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Washington v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 12, 2019

Tracye Benaid Washington
v.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, et al.

          PRESENT: THE HONORABLE KENLY KIYA KATO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          CIVIL MINUTES-GENERAL

         Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Sever Without Prejudice [Dkt. 44]

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Tracye Benaid Washington ("Washington"), proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed a First Amended Complaint ("FAC") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. Dkt. 12. Defendants Hanks, Romo-Munoz, Lizama, Pressnell, Hernandez, Rosales, and Wingfield ("Defendants") have filed a Motion to Sever pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 ("Rule 21") seeking to sever the claims against Defendants arising out of an incident on July 25, 2018 from die claims arising out of an incident on November 14, 2018. Dkt. 44. For the reasons set for the below, Defendants' Motion to Sever is DENIED without prejudice.

         II.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 20, 2019, Washington constmctively filed[1] the instant FAC alleging Defendants used excessive force against him on two occasions, July 25, 2018 and November 14, 2018, while he was housed in the Administrative Segregation Unit (“ASU”) at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (“CSP-LAC”).[2] Dkt. 12 at 5.

         As alleged in the FAC, on July 25, 2018, Washington was pushed into his cell as the cell door was closing, causing the door to close on his left leg. Dkt. 12 at 5. When the door reopened, Washington, who was in restraints at the time, stood in the doorway regaining his balance. Id. Defendants Hanks and Romo-Munoz then pulled Washington out of the cell, defendant Lizama struck Washington on the left side of the face, defendants Hanks and Romo-Munoz slammed Washington head first to the “concrete pavement”, and defendants Pressnell, Hernandez, Wingfield, and Lizama began kicking Washington in his back and legs. Id. As a result of the July 25, 2018 incident, Washington was sent to an outside hospital and diagnosed with Acute Flaccid Paralysis. Id. Washington was “discharged two days later confined to a wheelchair partially parlaysed [sic].” Id.

         Washington also alleges on November 14, 2018, defendant Pressnell came to Washington's cell to take him to see his case counselor. Dkt. 12 at 5. Defendant Pressnell opened the food port and Washington placed his hands through the food port to be handcuffed. Id. Defendant Pressnell placed the handcuffs on Washington's hands while still holding onto the chains attached to the handcuffs. Id. Defendant Pressnell told Washington to stand up, but Washington told him he was wheelchair bound and unable to stand. Id. Defendant Pressnell called defendant Sergeant Rosales to the cell. Id. Defendant Rosales approached and was followed by defendants Hernandez, Lizama, and Wingfield. Id. Defendants Pressnell, Rosales, Hernandez, Lizama, and Wingfield “grabbed a portion of the two chains attached to the handcuffs secured around [Washington's] wrist[s] and pulled [him] out of the wheelchair into the celldoor.” Id.

         Washington further alleges at the time of both incidents, he was “in a mental health [ASU]” and “classified as mentally ill” and “mobility impaired.” Dkt. 12 at 6. He alleges the Defendants involved in both incidents were aware of the rules governing the housing and escorting of mentally ill and mobility impaired prisoners, but Defendants violated their own policies and failed to take into consideration Washington's impairments during either incident. Id.

         On November 7, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Motion to Sever seeking to sever the cause of action against defendants Hanks, Romo-Munoz, Lizama, Pressnell, Hernandez, and Wingfield arising out of the incident on July 25, 2018 from the cause of action against defendants Pressnell, Rosales, Hernandez, Lizama, and Wingfield arising out of the incident on November 14, 2018. Dkt. 44.

         III.

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