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Taylor v. Ridley

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division

July 24, 2018

GEORGE TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
T. RIDLEY, Assistant, Superintendent of Security; GREGORY E. JONES, High Risk Placement Manager; JASON PRIMMER, Correctional Officer; ANTON WANOUS, Corrections Corporal; KATHY WILSON, Corrections Corporal; BRIAN WIGGINS, Corrections Corporal; WADE ROBERTSON, Correctional Officer; KARENE KING, Correctional Officer; WINSTON KNOWLTON, Correctional Officer; GREG KLIMBACK, Corrections Corporal; STEFAN GREGORY, Correctional Officer; ART WORTMAN, Corrections Sergeant; WILLIAM COCHELL, Correctional Officer; OWEN BELL, Correctional Officer; THERESA SWART, Correctional Officer; ERIC BOWMAN, Correctional Officer; and OREGON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PATRICIA SULLIVAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         George Taylor brings this federal- and state-law civil rights action concerning alleged injuries he sustained while an inmate at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution (“TRCI”) in Umatilla, Oregon. Compl. (Docket No. 1). Defendants are officers and employees of the Oregon Department of Corrections (“ODOC”) and ODOC. Defendants have moved to dismiss. (Docket No. 9). Plaintiff opposes. (Docket No. 13). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS defendants' Motion, in part with leave to amend, and in part without leave to amend.[1]

         BACKGROUND

         On or about September 1, 2015, an Oregon state court sentenced plaintiff to ODOC custody; he would eventually be incarcerated at TRCI. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 10. Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at TRCI. Id. Defendant T. Ridley was the Assistant Superintendent of Security at TRCI at the times relevant to the Complaint. Id. ¶ 6. Defendant Gregory Jones was the High Risk Placement Officer for ODOC. Id. ¶ 7. The other individual defendants were, at all relevant times, TRCI staff personnel. Id. ¶ 8.

         On September 1, 2015, Willamette Week, a weekly newspaper from Portland, Oregon, published an article titled “Rat Tale, ” which identified plaintiff as a “rat” or “snitch.” Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Jones “knew or should have known that Mr. Taylor had been publicly identified as a ‘rat' or a ‘snitch' and was therefore at high risk of being assaulted.” Id. ¶ 12. Jones “communicated to all other defendants, or should have communicated to all other defendants, that Mr. Taylor had been publicly identified as a ‘rat' or a ‘snitch' and was therefore at high risk of being assaulted.” Id. ¶ 13.

         On February 21, 2016, TRCI inmate Joe Robinson “during a mealtime slit Mr. Taylor's neck causing life-threatening injuries.” Id. ¶ 15. The assault was “foreseeable.” Id. ¶ 1.

         Plaintiff's Complaint brings three causes of action:

(1) Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for violations for the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, for “failure to provide adequate protection to Mr. Taylor from assault by other inmates, ” Compl. ¶¶ 16-17;
(2) For violations of the Oregon State Constitution's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, Art. I, Sec. 16, for “failure to provide adequate protection to Mr. Taylor from assault by other inmates, ” Compl. ¶¶ 18-19; and
(3) “Premises liability” for “negligent failure to protect Mr. Taylor on premises, ” id. ¶¶ 20-23.

         Defendants have moved to dismiss. (Docket No. 9). Plaintiff opposes, but provides very little substantive argument or analysis. (Docket No. 13). Instead, plaintiff concludes, “[h]is position is that he has adequately stated each claim for relief.” Id., at 2. He repeats a paragraph from the Complaint, attaching a copy of the Willamette Week article. Id.[2] Despite this lack of substance in plaintiff's Opposition, the Court analyzes the merits of defendants' Motion.[3]

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A well-pleaded complaint requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A claimant is not required to detail all factual allegations; however, the complaint must provide “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. While the Court must assume that all facts alleged in a complaint are true and view them in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, it need not accept as true any legal conclusion set forth in the complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To state a plausible claim for relief, the complaint “must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts” to support its legal conclusions. Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). “In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory ‘factual content,' and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent' with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Section 1983 Eight Amendment Claim

         In moving to dismiss plaintiff's § 1983 claim, defendants argue that plaintiff fails to plead any specific facts about any individual ...


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