoting Jackson v. Bishop, 404 F.2d 571, 579 (8th Cir. 1968)). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment when two requirements are met: (1) the objective requirement that the deprivation is "sufficiently serious," Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)); and (2) the subjective requirement that the prison official has a "sufficiently culpable state of mind," id. (quoting Wilson, 501 U.S. at 298). The objective requirement that the deprivation be "sufficiently serious" is met where the prison official's act or omission results in the denial of "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Id. (quoting Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981)). The subjective requirement that the prison official has a "sufficiently culpable state of mind" is met where the prison official acts with "deliberate indifference" to inmate health or safety. Id. (quoting Wilson, 501 U.S. at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.