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Rials v. Days

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 28, 2017

JAMES ALEXANDER RIALS, Plaintiff,
v.
A. DAYS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”) in Soledad, California, filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order. His complaint is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Complaint

         Prior to Plaintiff being housed in cell D1-103, Sgts. Days and Garcia, and Officer Torres and Chin were aware of the unsanitary conditions in cell D1-103, and were aware that these conditions posed a risk to inmate health and safety. Dkt. No. 1 at 5.

         On June 16, 2016, when Plaintiff was first escorted to cell D1-103 by Officer Torres and Chin, he noticed that standing water covered the entire cell floor. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. Plaintiff informed Officers Torres and Chin of the standing water, and they responded that a work order would be put in to fix the problem. Id. Officer Chin returned ten minutes later with a cotton blanket and instructed Plaintiff to use the blanket to keep the water in the cell. Id.

         From June 16, 2016 to June 21, 2016, cell D1-103 was flooded and did not contain a working toilet, which subjected Plaintiff to constant and close exposure to his own accumulated urine and feces. Dkt. No. 1 at 4. During this time period, Plaintiff repeatedly asked Sgts. Days and Garcia, and Officers Torres, Chin, Machuca, Cortina, and Costillo to address the unsanitary conditions in his cell. Id.

         On June 21, 2016, when Officer Cortina was passing out the evening meal, Officer Cortina inquired about the smell coming from Plaintiff's cell. Dkt. No. 1 at 4‒5. Plaintiff replied that the smell was caused by the stagnant water covering his cell floor and by the accumulated excrement in his toilet. Id. Plaintiff asked Officer Cortina to contact a plumber. Id. Officer Cortina left and returned fifteen minutes later with a five gallon bucket of water and instructed Plaintiff to pour the water rapidly into the toilet which induced a manual flush. Id. at 5. Although this manual flush did not completely clear the toilet, it alleviated the smell. Id. That same day, ...


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