Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rene Arroyo v. James Tilton

April 27, 2012

RENE ARROYO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES TILTON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (DOCS. 8, 9)

I. Background

Plaintiff Rene Arroyo ("Plaintiff"), a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his complaint on July 19, 2011. On March 5, 2012, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and finds that it states cognizable claims against Defendants Adams, Schneider, Carter, Matthews, Leon, and Hubach. Plaintiff was ordered to file an amended complaint, or to notify the Court of his intent to proceed only on the cognizable claims found in the order. On March 27, 2012, Plaintiff filed notice of his intent to proceed only on the cognizable claims. The Court issues the following order.

II. Legal Standard

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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

III. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison in Corcoran, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names Director of CDCR James Tilton, Warden D. Adams, Officer D. Leon, Lieutenant D. Matthews, Correctional Sergeant R. Schneider, Lieutenant R. Hubach and Correctional Sergeant T. Carter as Defendants.

Plaintiff alleges that prior to February 2008, strip searches were conducted in a holding cell both before and after a prisoner attends outdoor yard exercise. Sometime in February 2008, staff began conducting "unclothed body inspections" outside on the yard pursuant to a memo authored by Defendant Adams.

On March 15, 2008, at about 12:00 p.m., Plaintiff attended the exercise yard. During yard recall, unit staff refused to remove Plaintiff from the yard unless he submitted to a public strip search in a filthy environment and in front of female staff. Plaintiff told staff that he was willing to submit to an unclothed body search, but requested that it be conducted in a holding cell. Plaintiff repeated the request many times but was "simply disregarded and left outside in cold weather until about 6:30 a.m. without eating lunch or dinner." Complaint, at 5.

During the night, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Hubach ordered the removal of Plaintiff's personal and state issued property from his cell, including clothing, blankets, sheets and hygiene products.

At about 6:30 a.m., Plaintiff alleges Defendants Schneider and Carter repeatedly pepper-sprayed his body and face, including his eyes and penis, until he got completely naked to perform the unclothed body search. Plaintiff alleges that this use of force was ordered and authorized by Defendants Matthews and Leon. The search was conducted in very cold weather, while Plaintiff was full of chemicals, in plain view of a yard full of inmates and staff of the opposite sex.

Plaintiff alleges that he was not properly decontaminated after being pepper-sprayed and received only a spray of cold water in the face from a hose.

After, Plaintiff was placed in his cell with only a mattress. He alleges that he was forced to spend the rest of the night completely naked, in burning pain and shivering uncontrollably as a result of the remaining chemicals. Plaintiff had no sheets, blankets or hygiene products. He was forced to eat his breakfast completely nude and was not provided underwear until after breakfast. Plaintiff was given a blanket, sheets, clothing and hygiene products on the evening of March 17, 2008, when his property was returned to him. Plaintiff's written request for medical attention was ignored and he alleges that the painful effects of the pepper spray lasted for two days.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants continued to conduct these public strip searches and that Corcoran has a pattern and practice of abusing prisoners and engaging in the willful violation of Plaintiff's civil and statutory rights.

Based on these facts, Plaintiff alleges the following causes of action:

1. Unreasonable search in violation of the Fourth Amendment against Defendant Adams;

2. Deprivation of a liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment against Defendant Adams;

3. Use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Schneider, Carter, Matthews and Leon based on the pepper spray incident, and against Defendant Adams based on his establishment of the public strip search policy;

4. Inhumane conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment against Defendants Hubach, Matthews and Leon based on failure to decontaminate Plaintiff and requiring him to spend the night naked in his cell, and against Defendant Adams based on his establishment of the public strip search policy;

5. Supervisory liability pursuant to California Penal Code section 5054 against Defendant Tilton based on his failure to train, supervise and discipline;

6. Violation of right to privacy under the California Constitution and California Penal Code section 2600 against Defendant Adams;

7. Unreasonable search in violation of the California Constitution and California Penal Code section 2600 against Defendant Adams;

8. Use of excessive force in violation of the California Constitution against Defendants Leon, Matthews, Schneider, Carter and Adams;

9. Assault and battery in violation of California Penal Code sections 149, 240 and 242 against Defendants Adams, Leon, Matthews, Schneider and Carter;

10. Mistreatment of prisoners in violation of California Penal Code sections 2650 and 2652 against all Defendants;

11. Oppression in violation of California Penal Code section 147 and California Civil Code sections 3288 and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.