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Perez v. Moore

United States District Court, N.D. California

August 30, 2019

MATTHEW R. PEREZ, Plaintiff,
E. MOORE, et al., Defendants.



         In this pro se prisoner's civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Matthew Perez claims that he was subjected to an unreasonable search of his body by the defendants in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Defendant Dr. Bass moves to dismiss the complaint with respect to his alleged involvement in the search of Perez. For the reasons below, the court will dismiss Perez's claims against Dr. Bass and grant leave to file an amended complaint.


         A. Plaintiff's Allegations

         The complaint alleges the following:

         On July 31, 2016, Matthew Perez was suspected of having obtained contraband from his girlfriend through a contact visit at Salinas Valley State Prison. After being placed on contraband watch for two days, Perez collapsed in the shower on the morning of August 2, 2019, allegedly because of the conditions of his contraband watch. Perez was taken to the correctional treatment center where he was given a shot of Narcan for a drug overdose, though Perez stated that his symptoms were not a result of an overdose. Perez was then transferred by ambulance to Natividad Medical Center, treated, and returned to Salinas Valley the next day.

         On August 5, 2019, Perez refused investigative service unit (ISU) Lt. Moore's request to submit to x-rays at the correctional treatment center. Lt. Moore then told Perez that a search warrant would be obtained. At about 5:12 p.m. the same day, Perez was taken to Natividad Medical Center.

         At Natividad for the second time, Perez was dragged by ISU Officers Peffley and Salgado into the emergency room and strapped to a gurney by the ISU Officers under the supervision of Lt. Moore. X-rays and CT-scans were then performed against Perez's wishes and sent to Dr. Jeffrey Bass for review. Docket No. 1 at 17-18.

         About ten minutes later, Nurse Clement[1] attempted to give Perez an IV in his arm. The needle stick was painful, and it took her 3-4 attempts to succeed. Nurse Clement appeared to be indifferent to Perez's pain throughout the procedure, stating that she had heard Perez had “done a lot worse to [himself].” Docket No. 1 at 18.

         About twenty-five minutes later, Dr. Bass talked to Lt. Moore and said that in the x-rays he saw “‘five foreign bodies' in the plaintiff's ‘anal cavity' that were ‘unobstructed' and ‘would be able to come out on [] their own.'” Docket No. 1 at 19:1-8. Dr. Bass refused the request of Lt. Moore to physically remove the objects due to medical risks, even though Lt. Moore said he had a search warrant that authorized the removal of the foreign bodies. Before he left, Dr. Bass prescribed a laxative to “let nature take its course” and the objects would “come out naturally.” Id. at 20.

         About fifteen minutes later, Nurse Clement entered the room with large containers of laxatives and began pouring the liquid into Perez's mouth, telling him he needed to continue drinking the laxative, cup by cup, until all the dose was gone. When he said he was not ready for more after the first cup, the nurse left and returned a few minutes later to administer another cup; this process was repeated at least seven times in ten minutes. Eventually, Perez said he could drink no more without throwing up. When the nurse left, the sleep-deprived Perez tried to close his eyes, but ISU Officer Peffley yelled at him to keep him awake.

         Nurse Clement returned to see what the noise was about and gave the laxative to ISU Officer Peffley to administer to Perez. ISU Officer Peffley then “began forcibly pouring the laxative into the plaintiff's mouth until the plaintiff began coughing and choking on the liquid.” Peffley did this 6-7 times. Docket No. 1 at 22.

         In the early morning hours of August 6, 2019, Lt. Moore advised his officers that the hospital was not going to admit Perez overnight and that he would need to be taken back to Salinas Valley. Lt. Moore also learned, however, that the chief medical officer at Salinas Valley would not allow Perez back to the prison in his current condition. Lt. Moore then spoke with Nurse Clement.

         After speaking with Lt. Moore, Nurse Clement came into Perez's room and told Perez that she would administer enemas to him. Perez protested and requested to call the doctor, but Nurse Clement refused. ISU Officers Salgado and Peffley then grabbed Perez, pulled off his clothes, and bent him over the table while Nurse Clement administered enemas without lubrication. This tore Perez's anus and caused it to bleed. The enemas and subsequent bowel movements were performed in front of a room full of officers, some ...

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