United States District Court, E.D. California
CHARLES T. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
JAMES A. YATES, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS ON
QUALIFIED IMMUNITY GROUNDS (DOC. NOS. 85, 96)
Charles T. Davis is a state prisoner proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights
action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On September
21, 2018, the undersigned issued an order denying a motion to
dismiss this action on qualified immunity grounds brought on
behalf of defendants James A. Yates and Matthew Cate. (Doc.
October 18, 2018, defendants filed an interlocutory appeal to
the Ninth Circuit seeking review of that order. (Doc. No.
100.) On June 13, 2019, the Ninth Circuit vacated this
court's order and remanded the action with instructions
to grant defendants' motion to dismiss in light of the
intervening 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). (Doc. No. 103.)
Hines, 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.
914 F.3d at 1226-27. The Ninth Circuit defined the right at
issue in the consolidated appeals before it as “the
right to be free from heightened exposure to Valley Fever
spores.” Id. at 1228. It then concluded that
such a constitutional right was not clearly established at
the time the defendant officials acted.
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.”). 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.
as directed by the Ninth Circuit's June 13, 2019 order,
the undersigned will grant defendants' motion to dismiss
the complaint in this action on the grounds that the
defendants are entitled to qualified immunity in this case.
Defendants' motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 85) is granted;
keeping with the Ninth Circuit's decision in
Hines, defendants are entitled to qualified immunity
with respect to plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim
based on his alleged exposure to Valley Fever;
Plaintiff s Eighth Amendment claim against defendants based
on exposure to Valley Fever is dismissed with prejudice on
qualified immunity grounds; and
Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case.
 The Ninth Circuit's June 13, 2019
order in this case was given effect via the mandate issued on
July 5, 2019. (Doc. No. 104.) However, on July 12, 2019, the
Ninth Circuit recalled its mandate for the limited purpose of
permitting plaintiff to file a petition for rehearing. (Doc.
No. 105.) After reviewing his petition, the Ninth Circuit
denied plaintiff's petition for rehearing on ...