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Rodrigues v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 21, 2015

Anthony L. Rodrigues, Plaintiff,
v.
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On August 8, 2014, Plaintiff Anthony L. Rodrigues, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Kingman in Kingman, Arizona, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a November 17, 2014 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

On December 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint. In a March 18, 2015 Order, the Court dismissed the First Amended Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file a second amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

On April 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 15). The Court will order all Defendants to answer Count Two of the Second Amended Complaint, and will dismiss the remaining claims without prejudice.

I. 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. 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 )).

II. Second Amended Complaint

In his two-count Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants: Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections ("ADOC"); R. Scott Marquardt, President and CEO of Management Training Corporation; Tara R. Diaz, ADOC Contract Beds Bureau Director; and Pamela Rider, Warden at ASPC-Kingman's Hualapai Unit. Plaintiff seeks monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief, and punitive damages.

Plaintiff's counts are largely intertwined, and are each brought under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the Americans with Disabilities Act "(ADA"). Plaintiff styles Count One as relating to his "state created liberty interest[s], " and, in brief, alleges the following: On November 26, 2013, Plaintiff was informed that he was being disciplined for two unexcused absences from a life skills class. As a result, Plaintiff claims that he lost "preferred housing, modification [of] custody and classification score, ability... to participate in subsidized volunteer education and program activities, [and] potential loss of earned and temporary release credits." Plaintiff further alleges that these sanctions implicated "state created liberty interests" that could not be taken away without due process. Plaintiff claims, however, that he did not receive notice of the disciplinary violation or an opportunity to be heard prior to the imposition of the above-described sanctions.
Plaintiff styles Count Two as related to a request for "reasonable accommodation." Put briefly, Plaintiff alleges that he has a documented cardiac condition - for which he is receiving treatment - that qualifies as a "disability" under the ADA. However, after the November 26, 2013 disciplinary sanctions were imposed, Plaintiff was, among other things, reassigned to a 2-man bunk near where inmates smoked. Plaintiff further alleges that the Defendants are all on notice that - despite ADOC policies and notices prohibiting indoor smoking - inmates often smoke near Plaintiff's new bunk. As a result, Plaintiff has been hospitalized at least twice due to second hand smoke. Plaintiff further alleges that he has sought a "reasonable accommodation" - specifically, that he ...

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