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Mustafa Wright v. N Grannis

March 14, 2011

MUSTAFA WRIGHT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
N GRANNIS, SILVA H GARCIA, E.A. CONTRERAS, OFFICE OF WATCH AMEND COMMANDER, E MARRERO, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, OFFICE OF REGISTERED NURSES, P.A. CORTEZ, ABAD, D SMITH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. SammartinoUnited States District Judge

ORDER: (1) ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS; (2) GRANTING IN PART AND (3) GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND

(Doc. Nos. 35, 37)

Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major's report and recommendation (R&R) advising this Court to grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's first amended complaint, and grant Plaintiff's motion to amend. (Doc. No. 35 (R&R).) Also before the Court are Plaintiff's objections to the R&R. (Doc. No. 37 (Objections).) Having considered the parties' arguments and the law, the Court ADOPTS the R&R, GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion to dismiss, and GRANTS Plaintiff's motion to amend.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a state prisoner incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (Donovan) in San Diego, California, alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and his Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process. (Doc. No. 8 (FAC) 11--12.)

According to Plaintiff, after Defendant Smith, a Donovan correctional officer, brought Hopkins, another Donovan inmate, into Plaintiff's cell, Plaintiff immediately voiced his reluctance to be housed with Hopkins because Hopkins seemed mentally unsound. (Id. at 11.) Defendant Smith responded that Hopkins was "just a little crazy" but, nevertheless, needed to be housed. (Id.) Although Plaintiff insisted that he did not want to share a cell with Hopkins, Defendant Smith told Plaintiff that "[he] [could] handle [him]self" and promptly left. (Id.) Plaintiff later informed Defendant Smith that Hopkins had threatened him. (Id. at 12.)

After Plaintiff's pleas to Defendant Smith went unanswered, Plaintiff told Defendant Abad that he "did not feel safe with Hopkins in the cell." (Id.) Defendant Abad disregarded Plaintiff's concerns and threatened him with solitary confinement. (Id.) The next day, Plaintiff returned to Defendant Abad's office and asked to have Hopkins removed from his cell because of his strange behavior. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Abad called Defendant Cortez and informed him that Hopkins had "previously [been] ordered single celled." (Id.) Defendant Abad then asked Plaintiff to step out of the office. (Id.) After Defendant Abad summoned Plaintiff back, he told Plaintiff that Hopkins had not been classified and that Plaintiff "was stuck with him" until the committee decided what it could do. (Id. at 13.) Although Plaintiff complained that he should not be housed with Hopkins if he was not classified, Defendant Abad told him to "just wait it out." (Id.)

Throughout June 10, 2008, Plaintiff experienced pain around his rectum but was uncertain of the cause. (Id. at 14.) According to Plaintiff, as he was preparing to take a nap later that day, he saw Hopkins "attempting to pour some of his medication into [Plaintiff's] coffee mug." (Id.)Then, it dawned on Plaintiff that Hopkins might have drugged and sexually assaulted him. (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that several correctional staff at Donovan, including Defendants Cortez and Contreras, knew that Hopkins had a history of sexually assualting his cellmates and that he was supposed to be housed in a single cell. (Id.) Additionally, Defendants Garcia, Marrero, and Office of Watch Commander allegedly had a policy of ignoring the single cell status of prisoners to ease prison overcrowding. (Id.) Further, Plaintiff contends that Defendant Office of Registered Nurses allowed Hopkins to leave the medical area without swallowing his medication, thus allowing him to later drug and sexually assault Plaintiff.

Plaintiff filed the operative complaint, his first amended complaint (FAC), on January 27, 2010, and on April 1, 2010, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 24). On May 5, 2010, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 29.) Defendants filed a reply on the same day. (Doc. No. 30.) On May 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his first amended complaint. (Doc. No. 32.) Judge Major issued an R&R on November 9, 2010 advising this Court to grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion to dismiss and grant Plaintiff's motion to amend. (Doc. No. 35.) Plaintiff objected to the R&R on December 7, 2010. (Doc. No. 37.)

LEGAL STANDARD

1. Review of the Report and Recommendation

Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district court's duties regarding a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. The district court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made," and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673--76 (1980). However, in the absence of a timely objection, "the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation." Fed. R. Civ. P. 72, advisory committee's note (citing Campbell v. U.S. Dist. Court, 501 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)).

2. Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a party to assert by motion the defense that the complaint "fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted," generally known as a motion to dismiss. The Court evaluates whether a complaint states a cognizable legal theory and sufficient facts pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a "short and plain statement of the claim" showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Although Rule 8 "does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' . . . it [does] demand[] more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, - U.S.-, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In other words, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' for his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." ...


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