United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS CERTAIN CLAIMS; AND
DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO
REFILING Re: Dkt. No. 28
HAYWOOD S GILLIAMUR, Jr. United States District Judge
Dkt. No. 28 Plaintiff, a California prisoner currently
incarcerated at California State Prison - Solano
(“CSP-Solano”), filed this pro se civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that
Defendants conducted security/welfare checks at Pelican Bay
State Prison (“PBSP”), where he was previously
housed, in a manner that constituted cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Now pending
before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss and for
summary judgment. Dkt. No. 28. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion to dismiss is GRANTED and the motion for
summary judgment is DENIED without prejudice to refiling.
amended complaint makes the following allegations.
the relevant time period - August 2, 2015 to November 28,
- Plaintiff was housed in the Security Housing Unit
(“SHU”) at PBSP. Dkt. No. 13 (“Am.
Compl.”) at 7.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”) had recently instituted security/welfare
checks in all administrative segregation units
(“ASUs”), psychiatric services units
(“PSUs”), Security Housing Units
(“SHUs”), and condemned housing units. Dkt. No.
13 (“Am. Compl.”) at 3. The security/welfare
checks are conducted every thirty minutes using the Guard One
system, which involves a hand-held “pipe, ” a
metal disc that is attached to each cell door, and a software
program. Id. at 3 and 8. The officer conducting
housing unit rounds is required to touch the end of the pipe
to the disc on the cell door. Id. The pipe records
the time and location of each security/welfare check.
August 2, 2015, at 10:00 p.m., security/welfare checks
commenced in PBSP SHU. Id. The security/welfare
checks cause the following noises, which, according to
Plaintiff, make it impossible for inmates, including
Plaintiff, to sleep. Every thirty minutes an alarm sounds in
the rotunda of each cell block to remind the floor
correctional officers to conduct the security/welfare check.
Am. Compl. at 7. To enter a pod, the floor
correctional officer removes the large metal lock, which is
attached to the pod door by a large metal chain; the removal
causes a loud sound of metal hitting metal. Id. at
8. The tower booth correctional officer then remotely opens
the pod door for the floor correctional officer, causing a
loud mechanical sound as the pod door slams open.
Id. When the correctional officer exits the pod, the
pod door slams shut, causing an “extremely loud”
sound. Id. at 9.
pipe makes a long banging sound when the metal pipe hits the
metal disc. Am. Compl. at 8. This banging sound is
even louder when correctional officers intentionally or
lazily hit the disc harder than is necessary, and this sound
echoes throughout the pods in each cellblock. Id.
Sometimes correctional officers hit the buttons multiple
times if they initially fail to make proper contact.
6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., when the pipe makes contact with the
disc, it emits a high-pitched piercing beep, which can be
heard in neighboring blocks. Am. Compl. at 8. During
the night hours, 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., the pipes do not
emit sound when they make contact with the disc. Id.
During the night hours, some correctional officers will shine
a flashlight into each cell as they conduct the
security/welfare check. Id. It takes correctional
officers approximately ten to fifteen minutes to conduct
security/welfare checks for each pod. Id. at 10.
conducting the security/welfare checks, correctional officers
ascend and descend a thirteen-step metal staircase, causing a
loud stomping sound as the correctional officers' boots
make contact with the metal steps. Am. Compl. at 9. In
addition, correctional officers carry a lot of equipment on
their persons, such as keys, which loudly jingle as they walk
throughout the pod. Id.
the design of PBSP SHU, sounds in each pod/cell block are
amplified and sound as if they are happening inside or in
front of an inmate's cell, regardless of where the sound
is generated. Am. Compl. at 9. During the relevant time
period Plaintiff could clearly hear all the noise generated
by the security/welfare checks, including the sound of the
five other pod doors in his block slamming open and closed;
the noise generated by the pipe being deployed in other pods;
and the opening and closing of his block's front door.
to the security/welfare checks, the pod door opened and
closed thirteen to fourteen times within a 24-hour period,
and only four of those times at night. Am. Compl. at 10.
Since the security/welfare checks commenced, the pod doors
open and close forty-eight times a day, and correctional
officers ascend and descend the stairs forty-eight more times
than before. Id. at 9.
the relevant time period, the “excessive and loud
noise” created by the security/welfare checks lasted
for ten to fifteen minutes every half hour, twenty-four hours
a day, seven days a week. Am. Compl. at 10. The noise
prevented Plaintiff from sleeping longer than thirty minutes,
day or night, and caused him mental and physical suffering,
including dizzy spells, severe headaches, body pains,
depression, and stress. Am. Compl. at 10.
has named as defendants the correctional officers who
conducted the security/welfare checks in a manner that
exacerbated the noise, such as by unnecessarily and
intentionally hitting the metal disc harder than necessary,
stomping up the stairs, letting their keys jingle loudly,
flashing their flashlight in his face, and making the pod
door open and close louder than normal. Am. Compl. at 11-13.
Plaintiff has also named as defendants the correctional
officers who reviewed and rejected his requests that ...