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Harris v. Sexton

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 11, 2019

EARNEST S. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
SEXTON, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges use of the Guard One Security Check system at California State Prison-Corcoran (“CSP-Corcoran”) deprived him of sleep in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Currently before the court is plaintiff's second motion for an emergency injunction and his motion to compel.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Allegations of the Second Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at CSP-Corcoran in the security housing unit. He alleges that defendants are responsible for the implementation and use of the Guard One Security Check system there. That system requires officers to touch a metal pipe to a metal box affixed to each cell door in plaintiff's housing unit. Plaintiff alleges this occurs every half hour, all day, every day. As a result of the noise from the metal-on-metal contact, plaintiff claims he has suffered and continues to suffer sleep deprivation.

         II. Procedural History

         Plaintiff initiated this action in early 2018 in the Fresno division of this court. With his initial complaint, plaintiff sought an emergency injunction to modify the Guard One system. The previously-assigned magistrate judge found plaintiff failed to state a cognizable claim for relief and recommended that plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief be denied for plaintiff's failure to show a likelihood of success on the merits of this case. (See ECF No. 9.) The previously-assigned district judge adopted that recommendation. (ECF No. 18.)

         Plaintiff then filed a first amended complaint (“FAC”). (ECF No. 12.) The court found plaintiff stated cognizable Eighth Amendment claims and ordered service of the FAC. (ECF No. 14.)

         On December 5, 2018, the court denied defendants' motion to dismiss to FAC based on qualified immunity. (ECF No. 30.) Defendants then answered the complaint. (ECF No. 32.) On January 10, 2019, the court issued a Discovery and Scheduling Order. (ECF No. 36.)

         On February 22, 2019, the court granted plaintiff's motion to amend the FAC to include one additional defendant. (ECF No. 41.) Plaintiff's second amended complaint (“SAC”) is the operative complaint. On April 23, new defendant Vera filed an answer to the SAC. (ECF No. 44.)

         On June 14, defendants moved to stay these proceedings pending the resolution of an appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit from an order issued in Rico v. Ducart, 2:17-cv-1402 KJM DB P. (ECF No. 50.) Plaintiff Rico raises similar concerns about the use of the Guard One Security Check system. Defendants in that case filed an appeal of the court's denial of qualified immunity to some defendants. On September 11, the previously-assigned magistrate judge recommended defendants' motion to stay be granted. (ECF No. 52.) Plaintiff filed objections to that recommendation. (ECF No. 53.) The district judge has not yet ruled on those objections.

         On October 2, counsel for plaintiff Rico filed a notice of related cases. (ECF No. 54.) Shortly thereafter, Judge Mueller issued an order relating the present case to other cases involving use of Guard One in the California prisons. This case was then reassigned to Judge Mueller and to the undersigned magistrate judge. (ECF No. 55.)

         MOTION FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTION

         Plaintiff seeks either a temporary suspension of the Guard One system or an order directing that it be used with less frequency pending the outcome of this case. (ECF No. 57.) ...


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