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West v. Hulbert

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 19, 2017

MACK A. WEST, Jr, Plaintiff,
v.
D. HULBERT, et al., Defendants.

         FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION THAT PLAINTIFF PROCEED ONLY ON EIGHTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS AGAINST C/O ORNALES AND JANE DOE #1 IN THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT AND THAT C/O HULBERT AND ALL CLAIMS AGAINST HIM BE DISMISSED (DOC. 18) 21-DAY DEADLINE

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. FINDINGS

         A. Background

         Plaintiff seeks to proceed on claims of failure to protect and deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment based on circumstances surrounding an event where he attempted to commit suicide. Plaintiff has stated a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant C/O Ornales and Jane Doe #1, but his allegations against Defendant Hulbert should be dismissed.[1]

         B. Screening Requirement

         The 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, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek 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)(i)-(iii). If an action is dismissed on one of these three basis, a strike is imposed per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). An inmate who has had three or more prior actions or appeals dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and has not alleged imminent danger of serious physical injury does not qualify to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); Richey v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1201, 1208 (9th Cir. 2015).

         C. Summary of the Second Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred while he was housed at the Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility (SATF) in Corcoran, California. Plaintiff names Correctional Officers D. Hulbert and Ornales, and Jane Doe #1 as defendants in the Second Amended Complaint and seeks monetary damages.

         Plaintiff alleges that on January 4, 2012, he became suicidal and was housed on “Suicide-Watch in Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB).” (Doc. 18, p. 8.) There is a policy that prohibits MHCB inmates from possessing any metal items for their own safety. (Id.) All MHCB cells are monitored by video. (Id., p. 9.) There are cameras inside each MHCB cell that relay video feeds to monitors in the staff area. (Id.)

         On January 9, 2012, the mental health physician gave an order which allowed Plaintiff to receive his legal mail. (Doc. 18, p. 8.) That same day, C/O Hulbert delivered a small box of legal mail to Plaintiff. (Id., pp. 8-9.) Before C/O Hulbert handed the box to Plaintiff, C/O Hulbert lifted the top off of it and looked at the top legal document which “contained a metal bind.” (Id.) C/O Hulbert thereafter handed the small box of legal mail to Plaintiff without inspecting and screening it for dangerous contraband, or prohibited materials. (Id.)

         Before breakfast on January 12, 2012, while still on suicide watch, Plaintiff began using the metal item to cut his wrist. (Id., p. 9.) During the several hours that Plaintiff was cutting his wrist, C/O Ornales and Jane Doe #1 failed to properly watch the screen so as to observe Plaintiff cutting his wrist. (Id.) They also failed to properly conduct suicide precaution checks every 15 to 30 minutes as policy required. (Id.) Further, when C/O Ornales and Jane Doe #1 passed out breakfast and lunch that day, they failed to observe the blood on Plaintiff's hands and left wrist from cutting his left wrist. (Id., pp. 9-10.) Plaintiff went back to cutting his wrist after each of these meals was served. (Id., p. 10.) It was not until after lunch, when C/O Ornales came to hand-cuff and escort Plaintiff to a hearing that C/O Ornales noticed the blood and activated his alarm. (Id.) Plaintiff was thereafter immediately sent to the triage treatment area where stitches were placed and was subsequently placed in a safety cell. (Id.)

         Plaintiff has stated a cognizable claim under the Eighth Amendment against C/O Ornales and Jane Doe #1 upon which he should be allowed to proceed, but his allegations against C/O Hulbert are not cognizable and should be dismissed.

         D. Pleadin ...


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