United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
E. Kobayashi, United States District Judge.
the court is pro se Plaintiff Joseph Pitts's prisoner
civil rights Complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Pitts labels the Complaint as a “class
action” brought on behalf of himself, inmates Brandon
Harter and Austin McMillin (also named as
“Plaintiffs”), and “all prisoners who are
or will be confined at Oahu Community Correctional
Center” (OCCC). Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #2.
caption, Pitts names as Defendants Hawaii Governor David Ige;
Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Nolan Espinda, DPS
Corrections Division Administrators Cathy Ross and/or Jodie
Maesaka-Hirata, and DPS Assistant Administrator of
Corrections Shawn H. Tsuhu; OCCC Chief of Security Denise
Johnston, OCCC Corrections Officers Sgt. Blue and ACO Laredo,
and OCCC Case Manager Andrea Baryuga; Larry Hoffman; Michael
J. Hoffman; John and Jane Does 1-100 (collectively,
Defendants). See Compl., ECF No. 1. Pitts refers
broadly to “Defendants” throughout the Complaint,
omits Defendants Larry and Michael J. Hoffman from his list
of Defendants within the Complaint (and provides no details
regarding them or their connection to his claims), and
explicitly names only Defendant Barayuga within any claim.
See id., PageID #3-4, #5-9.
alleges Defendants violated his and other OCCC prisoners'
constitutional rights under the Eighth and/or Fourteenth
Amendments by allowing overcrowded conditions to persist at
OCCC. He seeks monetary and injunctive relief. For the
following reasons, the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to
amend, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and
1915A(a), for failure to state a colorable claim for relief.
court must conduct a pre-Answer screening of all
prisoners' pleadings. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a). Claims or complaints that are
frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or
seek damages from defendants who are immune from suit must be
dismissed. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122,
1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc); Rhodes v.
Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010).
under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b) involves the same
standard of review as that used under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d
1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680
F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012). A complaint must
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (internal quotation marks omitted). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”
Id. The “mere possibility of misconduct”
or an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me
accusation” falls short of meeting this plausibility
standard. Id. at 678-79; see also Moss v. U.S.
Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
“requires only ‘a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief,' in order to ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “Specific facts are not
necessary.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
93 (2007). The court must accept the complaint's
allegations as true, Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94, and
construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236
(1974), overruled on other grounds by Davis v.
Scherer, 468 U.S. 183 (1984).
litigants' pleadings must be liberally construed and all
doubts should be resolved in their favor. Hebbe v.
Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations
omitted). The court must grant leave to amend if it appears
the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint,
Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1130, but if a claim or complaint
cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal with prejudice is
appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Tr. v. City of L.A.,
729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).
was housed at OCCC for approximately six months between May
and December 2016, while he awaited resentencing in state
criminal proceedings. Pitts introduces his claims by
Overcrowding at OCCC not only exacerbates the problems
there[, ] it is frequently the root of and cause of most
deplorable conditions in prisons and jails. It depletes
resources, overtaxes support systems and services creating a
toxic environment. Increases stress, violence, tension[.]
Look at the sheer number of assaults by staff and prisoners
dying at OCCC. Deficient Medical Unit. Contagious
communicable infections, diseases being spread. Inadequate
mental health care. Constant lack of staff and qualified
mental health psychiatrists. OCCC has got to be the oldest
most “non” compliant Jail in the United States of
America and sole cause of distress and unnecessary pain and
Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #5.
confines his claims to the areas where he was personally
housed in 2016: the Special Holding Unit and the Module.
Pitts alleges that black mold covers the entire ceiling in
the Module, the roof leaked, and water pooled on the floor
when it rained, despite trash cans placed about to catch the
rain. Pitts says that: he was on lockdown for “23/24
hours a day, ” during which no showers or recreation
were provided “for weeks into months;” three
prisoners were housed in double-bunk cells, forcing Pitts or
another inmate to sleep on the floor; there was only 3'
by 5' feet within which to walk in the cell; inmates were
denied outside recreation for weeks at a time; the toilets
flushed once per hour, creating bad odor; cockroaches crawled
on Pitts's face and bit him while he slept; the air
conditioning often malfunctioned, making cell conditions
“suffocating” at times; and mail was often delivered
late. See id., PageID #6-7. Pitts says that
Defendant Barayuga “rarely” allowed him calls or
visits with his attorney, which left him unprepared for his
resentencing hearing and may have resulted in the denial of
Pitts's motions. Id., PageID #7.
was also housed in the Special Holding Unit (SHU) where he
alleges conditions were worse than in the Module. Pitts says
that: he was housed with another inmate with only 12' by
2' of floor space; the toilet was inches from the bunk;
there was no electricity in the cell (making it impossible to
read after sunset); rats entered through holes in the cell
wall; the roof leaked (“especially if a
prisoner floods his toilet due to frustration”); there
was no hot water in the sink or shower; and there was no air
conditioning. Id., PageID #8. Pitts alleges these
conditions cased “fights, frustration, one of the
reasons reportedly [an inmate] was raped and murdered by his
cell mate.” Id., PageID #8.
alleges “OCCC was. . . serving [inmates] less than 1200
calories a day.” Id. Pitts says that he knew
this because he had worked in the HCF kitchen and knew proper
serving sizes. He says the food trays were moldy and had old
food from previous meals stuck to them. He claims that
medical and mental health care was deficient, although he
alleges no specific incidents when he was denied
Pitts complains that the conditions at OCCC violate
“No. 84-1104 a mandatory consent degree . . . lodged
regarding the overcrowding and deplorable conditions at
OCCC.” Id. Pitts alleges Defendant
Espinda commented in the Star Advertiser newspaper in March
2016, that “he would reduce the overcrowding at OCCC,
” showing that Espinda was aware that OCCC was
overcrowded while Pitts was there.
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1)
that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged
violation was committed by a person acting under the color of
state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). A person deprives another of a constitutional right,
“within the meaning of § 1983, ‘if he does
an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative
act, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required
to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is
made.'” Preschooler II v. Clark Cty. Sch. Bd.
of Trs., 479 F.3d 1175, 1183 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir.
plaintiff must also allege that he suffered a specific injury
as a result of a particular defendant's conduct and
allege an affirmative link between the injury and the
violation of his rights. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978); Rizzo v.
Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976).
Pitts May Not Pursue a ...