United States District Court, D. Arizona
DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.
Plaintiff Roger Wayne Preayer, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Kingman ("ASPC-Kingman") in Kingman, Arizona, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2). The Court will order Defendants Schuster, Nalysa, Pillar and Ohsheta to answer Count One of the Complaint, will order Defendant Tucker to answer Count Two of the Complaint, and will dismiss the remaining Defendants without prejudice.
I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee
Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis will be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The Court will not assess an initial partial filing fee. Id. The statutory filing fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income credited to Plaintiff's trust account each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The Court will enter a separate Order requiring the appropriate government agency to collect and forward the fees according to the statutory formula.
II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).
A pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.
"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other "more likely explanations" for a defendant's conduct. Id. at 681.
But as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has instructed, courts must "continue to construe pro se filings liberally." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A "complaint [filed by a pro se prisoner] must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam )).
In his two-count Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants: Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections ("ADOC"); D. Schuster, Deputy Warden of the Morey Unit at Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis ("ASPC-Lewis"); Ms. Nalysa, Shift Commander of the Morey Unit at ASPC-Lewis; Ms. Pillar, a Corrections Officer (CO) III counselor at the Morey Unit at ASPC-Lewis; Carey Tucker, a medical practitioner for the Morey Unit at ASPC-Lewis; M.L. Ohsheta, a CO III grievance coordinator for the Morey Unit at ASPC-Lewis; and Chris Moody, Warden at ASPC-Lewis. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief.
In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that his rights under the Eighth Amendment have been violated by the conditions of confinement in the isolation unit at ASPC-Lewis. According to Plaintiff, he was transferred from the Stiner Unit at ASPC-Lewis to the Morey Unit at ASPC-Lewis on February 7, 2014. For the next 19 weeks, he remained in an "isolation lockdown cell" at the Morey Unit, where he was mentally, emotionally, and physically neglected and abused by Morey Unit staff. Plaintiff alleges that he was not allowed to shave or comb his hair; that he was denied any cleaning supplies to clean his cell, including the toilet and sink; that he was not allowed to send his clothes to be washed, and was forced to remain in the same set of clothes for the entire 19 weeks; that his meals were sometimes served hours late, or not at all; that the toilet and sink in his cell did not work; and that he was forced to drink water from the staff restroom or from the inmates' shower using a 1-gallon water bottle that was given to him by a staff member. Because the toilet and sink in his cell did not work, Plaintiff was required to push the cell's "emergency" button to get staff attention when he needed to use the restroom or needed water; sometimes it took hours for any response from staff. If the emergency button failed to alert staff, Plaintiff alleges that he would resort to banging and kicking on his door to get staff attention.
Plaintiff further alleges that he wrote several "inmate letters" to Defendants Schuster and Pillar (as well as several others who are not named as Defendants), and that he personally spoke to Defendant Nalysa about the conditions of his confinement. When the letters were ignored, Plaintiff filed a grievance with Defendant Ohsheta on March 15, 2014. When Ohsheta failed to respond, Plaintiff filed a "No Response to Grievance" appeal to Defendant Schuster on April 24, 2014. Schuster responded on May 1, 2014, indicating that "the operation of the isolation cells needed to be improved, " but otherwise failed to resolve Plaintiff's issues. On May 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance appeal to Defendant Ryan. On August 26, 2014, Plaintiff received a "response" to his appeal to Ryan, but the response appeared to indicate that Plaintiff's grievance had never actually reached Director Ryan, and it is unclear what response, if any, was included that addressed Plaintiff's issues.
In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that he has received constitutionally inadequate medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. According to Plaintiff, he has been prescribed medication to manage his high blood pressure since 2002. On February 26, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Tucker at the Morey Unit healthcare facility to have his prescription renewed. However, Defendant Tucker cancelled the prescription, stating that Plaintiff did not need it anymore. On March 28, 2014, Plaintiff again saw Tucker at the Morey Unit healthcare facility. Plaintiff complained to Tucker that since his blood pressure medication had been discontinued on February 26, Plaintiff had been experiencing dizziness, extreme pain and tightness in his eyes and forehead, and ...