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Genghis Khan Ali Stevenson v. Derral G. Adams

November 6, 2012


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


ORDER THAT DISMISSAL IS SUBJECT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915(G) Second Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Genghis Khan Ali Stevenson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on May 5, 2011. On March 21, 2012, the Court screening Plaintiff's complaint and dismissed it, with leave to amend, for failure to state any claims. On April 25, 2012, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

While prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), and to survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California, brings this action against Correctional Sergeants J. P. Prudhel and M. Drew; Associate Warden M. Jennings; Chief Deputy Warden R. Davis; and Correctional Officers P. O. Deochoa, I. Bryant, E. Lara, and P. Patterson for violating his constitutional rights in 2009 when he was at California State Prison-Corcoran. Plaintiff seeks damages, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.

A. Claim One*fn1

1. Allegations

Plaintiff alleges that on May 11, 2009, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., he was assigned inmate Desouza as a cellmate by Officer Cavazos, an assignment approved by Sergeant Acosta. A workshift change occurred and Plaintiff asked Defendant Deochoa, who was preparing for showers, when inmate Desouza was coming. Defendant Deochoa said there was a Mexican guy in a holding cage and then left. Defendant Deochoa returned a few minutes later, told Plaintiff to cuff up, and escorted him to a holding cage opposite of inmate Desouza.

Plaintiff asked inmate Desouza what was going on and Desouza said he had been in the holding cage since that morning. Defendant Deochoa asked Desouza if he had met Plaintiff and if he knew Plaintiff from somewhere. Meanwhile, Defendant Deochoa had appeared with all of Plaintiff's personal property. Plaintiff asked what was going on and what Defendant was doing with his property. Defendant Deochoa said that since Plaintiff had refused a cellmate and the two of them were not going to cell up, Plaintiff was going to sleep in the holding cage because there were no open cells. Plaintiff said that was wrong and asked to speak to a sergeant. Defendant Deochoa got Defendant Prudhel, who said that Plaintiff had refused a cellmate and he did not want hear any verbal complaints, and that Plaintiff's property was going to be confiscated. Defendant Prudhel said Plaintiff would sleep on the floor of the holding cage and inmate Desouza would get Plaintiff's cell.

Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in the holding cage around approximately 2:30 p.m. and remained there for around twenty-four hours. Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to "overnight air condition, cold freeze area nothing but a t-shirt, boxer and pair of socks." (Amend. Comp., p. 4.) Plaintiff alleges he was hungry because he was not fed dinner, he was denied access to water and use of the restroom, and he was deprived of sleep and bitten by insects.

Plaintiff alleges that his placement in the holding cage is called "cage therapy," and it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges that it violated the Equal Protection Clause because no other individuals under the same circumstances would be subjected to the same treatment, and the confiscation of his personal property without a hearing violated the Due Process Clause. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that as a result of his property confiscation, which lasted between May 11, 2009, and June 8, 2009, he missed the due date for filing his opposition to a motion for summary judgment, which was June 1, 2009.

2. Eighth Amendment

a. Legal Standard

The Eighth Amendment protects prisoners from inhumane conditions of confinement. Morgan v. Morgensen, 465 F.3d 1041, 1045 (9th Cir. 2006). "[R]outine discomfort inherent in the prison setting" does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Johnson v. Lewis, 217 F.3d 726, 731 (9th Cir. 2000). Rather, 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. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994); Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9, 112 S.Ct. 995 (1992). In order to state a claim, a prisoner must allege facts sufficient to support a claim that prison officials knew of and ...

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