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Jesse Manny Canez v. Oliver

December 12, 2011

JESSE MANNY CANEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OLIVER, DEFENDANT.



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

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 (Doc. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

Screening Order

I. Screening Standard

Plaintiff Jessy Manny Canez, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 8, 2010. Plaintiff brings this action against Officer Oliver for allegedly violating his constitutional rights while he was a pretrial detainee at the Fresno County Jail. Plaintiff seeks both injunctive relief and damages, but because Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at the jail and no exception to the mootness doctrine applies, he is limited to seeking damages. Dilley v. Gunn, 64 F.3d 1365, 1368 (9th Cir. 1995) (quotation marks omitted); see also Nelson v. Heiss, 271 F.3d 891, 897 (9th Cir. 2001); Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 519 (9th Cir. 1991).

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 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, 556 U.S. 662, __, 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 factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

A. Conditions of Confinement in Disciplinary Segregation

Plaintiff alleges that on October 16, 2010, after informing another officer that he was trying to avoid a physical confrontation with his cellmate, Defendant arbitrarily placed him in disciplinary segregation with inmates who rub feces on their bodies and have severe psychological issues. Plaintiff alleges that the conditions were inhumane and violated his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

Conditions of confinement claims brought by pretrial detainees are analyzed under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. 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); Oregon Advocacy Center v. Mink, 322 F.3d 1101, 1120 (9th Cir. 2003). However, the Eighth Amendment's deliberate indifference standard sets the minimum standard of care due pretrial detainees. Simmons, 609 F.3d at 1017-18; Clouthier, 591 F.3d at 1244; Oregon Advocacy Center, 322 F.3d at 1120.

Extreme deprivations are required to make out a conditions of confinement claim, and only those deprivations denying the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities are sufficiently grave to form the basis of a violation. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9, 112 S.Ct. 995 (1992) (citations and quotations omitted); Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998). Where a prisoner alleges injuries stemming from unsafe conditions of confinement, prison officials may be held liable only if they acted with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm. Frost, 152 F.3d at 1128. The deliberate indifference standard involves an objective and a subjective prong. First, the deprivation must be, objectively, sufficiently serious. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994) (quotation marks omitted). Second, the prison official must know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837 (quotation marks omitted).

Here, Plaintiff alleges only that the conditions in disciplinary segregation were inhumane as he was housed in a unit with severely mentally ill inmates who rubbed feces on their bodies. This conclusory allegation falls short of supporting a claim that the conditions in segregation were sufficiently grave to invoke the protections of the Constitution and that, in transferring Plaintiff there, Defendant knowingly disregarded an excessive risk of harm to Plaintiff's health or safety. Accordingly, Plaintiff's conditions-of-confinement claim fails.

B. Denial of Due Process

Plaintiff also alleges that his right to due process was violated. To the extent Plaintiff is attempting to state a procedural due process claim, Plaintiff has neither alleged the existence of a protected liberty interest, Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221-22, 125 S.Ct. 2384 (2005); Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 481-84, 115 S.Ct. 2293 (1995), nor alleged placement in segregation without the minimal procedural protections he is due under federal law, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556, 94 S.Ct. 2963 (1974); Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1100-01 (9th Cir. 1986).*fn1 In the absence of facts indicating that ...


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