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Dubrin, et al v. Bonilla

June 25, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiffs are state prisoners who are represented by counsel. Plaintiffs initiated this civil rights action against Defendants Cate, Stainer, and Bonilla pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 2, 2011. (Doc. 2). Presently before this Court is Defendants motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint ("SAC"), pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim. (Doc. 20).

Defendants assert that Plaintiffs' claims against each of the Defendants must fail, as the SAC makes only conclusory allegations which are unsupported by sufficient facts. Plaintiffs' contend the allegations set forth in their SAC are sufficient at the pleading stage.

For the reasons set forth below, Defendants motion to dismiss is GRANTED as to Defendant Cate and DENIED as to Defendants Stainer and Bounville.


Plaintiffs are state prisoners confined in the Security Housing Unit ("SHU") at the California Correctional Institution ("CCI") in Tehachapi. (Doc. 19 at 2.) Plaintiffs allege that they are being 4 deprived of the minimum amount of out of cell exercise. (Id. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs indicate that in the 5 four months preceding the filing of the FAC, they have received a total of 12 hours of exercise time.

(Id. at ¶ 6.) Plaintiffs indicate that their remaining time was spent confined in a 6 x 8 foot cell. (See 7 id. at ¶ 6.) Plaintiffs aver that the lack of out of cell exercise has had an adverse impact on their 8 physical health and mental well-being. (Id. at ¶ 17.) 9

Plaintiffs' SAC names Correctional Sergeant Bounville, CCI Warden Michael Stainer, and Matthew Cate, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") in their individual capacities. (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiffs' SAC alleges that Defendant Bounville is directly responsible for approving yard time for the CCI SHU inmates, that he was aware, through direct complaints from Plaintiffs, that CCI had not been providing the required out-of-cell exercise time, that he failed to assign staff to provide such exercise time to Plaintiffs, and that he was aware of the harm that lack of exercise time inflicted upon Plaintiffs. (Id. at ¶28). Plaintiffs' SAC asserts that Defendant Stainer has direct responsibility over the conditions of SHU confinement. (Id. at ¶29). Plaintiffs allege Stainer was aware of CCI's non-compliance with statutory exercise time for SHU inmates through direct conversations with subordinate employees, has approved of CCI's de facto policy of non-compliance, and has implemented a policy of counting time walking to the shower as exercise time. (Doc. 19 ¶ 29). Finally, as to Defendant Cate, Plaintiffs' SAC alleges Cate has received thousands of inmate appeals from SHU inmates at CCI regarding the lack of exercise but has failed to investigate or verify such claims. (Doc. 19 at ¶23). Plaintiffs conclude that Cate's failure to act demonstrates that Cate has established a policy of non-compliance with exercise provisions and that his actions amount to a failure to train Defendant Stainer. (Id.)


A.Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure Rule 12(B)(6)

A motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see also Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 349 F.3d 1191, 1199-1200 (9th Cir. 2003). A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory, 2 or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable theory. See Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 3 2001). 4

In reviewing the motion, the Court will assume the truth of all factual allegations and will 5 construe them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Gompper v. VISX, Inc., 298 6 F.3d 893, 895 (9th Cir. 2002). However, the court is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion 7 couched as a factual allegation. "When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should 8 assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." 9 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). However, the conclusions contained in the pleading "are not entitled to the assumption of truth." (Id.)

B.42 U.S.C. § 1983

To plead a § 1983 violation, a plaintiff must allege facts from which it may be inferred (1) he was deprived of a federal right, and (2) a person who committed the alleged violation acted under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 28 (1988); Williams v. Gorton, 529 F.2d 668, 670 (9th Cir. 1976). In addition, a plaintiff must allege he suffered a specific injury, and show causal relationship between the defendant's conduct and the injury suffered by the plaintiff. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976); Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978) (a person deprives another of a federal right "if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do so that it causes the deprivation of which ...

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