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Rickey Castro v. Mr. Olmos

May 4, 2012

RICKEY CASTRO,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MR. OLMOS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (ECF No. 1)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the California Institute for Men at Chino, brings this civil rights action against correctional officials employed by the CDCR at CCI Tehachapi. Plaintiff's claim in this action stems from the conditions of his confinement. Plaintiff alleges that between the dates of July 3rd and September 19, 2011, he was only allowed to shower 10 times. Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants in this action are the correctional officers in charge of the level III yard shower program for inmates in the unit where Plaintiff was housed. Plaintiff specifically alleges that he was allowed 10 showers over the course of approximately 88 days.

A. Conditions of Confinement

The Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from inhumane methods of punishment and from inhumane conditions of confinement. Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006). 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 an Eighth Amendment violation. Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992) (citations and quotations omitted). In order to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment, the plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to support a claim that prison officials knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff. E.g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,847 (1994);

Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998).

"[S]ubjection of a prisoner to lack of sanitation that is severe or prolonged can constitute an infliction of pain within the meaning of the Eighth Amendment." Anderson v. County of Kern, 45 F.3d 1310, 1314 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Johnson v. Lewis, 217 F.3d 726, 731-32 (9th Cir. 2000); Hoptowit v. Spellman, 753 F.2d 779, 783 (9th Cir. 1985). Each condition being challenged must be sufficiently serious to constitute a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff. Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1254 (9th Cir.1986) (Eighth Amendment violations may not be premised on a totality of conditions at the prison), abrogated in part on other grounds by Sandin v. Conner, 5154 U.S. 472, (1995). The circumstances, nature, and duration of the deprivations are critical in determining whether the conditions complained of are grave enough to form the basis of a viable Eighth Amendment claim. Johnson, 217 F.3d at 731.

Although the Eighth Amendment guarantees sanitation, Johnson, 217 F.3d at 731, lack of access to the showers for two weeks, in and of itself, does not suggest that Plaintiff was unable to attend to his basic hygiene needs during the time frame at issue. Plaintiff's conclusory allegation that his reduced access to showers constitutes deliberate indifference is unsupported by factual allegation. There are no allegations that Plaintiff was completely deprived of showers, or that Plaintiff did not have any other ...


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