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Reese v. Llamas

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 12, 2017

P. LLAMAS, Acting Captain,, Defendants.



         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         Plaintiff Clarence E. Reese (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on September 1, 2015 and without the Court screening the original complaint, filed a first amended complaint on March 25, 2016. The Court screened the first amended complaint and granted leave to amend. Plaintiff's second amended complaint, filed on January 6, 2017, is currently before the Court for screening.

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently housed at Pelican Bay State Prison. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred at Corcoran State Prison. Plaintiff names Acting Captain P. Llamas, Sgt. Sarah Leon and Ric Pavich, Maintenance Engineer, as defendants. Plaintiff alleges as follows: Plaintiff alleges that while he was housed in solitary confinement between May 18, 2015 and July 25, 2015, Plaintiff suffered a deprivation of hot/warm water in his cell and shower area. (ECF No. 13, p. 7.) Plaintiff did not have water at the required temperature to sanitize his clothes, eating utensils, cell/living area and body. Plaintiff alleges he informed Defendant Llamas of his living condition through a CDCR 22 form, by his CDCR 602 and on June 6, 2015, he spoke personally to Defendant Llamas and informed her of his health issues due to lack of hot/war running water. He said he needed to be moved to a cell with hot/war running water by Defendant Llamas told him to “stop crying and be glad its summer.” Plaintiff alleges that he told Defendant Leon of Plaintiff's living conditions numerous times between May 18, 2015 and July 25, 2015 as Defendant escorted Plaintiff to yard. (ECF NO. 14, ¶5.) Defendant Leon refused to reassign Plaintiff. Plaintiff was forced to live with unsanitized utensils and bowls, shower in unsanitary area, and “live in human waste.” Defendants did not “redline” his cell and they had the “authority to correct Plaintiff's living conditions” and knew of the conditions yet refused to take reasonable corrective steps. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference and also negligently under state law. Plaintiff alleges he complied with California Government Claims Act. In declarations attached as Exhibits to the complaint, other inmates state that they saw Plaintiff with rashes and other conditions which were not present before the water was limited.

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and declaratory judgment that his rights were violated.

         III. Discussion

         A. Eighth Amendment

         To constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eight Amendment, prison conditions must involve “the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). A prisoner's claim does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation unless (1) “the prison official deprived the prisoner of the ‘minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, '” and (2) “the prison official ‘acted with deliberate indifference in doing so.'” Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted)). A prison official does not act in a deliberately indifferent manner unless the official “knows of and disregards and excessive risk to inmate health or safety.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); See, e.g., Hearns v. Terhune, 413 F.3d 1036, 1042-43 (9th Cir. 2005) (holding that plaintiff's allegation that he was confined in administrative segregation for nine months, during which time he was deprived of clean running water, was sufficient to make out a conditions of confinement claim); see Preayer v. Ryan, 2016 WL 5341177 (D.Ariz 2016) (lack of running water for two months sufficient to satisfy the objective component of the deliberate indifferent analysis).

         Here, Plaintiff alleges that he was held in a solitary cell without running hot/warm water for approximately two months, and could not properly sanitize clothes, eating utensils, cell/living area and body. This is sufficient to allege that ...

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