United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Chad Anthony Galvan, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se
and in forma pauperis with a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Galvan asserts a claim under the Eighth Amendment for
deliberate indifference to safety. The gravamen of
Galvan's claim is that defendants exposed him to faulty
electric hair clippers that shocked and burned him.
the court are (1) defendants' motion for summary judgment
and (2) Galvan's motion to appoint counsel. In their
motion, defendants argue that they could not have been
deliberately indifferent to Galvan's safety because they
did not know of the risk of electrocution that the clippers
posed. Galvan asks the court to appoint counsel on the basis
that his mental disabilities and lack of legal training have
prevented him from properly presenting his case. As discussed
below, the undersigned recommends that (1) defendants'
motion for summary judgment be granted and (2) Galvan's
motion to appoint counsel be denied.
section is based on evidence in the summary judgment record.
Unless otherwise noted, the parties do not dispute the facts
is currently incarcerated at California Men's
Colony-East. He was incarcerated at California Medical
Facility (“CMF”) when the events underlying his
complaint took place. (Compl. at 2, 4 (ECF No. 1).)
15, 2014, Galvan was on the yard of the Psychiatric
Administrative Segregation Unit (“PASU”) at CMF.
(Galvan Dep. 12:19-13:1 (ECF No. 26-8).) Defendant Jones
(“Officer Jones”) was on the yard that day,
working as the “Yard Officer.” (Jones Decl.
¶ 2 (ECF No. 26-7).) Officer Jones was responsible for
escorting inmates to cages where they could groom with
electric clippers. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 6; Galvan
Dep. 13:21-23 (ECF No. 26-8).) Then he set up clippers inside
a grooming cage, which involved running a cord through the
side of the cage and plugging it into an outlet outside of
the cage. (. (Jones Decl. ¶ 8 (ECF No. 26-7).)
Id. ¶ 8.)
Jones declares that the clippers had “something white
on top of [them].” (Id. ¶ 9.) Similarly,
Galvan states in his deposition that the clippers “were
wrapped with a [white] tape, ” and that “the ones
before . . . that were never wrapped.” (Galvan Dep.
12:13-15 (ECF No. 26-8).) Galvan also states that the tape
was “[wrapped up] in the middle of the hair
clippers.” (Id. 16:2-3.)
Jones declares that he “saw nothing wrong or out of
place with the clippers.” (Jones Decl. ¶ 9 (ECF
No. 26-7).) He added that the clippers had “no
exposed wires or damaged cords, ” and “appeared
to be in proper working condition.” (Id.)
Galvan does not contradict these statements in his
deposition. (See Galvan Dep. at 12, 15-16 (ECF No.
Jones plugged in the clippers and walked around the yard,
asking inmates if they wanted to use the clippers. (Jones
Decl. ¶¶ 8, 10 (ECF No. 26-7).) Galvan said that he
needed to use them and Jones gave him the clippers. (Galvan
Dep 15:14-17 (ECF No. 26-8).) Galvan states that he was the
first or second inmate to use the clippers that day.
(Id. 14:24-15:4.) Further, Galvan states that he
does not know if anyone else used the clippers that day.
(Id. 15:5- 7.)
started shaving his face with the clippers, which shocked and
burned him. (Compl. at 14, 16-20 (ECF No. 1); Galvan Dep.
17:2-6 (ECF No. 26-8).) Subsequently, Officer Jones activated
his alarm to indicate a medical emergency and summon medical
staff. (Jones Decl. ¶ 14 (ECF No. 26-7); Galvan Dep.
18:13-20 (ECF No. 26-8).) Officer Jones “collected the
clippers, placed them in a plastic bag, and recorded the
incident in the yard log book.” (Jones Decl. ¶ 15
(ECF No. 26-7).)
staff transported Galvan to an emergency room at CMF, where
he received treatment for his injuries, which included a
facial burn. (Id. ¶ 15; Galvan Dep. at 18-19
(ECF No. 26-8); Compl. at 14 (ECF No. 1).) Galvan also
alleges that he received nerve damage to the right side of
his face. (Id. at 5, 16-19.)
Infante (“Sergeant Infante”) was the “PASU
Sergeant” when the incident happened on July 15, 2014.
(Infante Decl. ¶ 6 (ECF No. 26-6).) The PASU Sergeant
must review the daily inventory log (i.e., yard log book) to
ensure that the designated correctional officer completed it.
(Id. ¶ 4.) However, Infante was on leave from
June 3, 2014 until July 19, 2014. (Id. ¶ 2.)
When he returned, he learned that the clippers had injured
someone and had them disposed of in the “Hot
Trash.” (Id. ¶ 7.) Sergeant Infante
declares that, before the incident, he “was not aware
that the hair clippers had been altered or damaged in any
way.” (Id. ¶ 7.) Galvan disagrees. In his
assessment, Sergeant Infante should have seen that the
clippers were defective because, as PASU Sergeant, he
“overlooks everything that's inside the . . .
yard.” (Galvan Dep. 35:12-16 (ECF No. 26-8).)
Sergeant Infante, defendants Fox (“Warden Fox”)
and Hurley (“Associate Warden Hurley”) declare
that they were “not aware of any hair clippers that
were altered or damaged before [Galvan's]
incident.” (Fox Decl. ¶ 4 (ECF No. 26-4); Hurley
Decl. ¶ 4 (ECF No. 26-5).)
comparison, Galvan states that Warden Fox and Associate
Warden Hurley had no role in providing him with the faulty
clippers other than “overseeing that the policies and
procedures of distribution of the hair clippers are followed
correctly.” (Galvan Dep. 34:22-24 (ECF No. 26-8).)
August 25, 2015, Galvan filed a complaint. (Compl. (ECF No.
1).) When he filed his complaint, Galvan was incarcerated at
California State Prison-Sacramento.
alleges that while incarcerated at CMF, Officer Jones gave
him visibly defective electric clippers that electrocuted and
burned him. (Id. at 3.) Galvan asserts an Eighth
Amendment claim against the following defendants: (1) Warden