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Derrick J. Thomas v. Stanislaus County

February 1, 2011

DERRICK J. THOMAS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STANISLAUS COUNTY, ET AL., THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

(Doc. 1)

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Derrick J. Thomas, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 17, 2009. 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).

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). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice," Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002) (emphasis added). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Allegations

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Stanislaus County Jail in Modesto, California. Plaintiff, a maximum security inmate, is permitted to go outside on the rooftop exercise yard for three hours per week, but he is in full restraints, which consist of leg irons and handcuffs enclosed in a black box. Plaintiff is unable to actually exercise due to the restraints and also the lack of proper footwear. Plaintiff further contends he is left on the yard in inclement weather, with the restraints impeding his ability to wear a jacket, which he is provided only after the restraints are in place. Plaintiff alleges he became subject to these conditions on March 12, 2008, and they were still in place at the time this action was filed.

Plaintiff names the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department; Sheriff and Coroner Adam Christianson; Gina Leguria, Executive Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs; Captain William Duncan; Lieutenants Ronald Lloyd and Gregg Clifton; and Sergeant M. White. Plaintiff seeks damages, and declaratory and injunctive relief.

B. Exercise

As a pretrial detainee, Plaintiff is protected from conditions of confinement which amount to punishment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535-36, 99 S.Ct. 1861 (1979); Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017-18 (9th Cir. 2010); Clouthier v. County of Contra Costa, 591 F.3d 1232, 1244 (9th Cir. 2010). While pretrial detainees' rights are protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the standard for claims brought under the Eighth Amendment has long been used to analyze pretrial detainees' conditions of confinement claims. Simmons, 609 F.3d at ...


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