United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THE
DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANT WARDEN PAUL
COPENHAVER [ECF NO. 16].
Shannon Williams, a prisoner in the custody of the Federal
Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) proceeding pro se filed
the instant civil rights action pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) on
June 2, 2016. Plaintiff declined United States Magistrate
Judge jurisdiction; therefore, this action was referred to
the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and
Local Rule 302.
before the Court is Plaintiff's first amended complaint,
filed November 9, 2016.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous
or malicious, ” that “fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted, ” or that “seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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 (2009) (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant
personally participated in the deprivation of his rights.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-677; Simmons v. Navajo
County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-1021 (9th Cir. 2010).
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled
to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor, but the pleading standard is
now higher, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121
(9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted), and 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 678-79;
Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th
Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts
that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility
standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572
F.3d at 969.
names officer Anthony Verna, officer Brown, and Warden Paul
Copenhaver, as Defendants.
29, 2014, at approximately 3:20 p.m., Defendants Brown and
Verna conducted a surprise cell raise at the direction of
Warden Copenhaver. Defendant Brown demanded that Plaintiff
submit to a visual strip search to which Plaintiff
complained. After the search was conducted and it was clear
that Plaintiff was not in possession of any contraband,
Defendant Brown subjected Plaintiff to a second visual strip
search. Plaintiff complained to several different staff
members that officers Brown and Verna were embarrassing him
and unnecessarily subjecting him to another visual strip
search, after the first search did not reveal any contraband.
was subjected to two more strip searches in his cell where he
was required to remove his underwear and bend over and spread
his butt checks. After Plaintiff complained that officers
Brown and Verna were violating policy, they did not allow him
to put his clothing on and instead handcuffed him and made
him walk in his underwear across the entire unit. As
Plaintiff was being escorted through the housing units in
only his underwear, several inmates were laughing and
whistling at Plaintiff. Plaintiff eventually yelled that he
wanted to file a grievance because officers Brown and Verna
were sexually embarrassing him because he did not have any
drugs on his person.
had just undergone surgery on his testicles, and the front of
his underwear was stained with blood and fluid drainage.
Plaintiff's testicles were swollen from the surgery.
After officer Ochoa informed officer Brown that Plaintiff had
surgery on his testicles which caused the swelling, officer
Brown responded that Plaintiff could “get dressed when
you give us some drugs.”
female staff members observed Plaintiff as he walked through
the prison in only his underwear. Upon arriving at the
lieutenant's complex, lieutenant Zaragoza asked officer
Verna “[w]ho brought him down here dressed like this?
Did Brown do this? Plaintiff answered, “[t]hey both
did. And I want to file a grievance right now for them trying
to sexually embarrass me and retaliate against me for
complaining and not having no [sic] drugs, in my cell.”
Plaintiff requested that lieutenant Zaragoza allow him to get
dressed, and Zaragoza responded “I'm going to take
you down to R&D strip you out, get you some boxers and if
you don[']t have anything, I'm sending you back to
your housing unit.” Zaragoza and Verna both conducted a
visual strip search of Plaintiff and found no contraband.
was subsequently un-handcuffed and provided a pair of socks,
a shirt and a pair of boxers to place over Plaintiff's
briefs. Zaragosa informed Plaintiff that he was going to be
released back to his housing unit. However, officer Brown
(who was previously absent), showed up at R&D, and
Zaragoza told Brown, “[w]e just stripped him out he
does not have anything, I'm sending him back to the
yard.” Brown, while smiling, answered back,
“I'm telling you Lt. this ‘fucker' has
big balls, he has something.” Lieutenant Zaragosa
responded, “I know how to conduct a strip search, he
does not have anything. I am absolutely positive of
then told Zaragosa, “I am telling you they are
tripping, they know I did not have nothing they walked me
over here handcuffed, in just my draws after they stripped me
out like three times in the unit, with six other officers
ain[']t nobody saying I had shit but him [Brown] and
Verna. This is bullshit I want you to write both of them up
for this.” Lieutenant Zaragosa shook his head and told
Brown and Verna “release him back to his unit, ”
and walked out of the R&D area.
Zaragosa left, Brown stated “I don[']t care what
the Lt. says, I want you to stand on this machine, if you
refuse you['re] going to the SHU.” Officer Verna
then stated, “[g]o ahead and refuse so I can write it
up, one way or another you going to the SHU today.”
After waiting about 20 minutes for the machine to start
programming, officer Brown stated, “it does not look
like we can get it started.” Immediately thereafter,
Plaintiff was placed back in handcuffs and transported back
to the lieutenant's complex. Upon arrival, lieutenant
Zaragosa stated, “I thought I told you two to release
him back to his unit, why did you bring him back up here
handcuffed? What did you do Williams I told you I was sending
you back?” Plaintiff responded, “I did not do
shit! They mad [sic] cause I ain[']t have nothing, and
brought me back for nothing!”
was placed in a holding cell, and after forty-five minutes to
an hour requested to use the restroom, which was denied by
officer Verna. After repeated requests to use the restroom,
officer Verna told Plaintiff “tell us who has some
drugs and I'll let you use the restroom.” Plaintiff
eventually urinated on himself, and officer Verna laughed.
Officer Verna then told officer Brown “lets get him for
refusing a UA.” Officer Brown told Plaintiff
“you['re] going to the SHU for a 100 series
refusing a UA test.” Plaintiff immediately requested to
see lieutenant Zaragosa and yelled that they were
“trying to retaliate and cover-up the bullshit yall
[sic] did to me. I ain[']t refused no piss test, if that
was the case I would not be in handcuffs.” Officers
Brown and Verna then transported Plaintiff to the SHU for
refusing a UA test. Plaintiff told officer Verna,