United States District Court, E.D. California
TRADELL M. DIXON, Plaintiff,
M. ARMAS, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT
DEFENDANT ARMAS'S MOTION TO DISMISS BE GRANTED (ECF NO.
19) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE DAYS .
M. Dixon (“Plaintiff”) is a former state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The case now proceeds on Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint (“FAC”), which was filed on
January 14, 2015. (ECF No. 9).
screening Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, the Court
found that Plaintiff stated a cognizable claim against
Defendant Armas for failure to protect Plaintiff and against
Defendants Flippo and Triesch for inadequate medical care in
violation of the Eighth Amendment, but stated no other
cognizable claim. (ECF Nos. 12, 15, & 18).
to the Court upon screening, approximately two years before
filing the instant case, Plaintiff filed a case on August 11,
2011, which was assigned to Magistrate Judge Dennis L.
Beck. Dixon v. Harrington, E.D. Cal.
No. 1:11-cv-01323-DLB. In that prior case, Plaintiff
similarly alleged that he suffered injuries stemming from an
altercation with another inmate on July 7, 2010, which was
the result of Defendant Doe #1's failure to protect
Plaintiff. Dixon v. Harrington, E.D. Cal. No.
1:11-cv-01323-DLB, ECF No. 1. On January 2, 2013, Judge Beck
dismissed the case with prejudice for failure to state a
claim. Dixon v. Harrington, E.D. Cal. No.
1:11-cv-01323-DLB, ECF No. 12. Less than a month after the
dismissal, Plaintiff filed the instant case. (ECF No. 1). As
discussed more below, although Defendant Armas was not
identified at that time only as Defendant Doe #1, the prior
complaint concerns the same incident, defendant and claims.
case now before the Court, on November 18, 2016, Defendant
Armas filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, arguing that
Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Armas is barred by
the doctrines of claim preclusion and judicial estoppel. (ECF
No. 19-1, p. 1). On March 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed his
opposition to the motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 39). On March
14, 2017, Defendant Armas filed his reply to Plaintiff's
opposition to the motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 40).
the Court finds that Plaintiff's claim against Defendant
Armas is barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion, the
Court recommends granting Defendant Armas's motion to
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint in the Present
was an inmate in the custody of the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) at Kern
Valley State Prison (“KVSP”). Plaintiff's
allegations stem from conduct that occurred while Plaintiff
was incarcerated at KVSP. Plaintiff names as defendants Mauro
Armas, a correctional counselor at KVSP; Elizabeth S. Flippo,
a correctional officer at KVSP; and Carleen M. Triesch, a
supervising registered nurse at KVSP. Plaintiff's factual
allegations in his First Amended Complaint are as follows:
of 2009, a known and documented enemy of Plaintiff, referred
to as Inmate Slack, was transferred to KVSP. The prison's
unit classification committee assembled and identified Inmate
Slack (“Slack”) as an enemy of the Plaintiff.
(First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 9, ¶ 13).
to Plaintiff, documented enemies must be removed from the
institution unless the inmate previously in the institution
agrees to sign off on enemy documentation. Defendant Armas
contacted Plaintiff and asked him to sign off on enemy
documentation but Plaintiff refused, explaining to Defendant
Armas that he feared for his life and safety. (Id.
¶ 14). Plaintiff received a note from Slack stating
“we are gonna go heads up . . . stop dodging me . . .
when I catch ya I'm gonna lay your ass out on the
yard.” (Id.). Plaintiff handed this note to
Defendant Armas who responded that “he's ‘an
inmate, you deal with it.'” (Id.). When
Plaintiff again refused to sign off on the enemy
documentation, Armas told Plaintiff “go lock it up to
your cell!” (Id. ¶ 16).
Armas housed the enemy at the same institution as Plaintiff.
Armas falsely told Plaintiff that Slack would be transferred
out of the institution, but in fact did not do so.
to the FAC, Slack subsequently attacked Plaintiff. Following
the attack, Plaintiff was pepper-sprayed by prison officials,
placed in a cage, and then escorted across the yard on
“scorching hot asphalt while barefoot.”
(Id. ¶ 20.)
undersigned judge issued Findings and Recommendations that
the action proceed only against Defendant Armas for failure
to protect and against defendants Flippo and Triesch for
inadequate medical care, under the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No.
15, pg. 2). On September 19, 2016, the District Court adopted
the findings and recommendations issued on July 25, 2016, in
full. (ECF No. 18, pg. 2).