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Salvador Gonzalez v. Felker

February 10, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 60).


A. Plaintiff's Allegations

This action proceeds on plaintiff's third amended complaint (Doc. 18) against defendants Felker, Foulk, Peery, Lockard, Lynn, Lemon, French, and Miller.*fn1 Plaintiff states that, on January 16, 2007, correctional officer Sears came to his cell block to escort a prisoner in a neighboring cell to a medical appointment. According to plaintiff, at that time Sears inquired as to "why were the Southerners, Northerners, Whites, and Blacks covering their cell windows." Plaintiff said he didn't know what Sears was talking about. Plaintiff states that, about an hour later, Sears returned, this time with correctional officer Campbell. At that time, Sears told plaintiff: "I guess everyone is mad 'cause of the lockdowns, but they came to an agreement with the Southern Mexicans."

Plaintiff states that, later, he spoke with correctional officer Campbell who said that the guards were upset about the windows being covered earlier and that they wanted to "cell extract" a "Mexican national." He adds that correctional officer Campbell then covered every cell window from the outside and, after that, the electricity and ventilation were turned off. Following this, plaintiff heard "yelling and banging" and he smelled "some type of chemical." Plaintiff states that he has asthma and was having a hard time breathing.

Plaintiff alleges that, several hours later, prison guards arrived in an "aggressive manner" to "cell extract us for no reason." He states that he was falsely accused of covering his cell window. He claims that the guards were angry and disrespectful and that he feared for his safety. Plaintiff says that "[t]his was done under then acting warden Felker, who is legally responsible for the operations" at the prison. Plaintiff states that defendants Foulk, Peery, Lynn, Lemon, and Lockard "authorized and supervised the cell extraction."

When the guards came to his cell door to extract him, plaintiff states he felt safer in his cell. He was ordered by defendant Lockard to "turn on my bright lights" and that he complied. He states that, due to noise, he was unable to hear what was being said next, but he assumed he was being ordered to submit to mechanical restraints. Plaintiff alleges that he told the guards that he has asthma, his ankle was sprained, and that he could not hear their orders over the noise. According to plaintiff, "[a]ll of a sudden Sgt. Lemon throws some type of gas grenade in my cell." He states he felt like he was suffocating. He states that when he asked for help, defendants Peery, Lemon, Lockard, and Lynn "all just stared at me as did the rest of the guards." Plaintiff claims he was "forced to go through the naked cell search procedure twice for no reason, but to keep me suffering the effects of the gas longer." He was then "paraded" in front of 50-100 guards and staff, some of whom were female, who were watching and laughing.

According to plaintiff, after being led out of the cell, he was forced to remain naked and in mechanical restraints. Plaintiff states that, during the cell extraction, officer Camire held a shield, Sears and officer Moore held a baton, officer Tampien held handcuffs, officer Ruggero held leg irons, and officer Epperson filmed the incident.*fn2 He alleges that officer "Doosenberry knew exactly what was going on and let the abuse proceed by opening the cell door from the tower." Plaintiff claims that defendants French and Miller "gave the clearance for me to be gassed and cell extracted, knowing I had asthma and could not be cell extracted in that manner." Plaintiff states that he was then taken to the showers and asked by a nurse if he was okay, to which he responded that he was. However, plaintiff states that he only said he was okay "due to the shock of what had just happened."

B. Defendants' Evidence

In support of their motion for summary judgment, defendants submit a separate statement of undisputed material facts. This statement is supported by counsel's declaration and the transcript of plaintiff's September 17, 2009, deposition. According to defendants' evidence:

1. A cell extraction occurred on January 16, 2007, at High Desert State Prison;

2. At the time of the extraction, plaintiff was housed in Facility C, Building 6, cell 202;

3. Facility C had been on lock-down status approximately one week prior to the cell extraction, such ...

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