United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO
Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge
the court is pro se Plaintiff Craig Laurence Conklin's
prisoner civil rights Complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Conklin alleges that officials and staff of the
Hawaii Department of Public Safety (“DPS
Defendants”), the Halawa Correctional Facility
(“HCF Defendants”), and the Hawaii Community
Correctional Center (“HCCC Defendants”)
(collectively, “Defendants”), violated his civil
rights while he was incarcerated, first at HCCC, and then at
following reasons, the Complaint is DISMISSED for
Conklin's failure to state a colorable claim for relief
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).
Conklin may file an amended pleading alleging those claims
that he elects to proceed with in this action, on or
before July 8, 2019. He may also file a second action at his
discretion, alleging those claims that would be improperly
joined in any amended pleading, as explained below. This
action will be dismissed if Conklin fails to timely file an
amended pleading that cures the deficiencies noted in this
court must conduct a pre-Answer screening of all
prisoners' pleadings pursuant to 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. Robi
nson, 621 F.3d 1002, 1004 (9th Cir. 2010).
under §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a) involves the same
standard of review as that used under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Wati son v. Carter, 668 F.3d
1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); Wi lhelm v. Rotman, 680
F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 12(b)(6), 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. Gi bson,
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 allegations of the
complaint as true, Eri ckson, 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).
asserts claims regarding incidents that allegedly occurred
while he was incarcerated at HCCC between January 9 and
February 22, 2018, and thereafter, while he was incarcerated
at HCF between February 22, 2018, until February 19, 2019,
when he filed the Complaint.
Counts I-III: HCCC, January 9 to February 22, 2018
HCCC medical intake examination on January 9, 2018, Conklin
requested to: (1) continue his prescription pain medications
for severe, chronic pain and/or be placed in a detoxification
program to prevent opiate withdrawal symptoms; and (2) be
released temporarily for a previously scheduled colonoscopy.
See Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID #8 (Count I), and #10
(Count III). Dr. Saldona denied these requests and assured
Conklin that HCCC medical staff would closely monitor him to
address any potential withdrawal symptoms. Conklin alleges he
experienced severe opiate withdrawal symptoms, and possible
internal bleeding from the lack of a colonoscopy, which
caused him fear, anxiety, pain, insomnia, and depression.
January 11, 2018, HCCC nurse Nishimoto confiscated
Conklin's personal crutches, without providing him a
cane, crutches, or wheelchair. Id., PageID #9 (Count
II). Conklin alleges he is disabled from injuries in his hips
and legs, and Nishimoto's actions “forced”
him to walk without needed medical mobility devices until his
February 22, 2018 transfer to HCF, causing him impaired
mobility, chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Id.
alleges Saldona and Nishimoto violated his right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment
and his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act
(“ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132, et seq.
Counts IV-XVIII: HCF, February 22, 2018 to February 19,
arrived at HCF, Conklin renewed his requests for his
prescription pain medications and for a colonscopy, but Dr.
Toyama denied these requests. Id., PageID #11-12
(Counts IV, V). Conklin alleges this exacerbated his chronic
pain and caused insomnia, fear, anxiety, depression, and
possible internal bleeding. He maintains that the denial of
prescription pain medication interfered with “major
life activities” including “walking, standing,
lifting, bending, breathing, learning, reading,
concentration, thinking, communicating, working, hygien
[sic].” Id., PageID #11.
admits that Dr. Toyama gave him Gabapentin to control his
“severe[, ] chronic pain.” Id., PageID
#21 (Count XIV). He complains, however, that HCF medical
staff instructed him to take the Gabapentin crushed in water,
which caused “caustic” burns in his throat and
that this is an unauthorized way to take this medication.
Id. Conklin refused the Gabapentin after several
weeks, but he does not detail whether he was prescribed other
pain relief medication.
was assigned to HCF's general population; he immediately
requested “comfort items, ” including a pillow,
supportive mattress, and a leg pillow from the “H.C.F.
Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”)
representative.” Id., PageID #20 (Count XIII). He
was given a 2-inch mattress without a pillow, which he
alleges exacerbated his “degenerative
February 28, 2018, Dr. Yoo extracted Conklin's tooth
using a local anesthetic. When the anesthetic wore off,
Conklin says that he was denied his prescription pain
medication, allegedly causing him severe pain, insomnia, and
loss of concentration for more than forty days. Id.,
PageID #13 (Count VI). He does not indicate whether this was
Dr. Yoo's decision, or whether he was offered or received
over-the-counter pain medication.
April 3, 2018, visiting orthopedist Dr. Frauens met with
Conklin to evaluate his need for orthopedic care. They
discussed Conklin's pain, disabilities, and need for pain
medication and orthopedic care. Dr. Frauens determined that
orthopedic care could be deferred until Conklin's
release. Id., PageID #14 (Count VII). Conklin
alleges this unnecessarily delayed treatment and increased
about April 18, 2018, Conklin was classified as a minimum
security inmate, and therefore, he sought a transfer to a
minimum security facility. Id., PageID #15 (Count
VIII). This request was denied, which he alleges violated his
right to personal safety under the Eighth Amendment.
about June 26, 2018, Conklin was allegedly attacked by close
custody HCF inmate Tupuelo. Id. Conklin asserts that
he should not have been housed near Tupuelo, based on their
different custody classifications. Conklin was taken to Pali
Momi Medical Center and treated for contusions and facial
trauma. Id., PageID #16 (Count IX). After he
returned to HCF, Conklin requested follow up care from an
outside specialist, as allegedly recommended by a Pali Momi
emergency room physician. Dr. Toyama examined Conklin,
diagnosed his continued pain and other symptoms as normal,
and denied his request for outside specialist care.
about August 6, 2018, Conklin was moved to the special
housing unit (“SHU”) for thirty days after being
found guilty of a misconduct violation. Conklin says the SHU
has no ADA accessible shower, or other disability
accommodations for special needs inmates. He says Dr. Toyama
discontinued his medical memoranda for a handicap shower
three days after he entered the SHU. Id., PageID #18
(Count XI). Conklin was taken into the SHU shower and left
alone for forty-five minutes. When staff returned, Conklin
fell out of the shower stall, hitting his head on the floor.
Conklin was treated at the medical unit. He alleges this
violated the ADA and increased his pain, discomfort, and
Chief of Security (“COS”) Antonio restricted all
telephone calls indefinitely for SHU inmates, although
Captain Snook told Conklin that he could contact his attorney
in writing. Id., PageID #22 (Count XV). Conklin
alleges this denied him his right to call his attorney and
interfered with his ability to fight the misconduct charge
and assist with his criminal appeal (for which he was
represented by counsel).
about September 4, 2018, Dr. Toyama discontinued
Conklin's medical memoranda for crutches, assistance,
wheelchair use, and stairs restriction. Id., PageID
#19 (Count XII). Conklin alleges this conflicted with Dr.
Frauens' finding that Conklin had multiple medical needs
requiring accommodation. When Conklin transferred to general
population on September 5, 2018, he requested reinstatement
of all his medical memoranda. He does not say whether his
memoranda were reinstated, but complains that the denial of
the medical memoranda forced him to walk without crutches or
a wheelchair, which increased his pain, mobility, insomnia,
depression, and anxiety.
about September 18, 2018, Dr. Toyama approved Conklin's
request to see a specialist for his continuing facial pain
from Tupuelo's assault. He was taken to The Queen's
Medical Center (“QMC”) dental clinic, where he
was diagnosed with “TMJ dislocation [and] timitus
[sic].” Id., PageID #17 (Count X). Conklin
alleges Dr. Toyama caused him unnecessary pain, discomfort
and distress by delaying this examination by a specialist,
although he does not specify what treatment he received for
about October 15, 2018, Conklin requested that the video of
his fall from the SHU shower be preserved. Id.,
PageID #23 (Count XVI). COS Antonio replied that the video
camera was inoperative on that day, and if Conklin required
proof, his attorney could request the written report of the
incident. Conklin alleges Antonio was lying and concludes
that someone destroyed the video to prevent a lawsuit.
Conklin alleges that an HCF guard warned him about filing too
many grievances, because the HCF administration might
retaliate against him. Id., PageID #24 (Count XVII).
Conklin alleges his case manager, Mufao, then retaliated
against him by telling the parole board and presiding judge
at his parole hearing that he was a “noncompliant
trouble maker, ” lying about Conklin's graduation
from high school, and about the reasons Conklin failed to
complete required parole programs. Conklin claims Mufao's
refusal to recommend him for parole resulted in his receiving
a higher classification and the denial of parole in October
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
alleges Defendants violated his rights under the First,
Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, and the ADA. To
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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). Section 1983 also requires that there be an actual
connection between the defendants' actions and the
plaintiff's alleged deprivation. 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).
“A person ‘subjects' another to the
deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of
§ 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in
another's affirmative acts or omits to perform an act
which he is legally required to do that causes the
deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v.
Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). Thus, a
plaintiff must allege that he suffered a specific injury as a
result of a particular defendant's conduct and an
affirmative link between the injury and the violation of his
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
explicitly names all DPS, HCCC, and HCF Defendants in their
official capacities only. For Conklin's claims arising
under the Constitution, rather than rights secured under the
ADA, the “Eleventh Amendment bars suits for money
damages in federal court against a state, its agencies, and
state officials acting in their official capacities.”
Aholelei v. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 488 F.3d 1144,
1147 (9th Cir. 2007); Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 101-03 (1984); Fli nt v.
Denni son, 488 F.3d 816, 824-25 (9th Cir. 2007).
Official capacity defendants are subject to suit under §
1983 only “for prospective declaratory and injunctive
relief . . . to enjoin an alleged ongoing violation of
federal law.” Oyama v. Univ. of Haw., 2013 WL
1767710, at *7 (D. Haw. Apr. 23, 2013) (quoting Wilbur v.
Locke, 423 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2005),
abrogated on other grounds by Levin v. Commerce Energy
Inc., 560 U.S. 413 (2010)); see also Will v. Mich.