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Skinner v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

June 22, 2015

James Skinner, Plaintiff,
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.


STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff James Skinner brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against multiple Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) employees (Doc. 8). Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 176).

The Court will grant the motion.

I. Background

Skinner's claims arose during his confinement in two different housing units: the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence, Central Unit and the ASPC-Eyman, Browning Unit (Doc. 8). Skinner alleged that while housed in these two units, he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment ( id. ). He named the following Defendants: (1) Director Charles L. Ryan; (2) Warden Lance Hetmer; Deputy Wardens (3) Craig Fizer and (4) Antonio Barrios, Jr.; Assistant Deputy Wardens (5) Thomas Kane and (6) Jack Heet; (7) Captain James Long; Sergeants (8) Jacqueline Silves and (9) Frank Alvarez; Correctional Officer (CO) IVs (10) Susan Zaborsky and (11) Diane Bohuszewicz; (12) CO III Rita Duarte;[1] and CO IIs (13) Tillman and (14) Trianna ( id. ).

Defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that (1) Skinner failed to exhaust administrative remedies for his claim related to his confinement in the Central Unit; (2) no Defendant acted with deliberate indifference; and (3) Defendants cannot be liable due to inadequate funding (Doc. 176).[2]

II. Summary Judgment Legal Standard

A court must grant summary judgment "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The movant bears the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record, together with affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

If the movant fails to carry its initial burden of production, the nonmovant need not produce anything. Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Co., Inc., 210 F.3d burden shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate the existence of a factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 250 (1986); see Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor, First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968); however, it must "come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal citation omitted); see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

At summary judgment, the judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. In its analysis, the court must believe the nonmovant's evidence and draw all inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Id. at 255. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider any other materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

III. Relevant Facts

On January 16, 2011, Skinner was moved to Central Unit Cell Block 3 (CB-3) and housed in Charlie run, cell 16, referred to as C-16 (Doc. 177, Defs.' Statement of Facts (DSOF)[3] ¶¶ 2-3; Doc. 185, Pl.'s Controverting Statement of Facts (PCSF) ¶¶ 2-3). Upon his placement in C-16, Skinner complained to unidentified staff that the toilet leaked and the cell was dirty (DSOF ¶ 4; PCSF ¶ 4). Skinner avers that the toilet was visibly cracked and a foul odor came from the toilet (Doc. 185, Ex. A, Skinner Decl. ¶¶ 16, 18).[4] Skinner states that when the toilet was flushed, it would leak dirty wastewater from the base onto the floor, and he noted the toilet problem on the cell inspection sheet, which he signed and handed to the escort staff ( id. ¶¶ 20, 22; Doc. 185, Pl.'s Separate Statement of Facts (PSOF) ¶¶ 14-15). Skinner avers that he asked for a mop but the escort staff refused his request and did not give him cleaning supplies and, thereafter, the toilet leaked incessantly and he had to keep the lid down to help manage the constant stench (Doc. 185, Ex. A, Skinner Decl. ¶¶ 9, 11, 24-26). He further averred that when the toilet in the cell above him was flushed, water would drip into his cell, adding to the flooding problem ( id. ¶ 29). Skinner states that escort staff told him a work order existed for the toilet plumbing issue ( id. ¶ 10).

Skinner states that about a week after moving into C-16, he asked CO II McBroom about the status of the work orders; McBroom informed him that a work order was placed on the toilet already and that the problem existed long before Skinner moved into the cell ( id. ¶¶ 35-36). Skinner states that a few weeks later, an ADC maintenance worker stopped by his cell and told Skinner he was aware of the toilet's problem, the seal was broken, and repair was not possible short of a complete replacement but the administration refused to pay to replace toilets due to the cost ( id. ¶ 38).[5]

On July 28, 2011, Skinner was moved to CB-2, cell G-24 (DSOF ¶ 29 (in part)[6]; Doc. 185, Ex. A, Skinner Decl. ¶¶ 62-63). Skinner avers that he was moved pursuant to his approval for the Central Unit Phase Program (Doc. 185, Ex. A, Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 62-63). He states that G-24 had structural defects including a large wall crack and a hot water button that would not disengage without staff intervention ( id. ¶ 64). Skinner states that the CB-2 staff informed him that a work order would be placed on the sink ( id. ¶ 65). According to Skinner, during the next shift, he was brought to the yard office where Qunitero informed him that he was being removed from the Phase Program and returned to C-16 in CB-3 ( id. ¶¶ 67-68). Upon his return to C-16, the cell was just as he had left it and there had been no repair work on the toilet ( id. ¶ 71).

Skinner states that between January 16 and October 19, 2011, he made many requests for status on the toilet work orders and repeatedly asked for adequate cleaning supplies to address the sanitation problems ( id. ¶¶ 72-73). During this time, CO III Duarte was Skinner's assigned counselor and was the initial contact point for non-security issues (DSOF ¶¶ 34-35).

Defendants state that around May or June 2011, Skinner informed Duarte of the toilet problems ( id. ¶ 40). Defendants state that Durate told Skinner she would attempt to get him moved to another cell but Skinner responded that it was not that bad and he did not want to take a chance on moving to a cell that might be worse ( id. ¶ 41). Defendants state that despite Skinner's response, Duarte requested that Skinner be moved out of C-16 ( id. ¶ 42).

Skinner disputes these facts; he avers that shortly after he first arrived at C-16- well before May or June 2011-he met Duarte and showed her the toilet problems (Doc. 185, Ex. A, Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 74-75). Skinner states that Duarte never asked him if he wanted to be moved to another cell nor did Durate tell him that she would attempt to have him moved ( id. ¶¶ 76-77). He further states that he never told Duarte that the problem was not that bad or that he did not want to take a chance moving to another cell that might be worse ( id. ¶ 78). Skinner states that Duarte told him this was a maintenance issue that was common and he needed to have patience ( id. ¶¶ 85-86).

According to Skinner, in mid-to-late March 2011, CO IV Zaborsky toured Skinner's run in CB-3 along with Duarte, and Skinner stopped them to show how the toilet was leaking ( id. ¶¶ 88-89). Skinner states he told them that he needed adequate sanitation supplies and that he was missing the hot water plumbing apparatus ( id. ¶¶ 90-91). Skinner states that 1-2 weeks later, the sink was fixed but no repair work was done on the toilet ( id. ¶ 94).

Skinner states that he also showed the toilet problems to Sergeant Silves, CO IV Bohuszewicz, and Deputy Warden Kane, and asked them for appropriate cleaning supplies, which they never provided ( id. ¶¶ 95-96, 101). Skinner states that Silves told him she knew about the problems but she had other work; Bohuszewicz told him that ADC was aware of the plumbing issues but was broke; and Kane told him that he and Wardens Fizer and Hetmer knew about the irreparable toilet problems and Skinner should be patient ( id. ¶¶ 97, 99-100).

On August 2, 2011, Skinner submitted an Inmate Letter to Duarte describing the leaky toilet, flooding problems, and lack of cleaning supplies and proposing as a resolution that the toilet be fixed or repaired and cleaning supplies be provided ( id. ¶ 102; DSOF ¶ 47; Doc. 177, Ex. J, Attach. 1 (Doc. 177-9 at 10)). In response to Skinner's Inmate Letter, Duarte informed Skinner that maintenance has a list of toilets they are working on; that she submitted another work order for Skinner's toilet; and that she would follow up with maintenance the next week and let him know the status of the toilet repair ( id ¶¶ 48-50, 53 (in part); PCSF ¶ 50).

On August 21, 2011, Skinner submitted an inmate grievance complaining about the conditions in his cell and lack of cleaning supplies (DSOF ¶ 77). Bohuszewicz received the grievance and checked with maintenance to make sure that department was aware of the complaint ( id. ¶ 78). Defendants state that Bohuszewicz did not personally go to Skinner's cell to verify his allegations (DSOF ¶ 79); however, Skinner avers that he showed the toilet problems to Bohuszewicz and asked her for cleaning supplies (Doc. 185, Ex. A, Pl. Decl. ¶¶ 95-96). After Bohuszewicz's investigation and input from Deputy Warden Fizer, it was determined that the toilet could not be repaired or replaced at that time (DSOF ¶ 80).

On October 19, 2011, Skinner was moved from C-16 to Baker Run, cell 17 (DSOF ¶¶ 86, 181-182).

B. Browning Unit

On December 6, 2011, Skinner was moved to the Browning Unit, cell 1-B-3 (Doc. 185, Pl. Decl. ¶ 108). Skinner avers that upon his arrival to 1-B-3, the cell was filthy and smelled awful and on the walls there were smears of what appeared to be blood and feces ( id. ¶¶ 110-113). He states that there was dried phlegm and other grime on the cell front, the floor was grimy, a section of the plumbing wall was rusted off, and the toilet was filthy ( id. ¶¶ 114-116). Skinner was offered a toilet brush by CO II Trianna but Skinner's requests for a broom, mop, mop bucket, scrub brush, rag, and disinfectant were denied ( id. ¶¶ 119-121). Skinner states that Trianna told him he had to take care of the other cell issues himself ( id. ¶ 122).

Skinner states that later that day, CO III Monahan provided him a short-handled broom and mop; however, the mop was ineffective on the cell walls ( id. ¶¶ 126, 129-130). Skinner states that thereafter, he was offered only a toilet brush, and Trianna informed him that the only cleaning supply ever passed out was a toilet brush, although there were other cleaning supplies available in the cluster supply closet ( id. ¶¶ 132-133).

In January 2012, Skinner filed a grievance to complain about the conditions in 1-B-3 and lack of cleaning supplies ( id. ¶ 136). On January 24, 2012, CO III Fewel entered the pod and passed out all of the necessary cleaning supplies ( id. ¶ 147). Skinner states that he nonetheless proceeded with his grievance and, on February 22, 2012, Sergeant Alvarez came to Skinner's cell ( id. ¶¶ 156-157). According to Skinner, Alvarez said he was notified that staff was not passing out all of the cleaning supplies and that he would return later in the week to supervise distribution of cleaning supplies ( id. ¶ 158). Alvarez avers that he does not recall talking to Skinner on this date (DSOF ¶ 238). Skinner states that Alvarez did not return and no cleaning supplies were issued (Doc. 185, Pl. Decl. ¶ 160).

Skinner avers that on March 19, 2012, after he had filed his grievance appeal, Associate Deputy Warden Heet and CO IV Ibarra came to his cell ( id. ¶¶ 159, 161). According to Skinner, Heet admitted he was aware that cleaning supplies were not being properly handed out and he promised to have all cleaning supplies delivered on each scheduled cleaning day ( id. ¶¶ 164, 168). Skinner states that this promise was not kept ( id. ¶ 169). Heet states that he became aware of Skinner's complaint in April, not March 2012, and that he spoke to Skinner on April 19, 2012 and informed him there was a plan in place to ensure his sanitation needs were met (DSOF ¶¶ 266-267).

Skinner avers that on April 18, 2012, CO II Tillman refused to pass out all of the cleaning supplies, even though he told her about the conversations with Heet and Fewel; Tillman told him she only passes out toilet brushes ( id. ¶¶ 172-173). Skinner states that Alvarez then arrived at his cell, confirmed that he was Tillman's supervisor, but refused to provide or authorize the delivery of cleaning supplies ( id. ¶¶ 179, 182-184, 187-188).

On May 31, 2012, Skinner was moved to Able 55, an area that houses severely mentally ill (SMI) inmates; however, Skinner has no history of mental illness ( id. ¶¶ 191-193). On June 9, 2012, an SMI inmate flooded the entire run, and feces and sewage water flooded Skinner's cell ( id. ¶¶ 194-195, 199). Skinner states that he asked Sergeant Soliz for a mop and disinfectant, but Soliz denied his requests and no cleaning supplies were provided, and other staff members told the affected inmates to use their blankets to dry up the flooding ( id. ¶¶ 200-201, 204). Skinner notified Deputy Warden Barrios of the problems in a June 12, 2012 Inmate Letter ( id. ¶ 205).

The next month, Skinner was moved to cell 2-F-51, and he continued to deal with the staff's refusal to pass out anything other ...

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