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Huskey v. King

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 4, 2015

AUDREY KING, et al., Defendants.


MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a civil detainee at Coalinga State Hospital ("CSH") proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF Nos. 1 & 4.) The Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and dismissed it for failure to state a claim but gave leave to amend. (ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 8.) is now before the Court for screening.


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, malicious, " or 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 on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).


Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) ( quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights, ' but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere.'" Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144, n. 3 (1979)).

To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); see also Ketchum v. Cnty. of Alameda, 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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 (2009) ( citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.


Plaintiff is detained at Coalinga State Hospital ("CSH") in Coalinga, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants: 1) Audrey King, Executive Director of Coalinga, 2) John Doe 1, Chairman Property Compliance Committee, 3) John Doe 2, Chairman Ad-hoc Property Committee, 4) John Doe 3, Chairman Environment of Control Committee, 5) John Doe 4 and 5, Property Room Officers, 6) John Doe 6, Property Room Sergeant, 7) John Doe 7, Hospital Administrator, 8) John Doe 8, Level of Care Staff on Unit 3, and 9) John Does 9 and 10.

Plaintiff alleges essentially the following:

Defendant Audrey King, CSH Executive Director, through her individual acts and omissions and policy directives to CSH staff (1) housed Plaintiff in an overcrowded hospital dormitory that does not comply with state requirements for patient living area, fire safety, and privacy and creates a shortage of medical staff which in turn causes Plaintiff to be deprived of medical services; (2) unreasonably searched his living area and confiscated his personal property (including his stamp albums, art supplies, a DVD, and MP3 player) without notice, opportunity to appeal, and compensation as required by CSH regulations; (3) denied him CSH services (such as leisure time) because of inadequate staffing; and (4) denied his grievance of these deprivations.

CSH employees unreasonably searched his living area, confiscating non-contraband property. Plaintiff was disciplined for attempting to watch the search and "[a]t one point... suffered a small stroke." (ECF No. 8 at 6.) Additionally, Plaintiff has suffered stress, anxiety, and hopelessness. (ECF No. 8 at 14.)

Plaintiff seeks an order (1) reducing occupancy from four man dorms to two man dorms, (2) mandating housing of only California Health and Welfare Code § 6600 civil detainees at CSH, [1] (3) installing adequate privacy curtains in the dorms, and (4) returning allowable property confiscated by staff and publically listing items that are contraband.


Plaintiff, a civil detainee pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6600 et seq., is not a prisoner within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Page v. Torrey, 201 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 2000). He retains greater liberty protections than individuals detained under criminal process and is "entitled to more considerate treatment and conditions of confinement than criminals whose conditions of confinement are designed to punish.'" Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 931-32 (9th Cir. 2004) ( quoting Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 322 (1982)). Treatment is ...

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