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Anthoney Lynch, Thibodeaux, and Willie Jones v. Warden of Pleasant Valley State Prison

April 30, 2012

ANTHONEY LYNCH, THIBODEAUX, AND WILLIE JONES,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
WARDEN OF PLEASANT VALLEY STATE PRISON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 22.) ORDER DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED AS CLASS ACTION ORDER SEVERING PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS, AND DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO OPEN NEW ACTIONS FOR PLAINTIFFS THIBODEAUX AND WILLIE JONES THIRTY DAY DEADLINE FOR ALL THREE PLAINTIFFS TO EACH FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT IN THEIR OWN CASES FORTY-FIVE DAY DEADLINE FOR PLAINTIFFS THIBODEAUX AND WILLIE JONES TO EACH SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS, OR PAY THE FILING FEES, IN THEIR OWN CASES

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiffs Anthoney Lynch, Thibodeaux, and Willie Jones ("Plaintiffs") are state prisoners proceeding pro se with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff Anthoney Lynch filed the Complaint commencing this action on December 2, 2009. (Doc. 1.) On January 8, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff Lynch leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 10.) On April 14, 2011, the Court dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (Doc. 13.)

On October 12, 2011, Plaintiffs Lynch, Thibodeaux (K-17185) and Willie Jones (D-41027) filed the First Amended Complaint. (Doc. 22.) The First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening.

II. SUMMARY OF AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff Anthoney Lynch is presently incarcerated at California State Prison-Los Angeles in Lancaster, California. It appears that Plaintiff Thibodeaux is presently incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP") in Corcoran, California, and that Plaintiff Willie Jones is presently incarcerated at Avenal State Prison ("ASP") in Avenal, California.*fn1 The First Amended Complaint names as defendants Gail Lewis (Warden, PVSP), City of Coalinga, City of Corcoran, City of Avenal, John Doe 1 (Assistant Warden, PVSP), John Doe 2 (Chief Medical Officer, PVSP/ASP/CSP), John Doe 3 (Regional Medical Director, PVSP/ASP/CSP), and John Doe 4 (Secretary of Corrections, PVSP/ASP/CSP) ("Defendants").

Plaintiffs allege as follows in the First Amended Complaint.

Plaintiffs suffer from the disease known as Valley Fever, which they contracted while incarcerated at California correctional facilities. Plaintiffs have endured, among them, multiple surgeries, headaches, joint pain, loss of appetite, months of hospitalization, spinal taps, and pain and suffering beyond that expected from their often harsh and restrictive conditions of confinement.

Valley Fever lays dormant in soil and becomes airborne when the soil is disturbed by wind, construction, etc. The disease originated in the Central Valley of California, and PVSP, ASP, and CSP have been labeled hyperendemic areas for the disease. During the time that Plaintiff Lynch was housed at PVSP, construction of a lockup/medical facility took place, but Lynch was not given a breathing mask. None of the Plaintiffs were warned by prison officials or prison medical staff that they were being exposed to a deadly disease by being imprisoned; their health was not monitored for Valley Fever; and they were not given a choice to transfer to other institutions. Plaintiffs also allege that prison staff was not properly trained to respond to outbreaks of Valley Fever.

Defendants City of Coalinga, City of Corcoran, and City of Avenal are liable for their disregard of Plaintiffs' safety due to their lack of a policy to warn Plaintiffs and monitor their health, and for failing to transfer them to safer facilities. Defendants Does 2 and 3 are liable for failing to warn plaintiffs, monitor their health, transfer them, and adequately train staff to respond to the Valley Fever outbreak. Defendants Lewis and John Doe 1 knew or should have known about the spread of the disease, and yet failed to enforce a policy to warn Plaintiffs about the disease, and failed to protect Plaintiffs. Defendant John Doe 4 was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs' health in failing to close down prisons in hyperendemic regions, condoning the custom of housing unwitting inmates, and neglecting to manage other Defendants to insure they were warning and monitoring inmates and staff. Further, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants condoned overcrowding in their institutions, which resulted in the contraction of Valley Fever.

Plaintiffs request money damages and injunctive relief via an order transferring Plaintiffs to a safer facility. Plaintiffs also request an order directing the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") to provide Plaintiffs with the proper names of the Doe defendants.

III. PLAINTIFFS' CLAIMS

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

42 U.S.C. § 1983. "Section 1983 . . . creates a cause of action for violations of the federal Constitution and laws." Sweeney v. Ada County, Idaho, 119 F.3d 1385, 1391 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotations omitted). "To the extent that the violation of a state law amounts to the deprivation of a state-created interest that reaches beyond that guaranteed by the federal Constitution, Section 1983 offers no redress." Id.

A. Valley Fever

Plaintiffs allege that they would not have contracted Valley Fever if they had not been housed at PVSP, ASP, and CSP. "[T]o the extent that Plaintiff[s are] attempting to pursue an Eighth Amendment claim for the mere fact that [they were] confined in a location where Valley Fever spores existed which caused them to contract Valley Fever, [they are] advised that no courts have held that exposure to Valley Fever spores presents an excessive risk to inmate health." King v. Avenal State Prison, 2009 WL 546212, *4 (E.D. Cal., Mar 4, 2009); see also Tholmer v. Yates, 2009 WL 174162, *3 (E.D. Cal. ...


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