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Stafford, v. Kramer

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 24, 2017

WILLIAM STAFFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
NORM KRAMER,, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT THIS CASE BE DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF No. 12.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

          GARY S. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         William Stafford (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On January 8, 2015, Plaintiff and a co-plaintiff, Lamar Johnson, filed the Complaint commencing this action. (ECF No. 1.) On September 2, 2015, the court severed the plaintiffs' claims and dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff is now the sole plaintiff in this case.

         On September 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 10.) On June 24, 2016, the court dismissed the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (ECF No. 11.)

         On July 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, which is now before the court for screening. (ECF No. 12.)

         II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         The in forma pauperis statute provides that “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). 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). “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. 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, 1949 (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. 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)).

         III. SUMMARY OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is civilly detained under the Sexually Violent Predator Act at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California, in the custody of the California Department of State Hospitals (CDSH), where the events at issue in the Second Amended Complaint allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants Pam Ahlin (Executive Director), Audrey King (Executive Director of Hospital), Cliff Allenby (ex-Executive Director of CDSH), Stephen Mayberg (ex-Executive Director of CDSH), Jerry Brown (Governor of California), and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors (collectively, “Defendants”). Plaintiff makes the following allegations.

         Plaintiff, an African-American male, has resided at CSH since 2004. He is infected with the disease known as Valley Fever.

         Defendant Pam Ahlin is and was the Executive Director of CSH, and she is now the Executive Director of CDSH. At all times relevant to Plaintiff's complaint, defendant Ahlin was in the seat of authority in Sacramento.

         Defendant Audrey King is the Executive Director of CSH, and she was the Director when Plaintiff contracted Valley Fever. Under her administration, there have never been any measures taken to protect Blacks.

         Defendant Cliff Allenby is and was the Executive Director of CDSH, headquartered in Sacramento. At all times relevant to the Complaint, he was in the seat of authority in Sacramento. He cannot assert that he was unaware of the hazardous nature of Valley Fever in the soil, because the risk factors can be found in the Infection Control Manual No. 3.5.

         Defendant Stephen Mayberg is and was the Executive Director of CDSH. There have been no medical or safety steps taken to protect Plaintiff from contracting Valley Fever. There is scientific and medical information in the Infection Control Manual No. 3.5. Mayberg deliberately overlooked the warning signs of the lethal disease in the soil.

         Defendant Jerry Brown is the Governor of California, with the authority to recommend changes to a facility if there is a threat to those individuals involuntarily held there. He knew of the dangerous nature of Valley Fever spores in the soil where CSH was built, from information from Pleasant Valley State Prison. He deliberately ignored the conditions at CSH because the individuals there were civil detainees and not prisoners.

         Defendant Fresno County Board of Supervisors (the Board) is a branch of government with authority to approve building or excavation of land in Fresno County. The Board managed all the property used for the construction and operation of CSH. The Board was aware of the lethal threat of Valley Fever because of scientific research brought to the Board's attention. The Board failed to institute necessary precautions ...


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