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Grizzle v. County of San Diego

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 3, 2018

ELLIOT SCOTT GRIZZLE, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, et al. Defendants.

          ORDER (1) ADOPTINGINPART REPORTAND RECOMMENDATION;(2) GRANTINGINPARTAND DENYINGINPARTDEFENDANTS' MOTIONTODISMISS (ECF NOS. 55, 63)

          HON. JANIS L. SAMMARTINO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Elliot Scott Grizzle's Complaint, (“Compl., ” ECF No. 1). Certain Defendants[1] have moved to dismiss the Complaint, (“MTD, ” ECF No. 55). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, (“Opp'n, ” ECF No. 59) and Moving Defendants' Reply in Support of the Motion, (“Reply, ” ECF No. 60). Magistrate Judge Peter C. Lewis has issued a Report and Recommendation regarding the Motion, (“R&R, ” ECF No. 63), to which Plaintiff has filed an Objection (“Obj., ” ECF No. 68.), and to which Moving Defendants have filed a Reply, [2](“Reply R&R, ” ECF No. 69).

         Having considered the Parties' arguments and the law, as well as all supporting documents, the Court rules as follows.

         BACKGROUND

         Judge Peter C. Lewis's Report and Recommendation contains a complete and accurate recitation of the relevant portions of the factual and procedural histories underlying Plaintiff's Complaint. (See R&R 2-5.)[3] This Order incorporates by reference the background as set forth therein.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district court's duties regarding a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. The district court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made, ” and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673-76 (1980). In the absence of a timely objection, however, “the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note (citing Campbell v. U.S. Dist. Court, 510 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)).

         ANALYSIS

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges (1) Defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, (2) Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to sleep, and (3) Defendants violated his Eight Amendment right to exercise. Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss argues (1) Plaintiff's housing in administrative segregation does not implicate due process protections, (2) Plaintiff's alleged inability to sleep and the timing of the recreation are insufficient to implicate the Eighth Amendment, and (3) the Complaint fails to state any factually plausible claims for personal liability against the Moving Defendants. Judge Lewis recommends this Court grant Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss as to all three claims. Plaintiff has filed an Objection to the R&R, therefore this Court will review, de novo, those parts of the R&R to which Plaintiff objects and will review for clear error the parts of the R&R to which Plaintiff does not object.

         I. Legal Standard

         42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides a cause of action for the “deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws” of the United States. Wyatt v. Cole, 504 U.S. 158, 161 (1992). To state a claim under section 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 color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         II. Placement in Administrative Segregation

         Plaintiff alleges his placement in solitary confinement is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment because he has not received verbal or written notice as to the reason for the confinement. (Compl. 17.) Moving Defendants argue that Plaintiff has no Fourteenth Amendment claim because administrative segregation does not implicate Due Process protections. (MTD 4.)

         Due process requires that “[p]rison officials must hold an informal nonadversary hearing within a reasonable time after the prisoner is segregated” for administrative purposes. Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1100 (9th Cir. 1986), abrogated in part on other grounds by Sandin v. Connor, 515 U.S. 472 (1995). In addition, “prison officials must inform the prisoner of the charges against the prisoner or their reasons for segregation” and “allow the prisoner to present his view.” Id. The prisoner, however, is not entitled to “detailed written notice of charges, representation of counsel or counsel- substitute, an opportunity to present witnesses, or a written decision describing the reasons for placing the prisoner in administrative segregation.” Id. at 1100-01.

         Here, Plaintiff alleges he was immediately placed in administrative segregation upon arrival to San Diego County Jail (“SDCJ”) on August 3, 2016. (Compl. 11.) Plaintiff asked why he was placed in confinement, but was denied an adequate answer. (Id.) On August 4, 2016, Plaintiff filed an inmate request “seeking notice of the reason for plaintiff's placement in solitary confinement.” (Id.) Plaintiff never received a response back. (Id.) After one week in administrative segregation, Plaintiff filled out a grievance form “objecting to his placement in solitary confinement and the complete denial of due process in the form of notice, hearing and periodic review.” (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff never received a response back about the grievance form. (Id.) Plaintiff filled out another grievance form contesting his placement in administrative segregation without due process on March 30, 2017. (Id. at 16.) Plaintiff again received no response to the grievance form. (Id.)

         Moving Defendants argue that Plaintiff's placement in administrative segregation does not implicate Due Process rights. (MTD 4.) Moving Defendants also claim Plaintiff's placement in administrative segregation was within the San Diego Sheriff's authority to manage the jail. (Id. at 4-5.) Judge Lewis found that Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Right to Due Process was violated and recommends the Court deny the Motion to Dismiss for this claim. (R&R 8-9.) Moving Defendants have not objected to Judge Lewis's recommendation.

         Plaintiff should have received (1) an informal, nonadversary hearing within a reasonable time after being placed in administrative segregation for administrative purposes, (2) a written decision describing the reasons for placing him in administrative segregation, and (3) an opportunity to present his view. Toussaint, 801 F.2d at 1100. Plaintiff did not receive any of these recognized rights upon being placed in administrative segregation. The Court finds the denial of an informal, nonadversary hearing within a reasonable time after administrative segregation is a constitutional violation. The Court agrees with Judge Lewis that Plaintiff has sufficient stated a claim with regards to placement in administrative segregation. The Court ADOPTS the R&R as to this claim. Moving Defendants' Motion to Dismiss this claim is DENIED.

         III. Conditions of Incarceration

         In Plaintiff's second and third cause of action, he argues his Eighth Amendment rights were violated because he has been deprived of sleep and outdoor exercise. (Compl. 17.) Plaintiff asserts that he was a pretrial detainee at the time SDCJ committed the alleged violations. (Id. at 11.) Both Moving Defendants and Plaintiff analyze the second and third causes of action under the Eighth Amendment. (Id. at 17; MTD 6.) Judge Lewis analyzes the causes of action under the Fourteenth Amendment. (R&R 9.)

         The Fourteenth Amendment protects the rights of pretrial detainees. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545 (1979). “[U]nder the Due Process Clause, a detainee may not be punished prior to an adjudication of guilt in accordance with due process of law.” Demery v. Arpaio, 378 F.3d 1020, 1029 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Bell, 441 U.S. at 535). During the period of detention prior to trial, a pretrial detainee may be properly subject to the conditions of the jail so long as they do not amount to punishment. Bell, 441 U.S. at 536- 37. “Unless there is evidence of intent to punish, then those conditions or restrictions that are reasonably related to legitimate penological objectives do not violate a pretrial detainee's right to be free from punishment.” Hatter v. Dyer, 154 F.Supp.3d 940, 945 (C.D. Cal. 2015) (citing Block v. Rutherford, 468 U.S. 576, 584 (1984)). “While a pretrial detainee's right to be free from punishment is grounded in the Due Process Clause, courts borrow from Eighth Amendment jurisprudence when analyzing the rights of pretrial detainees.” Pierce v. Cty. of Orange, 526 F.3d 1190, 1205 (9th Cir. 2008). The Court will analyze Plaintiff's second and third causes of action under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         A. ...


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