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Rahn G. Thompson v. State of California

March 23, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge




Rahn G. Thompson ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action on September 5, 2007. (Doc. 1.) The Court screened the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A and entered an order on January 8, 2009, requiring Plaintiff to either file an amended complaint or notify the Court of his willingness to proceed on the claims found cognizable by the Court. (Doc. 14.) On April 16, 2009, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 19.) On November 10, 2009, with leave of court, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, which is now before the Court for screening. (Doc. 25.)


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 is only required to 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, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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). To state a viable claim for relief, Plaintiff must set forth sufficient factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 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. Id.


Plaintiff is currently a state prisoner at the California State Prison in Corcoran, California. The events at issue in the Second Amended Complaint allegedly occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California, while Plaintiff was incarcerated there. Plaintiff names as defendants Sergeant ("Sgt.") N. Green, Sgt. D. Huckabay, RN Ms. Davis, Med Tech Mr. Chapman, and Correctional Officers ("C/O"s) W. Tucker, D. Thompson, J. Melendez, M. Hernandez, M. E. Rincon, T. Lee, Deathridge, and H. Martinez.

Plaintiff alleges as follows in the Second Amended Complaint.

Failure to Protect

While Plaintiff was incarcerated at Pelican Bay State Prison, he became aware that he would be a victim of an attack by another inmate. After an investigation, prison officials determined that Plaintiff should be removed from the general population and housed in administrative segregation under safety watch. Plaintiff continued to receive death threats and was placed on single-cell status under protective custody watch. On November 22, 2005, the Institution Classification Committee decided that Plaintiff should be transferred to a sensitive needs yard at another prison and should remain on single-cell status.

In December 2005, Plaintiff was transferred to PVSP. When it became known that Plaintiff was at PVSP, he was threatened with attacks. Plaintiff immediately informed C/O Tucker, Sgt. Green, and Sgt. Huckabay and requested to be placed in protective custody. Plaintiff informed C/O Tucker, Sgt. Green, and Sgt. Huckabay of the written documentation in Plaintiff's prison records, to make them aware of Plaintiff's need for safe protective housing. Plaintiff alleges that all of the named defendants deliberately refused to consider Plaintiff's safety concerns.

In January 2006, Plaintiff was assaulted by a Crips gangmember as he was exiting the shower. Plaintiff filed a 602 prison complaint, an investigation was conducted, and the appeals examiner confirmed that Plaintiff was defending himself. C/O Tucker, Sgt. Green, and Sgt. Huckabay became very angry about Plaintiff's complaints about his safety and told him he would get "dealt with." Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was removed from his single cell and ordered by C/O Tucker to share a cell with a known Bloods gangmember. C/O Tucker ordered Plaintiff to keep his mouth shut. Plaintiff's records contain documentation that he should not be housed with any Crips or Bloods gangmember, or any Radical Muslim. Defendants C/O Tucker, Sgt. Green, Sgt. Huckabay, C/O Hernandez, C/O Rincon, C/O Deathridge, and C/O Lee were repeatedly informed by Plaintiff of his safety issues and concerns, but they all refused to provide Plaintiff with safe housing. Plaintiff continued to file complaints requesting to be placed in protective custody, but no one would listen or help him. He was finally removed from the cell, but only for a short period.

In October 2006, C/O Tucker ordered Plaintiff to accept a Radical Muslim inmate as a cell mate. Plaintiff again informed C/O Tucker that he would be in grave danger, begged C/O Tucker not to force him to be housed with a documented enemy, and repeatedly requested protective custody. C/O Tucker left and returned with several other officers and loudly ordered Plaintiff to follow orders. Plaintiff protested, informing C/O Tucker that he had been attacked by two of the Muslim inmate's associates at Pelican Bay State Prison. C/O Tucker pushed Plaintiff aside and told the Muslim inmate to enter his cell. Shortly thereafter, when Plaintiff was asleep, his cell mate assaulted him, resulting in Plaintiff being taken to the prison infirmary.

Later in October 2006, Plaintiff was ordered by C/O Lee to move into another building and share a cell with inmate Miller. Plaintiff emphatically informed C/O Lee that inmate Miller was his enemy, an active Bloods gangmember, and that there was documentation in Plaintiff's file showing he should not be housed with a Bloods' gangmember. C/O Lee refused to show concerns for Plaintiff's safety and told Plaintiff he would "throw my ass in the Hole if I don't get out of his sight." 2d Amd Cmp ¶21. Plaintiff informed C/O Lee that the inmate who attacked him a few weeks ago was housed in the other building, and made C/O Lee aware of the documentation in his file. C/O Lee ignored Plaintiff's concerns. As Plaintiff was moving to the other building, he was approached outside by inmate Miller who said "Nigga I don't want you in my cell." The two inmates argued and were separated by other inmates before a fight started. Sgt. Green said they "should've fought and then Thompson's ass would have been thrown in the Hole." 2d Amd Cmp ¶24. Plaintiff pleaded with Sgt. Green for his safety, but Sgt. Green ignored him and ordered him to enter the building.

Plaintiff entered the building but refused to enter the cell. He approached the floor officer C/O Deathridge and told him about the dangerous enemy situation with inmate Miller and the earlier assault by the Muslim inmate. Plaintiff also told C/O Deathridge about the documentation in his file. C/O Deathridge made a phone call, and afterward C/O Tucker arrived, moved inmate Miller's property from the bottom bunk to the top bunk, and ordered Plaintiff to move in. Plaintiff refused to enter the cell. He approached floor officers C/O Rincon and C/O Hernandez, informed them about his two enemies in the building, and asked to be housed in another building. C/O Hernandez pushed Plaintiff into the cell and shut the cell door. Plaintiff continued to complain about his situation to the defendants. Sgt. Green told him, "Handle it, Thompson." 2d Amd Cmp ¶34. OnNovember 14, 2006, inmate Miller attacked Plaintiff, stabbed him twice, cut Plaintiff's neck and eye, and stabbed him in the left arm.

Adverse Conditions of Confinement and Excessive Force

C/O Tucker knew Plaintiff needed his medically-ordered orthopedic knee brace and cane, but on October 5, 2006*fn1 he forcefully took the brace and cane and destroyed the brace. C/O Tucker then ordered Plaintiff to "get to your building now!" 2d Amd Cmp ΒΆ37. The building was over 200 yards away. Plaintiff asked C/O Tucker to give him back the medical devices, but he refused and told Plaintiff if he didn't get going, he would be thrown in the Hole. Plaintiff obeyed and limped the long distance. Upon entering the building, Plaintiff's knee gave out and he fell to the floor. Plaintiff cried out in pain and begged for help. C/O Tucker grabbed Plaintiff's arms, dragged him across the floor, and ...

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