United States District Court, E.D. California
KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STALES MAGISLRALE JUDGE
is a state prisoner, proceeding pro se. Plaintiff seeks
relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and has requested
leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. This proceeding was referred to this court by
Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
has consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned. (ECF
submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in
forma pauperis will be granted.
is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for
this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By
this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial
filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the
Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated
to make monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding
month's income credited to plaintiff's trust account.
These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to
the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in
plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee
is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
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 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. §
is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221,
1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a
claim as frivolous when it is based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. The
critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however
inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis.
See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir.
1989), superseded by statute as stated in Lopez
v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000)
(“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims
which are based on indisputably meritless legal theories or
whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”);
Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227.
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“requires only ‘a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
' in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). In order to survive dismissal for
failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. at 555. However, “[s]pecific
facts are not necessary; the statement [of facts] 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)
(quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555, citations
and internal quotations marks omitted). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question,
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93, and construe the pleading
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974), overruled on other
grounds, Davis v. Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984).
as defendants are Warden T. Virga, Warden J. Macomber,
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”), CDCR Director, Sacramento Institutional
Classification Committee (“Sac ICC”), T.
Hinrichs, J. Lynch, S. Schmidt, M. Rustad. R. Heise, C. Hurd
and B. Strohmaier. All of the individually named defendants
are located at California State Prison-Sacramento
(“CSP-Sac”). Plaintiff is presently housed at
California State Prison-Lancaster (“Lancaster”).
alleges that he has been denied single cell housing, and
adequate mental health treatment, during two different
periods of incarceration at CSP-Sac, i.e., from April 2011 to
July 2016, and from February 24, 2017 to March 17, 2017.
Plaintiff also alleges that during the first period of
incarceration, he was improperly housed in cells that
contained side by side by beds which aggravated his mental
health problems. The undersigned sets forth plaintiff's
alleges that when he was first incarcerated 26 years ago, he
had no history of mental or psychiatric problems. During his
incarceration, plaintiff witnessed many violent acts which
caused him to develop depression. In 2004, a prison clinician
recommended that plaintiff receive single cell status. Prison
officials denied this request because plaintiff had no
history of in cell violence or predatory behavior. After the
request for single cell status was denied, plaintiff appears
to claim that his mental health deteriorated and he attempted
April 22, 2011, plaintiff was transferred to CSP-Sac. Due to
disabilities, plaintiff required housing in a lower tier cell
in a lower bed. Plaintiff was ultimately moved to a cell that
had side by side beds, which would “become a detriment
to [plaintiff's] mental capacity.” Plaintiff tried
to be excluded from this type of housing arrangement, but his
requests were denied. Plaintiff refused such housing and was
placed in administrative segregation (“ad seg”).
alleges that defendant Warden Virga allowed plaintiff to be
housed in the side by side beds even though he knew that it
would harm plaintiff's mental health. On December 19,
2011, plaintiff volunteered to have his lower tier
accommodation chrono rescinded so that he would not have to
be in a cell with side by side beds.
alleges that in June 2011, he had a mental breakdown and was
placed in CSP-Sac's Crisis Treatment Center
(“CTC”). Plaintiff was moved to ad seg after
being discharged from CTC. Following his transfer to ad seg,
prison officials still tried to house him with cellmates.
Plaintiff received rules violation reports for refusing
cellmates. Because prison officials refused to grant him
single cell status, plaintiff refused to leave ad seg.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Macomber
“confirmed” the rules violation report.
alleges that defendant Rustad wrongly charged him with
refusing a cellmate, i.e., inmate Williams. Plaintiff alleges
that he and inmate Williams should not have been housed
together because they both required the bottom bunk due to
alleges that on May 28, 2014, he received single cell status,
which was later revoked. Plaintiff goes on to allege that a
few years later, defendant Sac ICC refused his request for
single cell status. Plaintiff also claims that he told
defendant Sac ICC that his mental health needs could not be
met at a Level IV prison. Plaintiff was forcibly escorted to
Facility B on May 2, 2016. Upon his arrival at Facility B,
plaintiff alleges that he told defendant Heise of his mental
health and housing concerns. Plaintiff claims that defendant
Heise wrote a report that falsely stated that plaintiff had
enemy concerns. Plaintiff alleges that on May 17, 2016,
defendant Strohmeier issued plaintiff a rules violation
report for refusing a cellmate.
2016, plaintiff was transferred away from CSP-Sac. In
February 24, 2017, plaintiff was temporarily returned to
CSP-Sac in order to participate in a settlement conference in
case no. 2:13-cv-1021 JAM KJN P. Plaintiff alleges that while
housed at CSP-Sac for the settlement conference, he received
retaliatory treatment. For example, when he arrived at
CSP-Sac on February 24, 2017, he was single celled. However,
on March 2, 2017, the day of the settlement conference,
plaintiff's single cell status was revoked.
alleges that while he was housed in the CSP-Sac ad seg from
February 24, 2017 to March 2, 2017, prison officials refused
to provide him with clothing. Plaintiff only had the paper
jumpsuit, paper boxers, paper t-shirt and hard sole shoes
provided to him at Wasco State Prison. Plaintiff also alleges
that his cell was filthy.
March 3, 2017, plaintiff refused to be moved to a cell with
another inmate. Thereafter, arrangements were made for
plaintiff to be housed in a single cell. After plaintiff
arrived at the building where the single cell was located, he
told defendant Hurd that he was going to file grievances on
this matter. Defendant Hurd and two other officers responded,
“Good luck on that. We run the appeal system.”
Plaintiff filed his grievance on March 5, 2017. Plaintiff
alleges that while housed in the single cell, he was not
provided with proper clothing. Without proper clothing, he
could not attend outside activities, medical appointment or
groups. Plaintiff alleges that his feet bled due to improper
shoes. On March 17, 2017, plaintiff was transferred to
claim one, plaintiff alleges that defendants Virga, Macomber,
Sac ICC and Schmidt violated his Eighth Amendment rights.
outset, the undersigned finds that Sac ICC is not a proper
defendant. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Sac ICC is
not a “person acting under color of state law.”
Accordingly, the Eighth Amendment claim against defendant Sac
ICC is dismissed.
alleges that defendants Virga, Macomber and Schmidt should
have known that the denial of his requests for single cell
status caused him significant physical and mental harm.
than the allegations specifically alleged in support of claim
two, as discussed herein, the complaint contains no specific
allegations against defendant Schmidt. The Civil Rights Act
under which this action was filed provides as follows:
Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States .
. . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or
immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable
to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or
other proper proceeding for redress.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute requires that there be an
actual connection or link between the actions of the
defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered
by plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social
Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978) (“Congress did not
intend § 1983 liability to attach where . . . causation
[is] absent.”); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362
(1976) (no affirmative link between the incidents of police
misconduct and the adoption of any plan or policy
demonstrating their authorization or approval of such
misconduct). “A person ‘subjects' another to
the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning
of § 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates
in another's ...