Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Perkins v. Brazelton

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 11, 2019

RANDY PERKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
PAUL D. BRAZELTON, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, DISMISSING CASE, WITH PREJUDICE, ON QUALIFIED IMMUNITY GROUNDS (DOC. NOS. 18, 21)

         Plaintiff Randy Perkins is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         Plaintiff alleges that defendants exhibited deliberate indifference to his high risk of contracting Valley Fever while he was incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2010. (Doc. No. 17 at 3.) On June 6, 2018, the assigned magistrate judge entered findings and recommendations, recommending that this case be dismissed for the failure to state a cognizable claim. (Doc. No. 18.) The findings and recommendations were served on plaintiff and contained notice that any objections thereto were to be filed within fourteen (14) days after service. (Id. at 7.) After receiving an extension of time in which to do so, plaintiff filed his objections on July 26, 2018. (Doc. No. 21.)

         In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 304, the undersigned has conducted a de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, the undersigned concludes the findings and recommendations are supported by the record and proper analysis.

         Plaintiff's objection to the pending findings and recommendations is based primarily on his assertion that he has not been granted the opportunity to conduct even limited discovery as of yet in this action, and that “his allegations are at least sufficient enough on their face” to warrant “depositions, or their functional-equivalent by means of limited interrogatories, ” to determine whether “a serious injustice has been perpetrated, or whether the plaintiff is just ‘grasping at straws,' so-to-speak.” (Doc. No. 21 at 3-4).

         The court has considered plaintiff's objection. However, his Eighth Amendment claim has now been foreclosed by the Ninth Circuit's recent decision in Hines v. Youseff, 914 F.3d 1218 (9th Cir. 2019), cert. denied sub nom. Smith v. Schwarzenegger, No. 18-1590, 2019 WL 4921481 (U.S. Oct. 7, 2019). In that case, a consolidated appeal, the plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of housing inmates in a hyperendemic area for Valley Fever under the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Hines, 914 F.3d at 1226-27. The Ninth Circuit defined the Eighth Amendment right at issue in the consolidated appeals before it as “the right to be free from heightened exposure to Valley Fever spores” and concluded that such a constitutional right was not clearly established at the time the defendant officials acted.[1] Id. at 1228-30.

         The undersigned pauses to note that in Hines, the Ninth Circuit did not decide whether exposing inmates to a heightened risk of Valley Fever violates or could ever violate the Eighth Amendment. Id. at 1229 (“The courts below did not decide whether exposing inmates to a heightened risk of Valley Fever violates the Eighth Amendment. Neither do we.”).[2] Instead, the Ninth Circuit proceeded “straight to the second prong of the qualified immunity analysis: whether a right to not face a heightened risk was ‘clearly established' at the time” the officials in the cases before the court had acted. Id.[3]

         As a result, plaintiff's objections do not provide a basis for the court to depart from the qualified immunity analysis set forth in Hines. This court is bound by the Ninth Circuit's holding that it was not clearly established during the time period at issue in this case that it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment to expose prisoners to a heightened risk of contracting Valley Fever, notwithstanding a January 2007 report issued by the California Department of Health Services and an April 2012 report by the California prison system's own healthcare services. The court in Hines considered those same reports, see 914 F.3d at 1224-25, and still determined that, in the cases before it, there was no clearly established constitutional right not to be exposed to a heightened risk of contracting Valley Fever by assignment to a prison experiencing an outbreak of the disease.[4]

         Because plaintiff's complaint and objections provide no basis upon which to distinguish the Ninth Circuit's binding decision in Hines or the qualified immunity analysis set forth therein, the undersigned concludes that plaintiff's claims must be dismissed. For these reasons:

         1. The findings and recommendations issued on June 6, 2018 (Doc. No. 18) are adopted in full;

         2. In keeping with the Ninth Circuit's decision in Hines, defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim based on his exposure to Valley Fever;

         3. The case is dismissed with prejudice on qualified immunity grounds; and

         4. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close the case.

         IT IS ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.