United States District Court, D. Nevada
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE
Report and Recommendation is made to the Honorable Robert C.
Jones, United States District Judge. The action was referred
to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) and LR IB 1-4. Before the court is
defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 27). Plaintiff
opposed (ECF No. 35), and defendants replied (ECF No. 36).
For the reasons stated below, the court recommends that
defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF No. 27) be granted.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Mickelson (“plaintiff”) is an inmate in the
custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections
(“NDOC”), and currently housed at Northern Nevada
Correctional Center (“NNCC”) in Carson City,
Nevada. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff brings
several civil rights claims against NDOC and NNCC officials.
April 11, 2016, the District Court screened plaintiff's
complaint and determined that he could proceed with his Count
I and II claims as one combined claim related to Eighth
Amendment conditions of confinement. (ECF No. 4 at 11.) All
other claims and parties were dismissed. (See id.)
to the complaint, the alleged events giving rise to
plaintiff's claim are as follows. In October 2014,
defendants Murguia and Moyle ordered defendants Coffin,
McColl, Blevins, and Brooks to keep the lights in
plaintiff's unit on at all times. (ECF No. 5 at 10.)
Plaintiff's unit has eight skylights that are
approximately 30-inches by 48-inches that permit adequate
natural light. (Id.) Plaintiff's unit has 83
florescent lights with two 30-inch bulbs each, totaling 166
bulbs. (Id.) When correctional officers only turn on
30 lights (60 bulbs), it is still brighter inside the unit
than it is outside in the middle of the day. (Id.)
Plaintiff's unit is one of two that houses all level one
inmates. (Id.) All of these level one inmates have
jobs and there is no other place to house level one workers.
(Id.) Plaintiff cannot live in any other unit
without losing his job and his level one status.
(Id. at 13.)
the day, defendants Beitler and Brooks only turn on 30
lights. (Id. at 10.) Skulstad will turn on
additional lights in the control bubble if she feels there is
not enough lighting in the unit. (Id.) Nevada
Administrative Code (“NAC”) 211.310 provides that
each cell, dayroom, and dormitory room must be provided with
natural or artificial light of at least 20 foot-candles at
desk level and in areas used for personal grooming.
(Id.) Defendants have exceeded the 20 foot-candle
lighting. (Id.) Plaintiff wears his sunglasses
inside his unit to help with the brightness. (Id. at
13.) Defendant Beitler also wears his sunglasses inside
because it is so bright. (Id.)
Baca has entered the unit when all lights were off and did
not order anyone to turn them back on. (Id. at 11.)
Defendants Murguia and Moyle claim that the lights have to be
on pursuant to the Prison Rape Elimination Act
(“PREA”). (Id.) Defendants Murguia,
Moyle, Jane Doe #1 (NDOC PREA Investigator), and John Doe #1
(NDOC PREA Investigator) refuse to produce information on the
PREA lighting standard. (Id. at 11-12.) Plaintiff
alleges that Reynolds made a comment to Foster that light
diffusers were installed, but plaintiff believes this to be
untrue. (Id. at 12.)
April 4, 2015, defendants ordered the unit to have 24-hour
lighting. (Id. at 14.) The unit does not require
extra lighting at night because the bathrooms and showers are
lit all night. (Id.) Plaintiff's unit is the
only unit in the entire institution that has its lights on
all day and all night. (Id.)
suffers from migraines and watery eyes when he is exposed to
bright lights. (Id. at 13.) Plaintiff alleges that
defendants know plaintiff has been treated by medical for
issues caused by the excessive lights. (Id.)
Plaintiff has been prescribed acetaminophen for his symptoms
caused by the excessive lighting. (Id.)
court stayed the case for ninety days to allow for an early
mediation conference between plaintiff and defendants. (ECF
No. 4.) The parties were ultimately unable to settle, and
this court issued an in forma pauperis order
commencing litigation. (ECF No. 17.) On January 19, 2017,
defendants filed their motion to dismiss on the basis of
res judicata. (ECF No. 27.) This report and
of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). The ruling is a question of law. N.
Star Int'l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm'n, 720 F.2d 578,
580 (9th Cir. 1983). The court is to grant dismissal when the
complaint fails to “state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face[, ]” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), or fails to
articulate a cognizable legal theory, Taylor v. Yee,
780 F.3d 928, 935 (9th Cir. 2015). When analyzing a motion
under Rule 12(b)(6), courts accept as true all well-pled
factual allegations, set aside legal conclusions, and verify
that the complaint states a plausible claim for relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). While
detailed factual allegations are not necessary, the complaint
must offer more than “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, ” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555, and include sufficient facts “to give fair
notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself
effectively, ” Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202,
1216 (9th Cir. 2011). In conducting the dismissal analysis,
the complaint is construed in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Chubb Custom Ins. Co. v. Space Sys./Loral
Inc., 710 F.3d 946, 956 (9th Cir. 2013). Moreover, the
court takes particular care when reviewing the pleadings of a
pro se party, for a more forgiving standard applies
to litigants not represented by counsel. Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 341-42 (9th Cir. 2010).
Eighth Amendment Conditions of ...