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Sterling Thibodeaux v. Gail Lewis

April 13, 2013

STERLING THIBODEAUX,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
GAIL LEWIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING THIS ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED (Doc. 8.) ORDER FOR THIS DISMISSAL TO BE SUBJECT TO THE THREE-STRIKES PROVISION SET FORTH IN 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) ORDER FOR CLERK TO CLOSE CASE

I. BACKGROUND

Sterling Thibodeaux is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On December 2, 2009, state prisoner Anthoney Lynch filed the initial Complaint in Case 1:09-cv-2097. (Case 1:09-cv-2097, Doc. 1.) On April 14, 2011, the Court dismissed Lynch's Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (Case 1:09-cv-2097, Doc. 13.) On October 12, 2011, Lynch and two co-plaintiffs, Sterling Thibodeaux and Willie Jones, filed the First Amended Complaint. (Case 1:09-cv-2097, Doc. 22.) On May 1, 2012, the Court severed the claims of the three plaintiffs and dismissed the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave for the three plaintiffs to each file a Second Amended Complaint in their own cases. (Case 1:09-cv-2097, Doc. 28.)

On May 1, 2012, the present action was opened, with Sterling Thibodeaux ("Plaintiff") as the sole plaintiff. (Doc. 1.) On August 10, 2012, Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and no other parties have made an appearance. (Doc. 9.) Therefore, pursuant to Appendix A(k)(4) of the Local Rules of the Eastern District of California, the undersigned shall conduct any and all proceedings in the case until such time as reassignment to a District Judge is required. Local Rule Appendix A(k)(3).

On August 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, which is now before the Court for screening. (Doc. 8.)

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

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 Afrivolous 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). ANotwithstanding 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 is required to contain Aa 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 A[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, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)). While a plaintiff=s allegations are taken as true, courts Aare 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). Plaintiff must set forth Asufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to >state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.=@ Iqbal 556 U.S. at 678. While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

To state a viable claim for relief, Plaintiff must set forth sufficient factual allegations to state a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Id.

III. SUMMARY OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at California Men's Colony West in San Luis Obispo, California. The events at issue in the Second Amended Complaint occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) in Coalinga, California, Avenal State Prison (ASP) in Avenal, California, and Corcoran State Prison (CSP) in Corcoran, California, when Plaintiff was incarcerated at those facilities. Plaintiff names as defendants the Wardens and Assistant Wardens of PVSP, ASP, and CSP; the Chief Medical Officers and Regional Medical Officers of PVSP, ASP, and CSP; the Cities of Coalinga, Avenal, and Corcoran; and the Secretary of Corrections for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Plaintiff factual allegations follow.

Plaintiff was housed for multiple years at PVSP, ASP, and CSP. Plaintiff was never warned that he was being exposed to a deadly disease known as Valley Fever by being imprisoned at those facilities. Valley Fever is a disease that lays dormant in the soil and becomes airborne once the soil is disturbed by wind, construction, etc. Valley Fever is present in the Central Valley of California, and the three facilities are labeled as hyper-endemic areas for the disease.

Plaintiff alleges that all of the named Defendants knew or should have known about the Valley Fever epidemic at PVSP, ASP, and CSP, yet they built those facilities and continued to house unwitting inmates there, failing to train staff to respond to the Valley Fever outbreak. Plaintiff contracted Valley Fever, causing him to suffer pain and mental distress, multiple surgeries, headaches, joint pain, loss of ...


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