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Remington v. Myrick

United States District Court, D. Oregon

August 3, 2017



          Honorable Paul Papak United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se plaintiff Nicholas Remington brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against prison officials at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution (TRCI), including Superintendent John Myrick, Lt. Cam A. Bauer, Cap't David Pedro, Larry P. Lytle, OIC, and CO. Lavelle Braun. Plaintiff alleges that while he was in custody at TRCI, he was placed in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit (DSU) for six days, violating his rights to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also alleges that in DSU, lights were left on constantly, and excessive noise from other inmates and from loud faucets made sleeping difficult, violating his rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

         Defendants move to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff moves to file an amended complaint. For the following reasons, I grant Plaintiffs motion to file an amended complaint and Defendants' motion to dismiss, and dismiss this action with prejudice.


         The following background is from Plaintiffs proposed First Amended Civil Rights Complaint (Am. Compl.).[1] Plaintiff was housed in the Administrative Housing Unit at TRCI on May 25, 2016, when a corrections officer told him that an inmate named Daniel Garges[2] was scheduled to be placed in the unit that afternoon. The officer told Plaintiff that TRCI staff were aware of a 2008 "conflict order" that the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) had issued for Plaintiff and Garges. The officer showed Plaintiff a photo of Garges, but Plaintiff did not remember him or what Plaintiff describes as the "minor verbal incident" that gave rise to the 2008 conflict order. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 14-15. That afternoon in a common area, Garges and Plaintiff talked amicably. Plaintiff describes Garges as "empathetic." Am. Compl. ¶ 19.

         The next day, Plaintiff and Garges were moved to the Disciplinary Segregation Unit (DSU) without justification and in violation of ODOC rules. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 20-23. The ODOC document requesting the administrative hold for Plaintiff stated that Plaintiff and Garges "have an institution separation that expired after their release from prison. This conflict is ongoing, Both Inmates will be placed in ., . Segregation until a solution can be determined." Compl., Ex. 1, at 1, ECF No. 2-1.

         Plaintiff alleges that during his six days in DSU, he was subjected to "24 hour in cell illumination uncontrollable by Plaintiff that was sufficient to [interfere] with Plaintiffs sleeping patterns." Am. Compl. ¶ 25, He alleges that he also experienced "[e]xtreme noise levels at all hours" from inmates "yelling from cell to cell, tier to tier, and section to section, " and from leaky faucets that made a "loud sucking noise sufficient to wake anyone up from a sound sleep without notice." Am. Comp. ¶25, Plaintiff alleges that he has exhausted his administrative remedies. Plaintiff submits as exhibits his initial grievance, ODOC's responses to his grievance, and his appeals of the responses. Am. Compl., Ex. 1. Plaintiffs grievance complained that his placement in DSU violated ODOC rules, but did not mention conditions of confinement such as lighting or noise.


         A complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.1" Ashcroft v. Iqbal 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard . .. asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (citations omitted). The court is not required to accept legal conclusions, unsupported by alleged facts, as true. Id.

         The court should construe the pleadings of a pro se litigant more leniently than those drafted by a lawyer. See Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987). "'Unless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect, ... a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend prior to dismissal of the action.'" Garity v. APWU Nat'l Labor Org., 828 F.3d 848, 854 (9th Cir. 2016) (alteration in original) (quoting Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9tli Cir. 1995) (per curiam)).


         I. Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment Claims

         Plaintiff asserts that conditions in DSU violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment claim, arguing that he failed to exhaust administrative remedies for this claim. Plaintiff responds that ODOC rules would have prohibited him from filing a second grievance about conditions at DSU in addition to his grievance about the alleged due process violations.

         A. The Prison Litigation Reform Act's ...

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