United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL
DISMISSAL AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
GONZALEZ ROGERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
James David Williams, a state prisoner currently incarcerated
at the Correctional Training Facility (“CTF”),
filed this pro se civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his rights were violated by CTF
prison officials based on their involvement in
Plaintiff's unclothed body search on June 29, 2016.
Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.
conducting an initial review of the complaint, the Court
determined that, liberally construed, Plaintiff's
allegations were sufficient to state cognizable claims for
the violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment and
issued service on the following named Defendants: California
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”) Secretary Scott Kernan; CTF Warden S.
Hatton; Investigative Services Unit (“ISU”)
Lieutenant V. Khan; ISU Sergeant S. Kelley; ISU Correctional
Officers Z. Brown and Officer S. Patterson; and CTF Appeals
Coordinator J. Truett. Dkt. 7 at 2 (citing Byrd v.
Maricopa Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 629 F.3d 1135,
1142 (9th Cir. 2011) (en banc); Byrd v. Maricopa Cnty.
Bd. of Supervisors, 845 F.3d 919, 922-25 (9th Cir. 2017)
(“Byrd II”)). The Court dismissed his
claims against the Doe Defendants without prejudice to move
to file an amended complaint to add them as named defendants.
Id. at 3 (citing Brass v. County of Los
Angeles, 328 F.3d 1192, 1195-98 (9th Cir. 2003)).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested to do so by adding two named
Defendants to this action: ISU Correctional Sergeant S.
Rodriguez and ISU Correctional Officer R. Salas, who were
also employed by CTF during the time frame at issue.
See Dkts. 16, 17.
served Defendants-Defendants Kernan, Hatton, Khan, Kelley,
Brown, and Patterson-previously filed a motion to dismiss and
motion for summary judgment as to the Eighth Amendment claim.
See Dkt. 14. In an Order dated March 14, 2019, the
Court granted Defendants' motions as to served Defendants
Khan, Kelley, Truett, Brown, and Patterson and as to unserved
Defendants Rodriguez and Salas. See Dkt. 29. In the
same Order, the Court granted Plaintiff leave to amend an
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Kernan and Hatton no
later than twenty-eight days from the filing date of the
March 14, 2019 Order “if Plaintiff believes he can
provide sufficient facts from which it can be inferred that
Defendants Kernan and Hatton are liable under Section
1983.” Id. at 29-30. The Court further noted
as follows: “If Plaintiff fails to do so, Defendants
Kernan and Hatton will remain dismissed and the dismissal
will be without leave to amend and without further order from
the Court.” Id. at 30. The Court notes that
Plaintiff failed to amend his claims as to Defendants Kernan
and Hatton in the time provided, and thus, the claims against
Defendants Kernan and Hatton will remain DISMISSED without
leave to amend and without further order from the Court.
and in a separately-filed Order, the Court found the
complaint stated cognizable claims under the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments, and ordered Defendants Brown,
Patterson, Rodriguez, and Salas (hereinafter
“Defendants”) to file a dispositive motion
thereon. Dkt. 30. Defendants have since filed a motion for
partial dismissal and motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 37.
Plaintiff filed an opposition (dkt. 38), along with a
declaration, exhibits and separate statement of facts (dkts.
38-1, 38-2, 39), and Defendants filed a reply (dkt. 40). Having
read and considered the papers submitted and being fully
informed, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' motion for
partial dismissal and motion for summary judgment as to the
remaining claims under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
time of the events set forth in his complaint, Plaintiff was
a state prisoner who was incarcerated at CTF, which is where
he is still currently incarcerated. See Dkt. 1 at 1.
Also during the time frame at issue, the following remaining
Defendants were employed by the CDCR and CTF, including
remaining Defendants Brown (a male officer) and Patterson (a
female officer) as well as two other male officers,
Defendants Rodriguez and Salas, who have since been served.
following background relating to Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment claim is taken from the Court's March 14, 2019
and January 5, 2018 Orders:
Plaintiff claims that on June 29, 2016, Defendants Brown and
Patterson, along with [Defendants Rodriguez and Salas]
subjected him to “cruel and unusual sexual invasion of
privacy [and] sexual misconduct” when they forced him
to do an “open-public full body strip search . . .
[t]hen a rectum/cavity search.[FN 4]” Dkt. 1 at 3.
Furthermore, Defendant Patterson, who is a female officer,
was present during the search and took “sexually
suggestive photographs” of Plaintiff while he was
partially nude. Id. Plaintiff also claims that
Defendant Brown laughed at him during the cavity search.
Id. at 5. Plaintiff adds that Defendants did not
explain “the purpose of the photos . . . nor what
authorize[d] them” to take such photos. Id.
[FN 4:] Plaintiff had initially alleged that Defendants
ordered him to submit to a “rectum/cavity
search.” Dkt. 1 at 3. However, Defendants clarify that
Plaintiff was not subject to a cavity search, which would
have been conducted in a medical setting under the
supervision of a doctor. See Brown. Decl. ¶ 9;
see also Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3287(b)(5).
In his declaration, Plaintiff again alleges that he was
subjected to a “Cavity Search.” See Pl.
Decl. ¶ 6. In their reply, Defendants argue that
Plaintiff's aforementioned allegation is
“misleading” because the “unclothed body
search was strictly a visual inspection of [Plaintiff's]
body.” Dkt. 27 at 5. Defendants again clarify that no
“cavity search” was performed because such a
search “may only be performed by medical professionals
when there is a need to extricate items concealed in the
inmates' body cavities.” Id. at 6. Nothing
in the record indicates that there was any need to extricate
such items from Plaintiff's body cavity. Plaintiff does
not dispute Defendants' clarification. Therefore, the
Court need not address Plaintiff's allegations relating
to any “rectum/cavity search.”
Dkt. 29 at 1-3 (citing Dkt. 7 at 2) (brackets and footnotes
added). Plaintiff claims that such treatment of inmates has
violated his constitutional rights and that female
correctional officers are still being allowed to take
partially nude photographs of male inmates. Dkt. 1 at 6.
instant pending dispositive motion, the remaining Defendants
have elaborated more on the factual background of
Plaintiff's claim, and the Court includes it as
Defendants' version below.
I. Brown and Salas's Conduct.
Around June 29, 2016, the Investigative Services Unit (ISU)
at [CTF] received a tip that Williams and his cellmate
[inmate Jason Smith]might be in possession of cellular phones,
which prisoners are not allowed to have. (Brown Decl., ECF
No. 14-3, at ¶ 4; Rodriguez Decl. at ¶ 5.) On June
29, 2016, Defendant Brown-who is an ISU officer-arrived at
Williams's housing unit shortly after 6:00 a.m. (Brown
Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶ 4.) Williams and his cellmate
were asked to exit the cell. (Id. at ¶ 5.)
Brown's colleague, Defendant Salas, performed a clothed
body search of Williams and his cellmate, which consisted of
a pat-down and the use of a handheld metal detector.
(Id.; Salas Decl. at ¶ 4.)
Although the clothed body search with a handheld metal
detector had negative results for contraband, Brown was not
convinced that Williams was not concealing contraband on his
person. (Brown Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶ 6.) Brown and
Salas escorted Williams to the housing unit's shower area
for the purpose of performing an unclothed body search.
(Id.) Such searches are routinely performed in
shower areas because the showers are private, more spacious
than cells, and because no other inmates have a direct view
inside the shower area, as they would of a cell.
(Id. at ¶ 7.) And unclothed body searches are
generally conducted early in the morning to limit the amount
of disturbance on the housing unit's programming and
operations. (Id. at ¶ 4.)
Also, early-morning times are favored because most inmates,
except for a few who have work assignments, are inside their
cells until shortly after 7:00 a.m., when the morning release
for breakfast occurs. (Id.)
The unclothed body search that Brown and Salas performed was
strictly visual and lasted approximately one minute. (Brown
Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶ 8; Salas Decl. at ¶ 5.)
The search did not include any physical touching. (Brown
Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶ 9.) The body search consisted
only of a visual inspection of Williams's hair, mouth,
armpits, arms, palms, and feet. (Id. at ¶ 8.)
Williams was also required to bend forward at the waist,
spread his buttocks, and cough several times. (Id.)
This was necessary to ensure that he did not conceal
contraband in his anal cavity, which is how inmates often
conceal drugs and other forbidden items. (Id.)
Overall, such unclothed body searches are routinely done as
part of inspections of inmates, and they may be conducted
often times on an unannounced and random basis. (Id.
at ¶ 10; Rodriguez Decl. at ¶¶ 7, 10, &
12.) On June 29, 2016, several other cell and body searches
were performed, including a body search of Williams's
cellmate. (Brown Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶ 13; Rodriguez
Decl. at ¶ 12.)
Thereafter, Brown and Salas proceeded to search
Williams's cell. (Brown Decl., ECF No. 14-3, at ¶
12.) The cell search confirmed the information that ISU had
received, as two cellphones and two chargers were found
hidden behind and inside a mattress. (Id.) The
cellphones had Internet, camera, and GPS capabilities.
(Id.) Brown and Salas confiscated the items as
II. Patterson's Photographs of
Like Brown and Salas, Patterson is an ISU officer at CTF.
(Patterson Decl., ECF No. 14-2, at ¶ 4.) Patterson is
assigned to Investigations and she investigates inmates for
possession and introduction of contraband into the prison,
and any criminal activity within the institution.
(Id.) She is also tasked with investigating and
documenting inmates' Security Threat Group (STG) status.
STG refers to any group of offenders that prison officials
reasonably believe poses a threat to the physical safety of
other inmates and staff due to the very nature of the groups.
(Id. at ¶ 5.) Some of these groups at CTF
include the Bloods, Crips, Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood,
and Black Guerilla Family. (Id.) One of the indicia
of STG membership is the use of gang tattoos. (Id.
at ¶ 6.) Photographing inmates and their tattoos to
document their STG status is an essential part of
Patterson's job responsibilities as an investigator.
(Id. at ¶ 10.) These photographs are for the
sole internal use of ISU. (Id. at ¶ 11.)
Although Patterson was not the only ISU officer able to
photograph inmates, she was assigned to take photographs on
June 29, 2016. (Patterson Decl., ECF No. 14-2, at ¶ 10.)
Patterson took several photographs of Williams, including
four default shots of his front, back, left side, and right
side. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Some of the photographs
also include close-up shots of Williams's tattoo on his
back. (Id.) Williams wore white underwear briefs in
all the photographs, and the only exposed areas of his body
were his arms, legs, and torso. (Id.) Williams was
not nude. (Id.) Patterson likely gave Williams
verbal commands, but in keeping with the ethical code of the
job, she did not touch him or make any sexual, derogatory, or
humiliating remarks. (Id. at ¶ 13.)
Williams complained that copies of the photographs were never
provided to him. (See Compl., ECF No. 1, at 11
(requesting “[t]o receive the Photos that were taken of
me partially nude”).) At the request of the Attorney
General's Office, arrangements were made at the prison
for Williams to view copies of all the photographs that were
taken of him on June 29, 2016, so that he might satisfy
himself that the photographs are not sexually suggestive.
(See Declaration of E. Galvan, ECF No. 15-1, at
¶ 5.) Williams was issued a pass to meet the Litigation
Coordinator of the Correctional Training Facility on April
11, 2018. (Id.) Williams viewed the photographs
without any incident. (Id. at ¶ 6.)
III. Rodriguez's Conduct.
On June 29, 2016, Rodriguez was an ISU sergeant at
Correctional Training Facility State Prison. (Rodriguez
Decl., at ¶ 1.) Rodriguez was present when Brown and
Salas performed the clothed body search on Plaintiff outside
of his cell. (Id. at ¶ 11.) But he was not
present during ...