United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
JOHN E. BETTYS, Plaintiff,
KEVIN QUIGLEY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. BRYAN United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Richard Creatura. Dkt. 90.
The Report and Recommendation makes recommendations about an
underlying Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 85) filed by Defendants.
The Court has considered the Report and Recommendation,
objections and responses thereto (Dkt. 92-95), the underlying
motion and responsive briefing thereto (Dkts. 85, 87, 88),
the Complaint (Dkt. 82), and the remainder of the file
claims alleged, at least one party objects to the Magistrate
Judge's recommendation, so the Court will herein examine
the sufficiency of the Complaint as a whole. 28 U.S.C. §
summary, the Court concurs with and should adopt the
following conclusion made by the Magistrate Judge:
[P[laintiff properly has raised a claim regarding conditions
of confinement under the Fourteenth Amendment. . .
However, defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's
Double Jeopardy claim and his Bounds claim, as well
as his claims under 42 U.S.C. §§1985 and 1986
should be granted.”
Dkt. 90 at 29, 30.
Standard on Motion to Dismiss.
underlying motion (Dkt. 85) urges dismissal for failure to
state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “A complaint
should not be dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6) unless it appears
beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of his claim which would entitle him to
relief.” Balistreri v. Pacifica Police
Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)
(internal quotations and citations omitted). Material
allegations are taken as admitted and the complaint is
construed in the plaintiff's favor. Keniston v.
Roberts, 717 F.2d 1295 (9th Cir. 1983).
“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)(internal
the plaintiff in this case proceeds pro se, the Complaint
should be liberally construed. “This court recognizes
that it has a duty to ensure that pro se litigants do not
lose their right to a hearing on the merits . . . due to
ignorance of technical procedural requirements.”
Balistreri, 901 F.2d at 699.
Conditions of confinement claim(s) Dkt. 82
(¶¶4.1, 4.2, 4.4-4.7, 4.13-4.20)
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
complaint must allege that (1) the conduct complained of was
committed by a person acting under color of state law, and
that (2) the conduct deprived a person of a right, privilege,
or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981),
overruled on other grounds. Only the second element
is contested by Defendants.
context of civil detention, the Fourteenth Amendment
guarantees “greater liberty protections [for civil
detainees] than individuals detained under criminal
process.” Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 932
(9th Cir. 2004), citing Youngberg v.
Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 321-24. “At a bare minimum, [
] an individual detained under civil process . . . cannot be
subjected to conditions that amount to punishment.”
Id. Punishment is presumed when confinement
conditions are “identical to, similar to, or more
restrictive than, those in which [ ] criminal counterparts
are held.” Id., citing Sharp v.
Weston, 323 F.3d 1166, 1172-73 (9th Cir.
2000). Stated differently, “[b]ecause the purpose of
confinement is not punitive, the state must also provide the
civilly-committed with ‘more considerate treatment and
conditions of confinement than criminals whose conditions of
confinement are designed to punish.'”
Sharp, 233 F.3d at 1172, quoting Youngberg,
457 U.S. at 322.
here, and construing the Complaint liberally, Plaintiff has
alleged at least one cognizable conditions of confinement
claim under the Fourteenth Amendment. It is alleged that
Plaintiff is civilly detained and receives significantly less
treatment in the Sexual Offender Treatment Program (SOTP),
eight to fifteen hours, than criminal counterparts serving
sentences with the Washington Department of Corrections
(WDOC), twenty-nine or more hours. Dkt. 82 at ¶4.2. It
is further alleged that specific defendants “act[ed]
with deliberate indifference and negligence . . . by their
failure to act in creating or applying policies” that
resulted in this deprivation. Id. Based on the
alleged deficient mental health treatment, Plaintiff has
stated a plausible claim for relief.
take issue with the Report and Recommendation's reliance
on Jones for the so-called “comparison test,
” which Defendants opine problematically compares a
civil pretrial detainee to a person incarcerated in a
long-term correctional institution. Dkt. 93 at 11. Although
Jones did not compare specifically-named
institutions, that court's discussion of the law
explicitly suggests that comparison may be a means of parsing
out whether a civilly detained person is being subjected to
punishment. See, e.g., Jones, at 932 (“[civil
detention that is] identical to, similar to, more restrictive
than . . . criminal counterparts” and “it is also
relevant to compare confinement conditions. . .”).
Defendants also make the argument, without citation to
authority, that Plaintiff is entitled to less treatment as a
detainee whose civil commitment proceedings are pretrial
status, as compared to civilly-committed detainees. Dkt. 7,
8. However, the Complaint alleges that Plaintiff is civilly
committed and does not allege that civil commitment
proceedings are at the pre-trial stage. See
generally, Dkt. 82. Further, the Jones court
rejected this argument: “It is [ ] relevant to compare
confinement conditions of civil detainees
pre-adjudication to conditions
post-commitment” because “purgatory
cannot be worse than hell.” Jones, 393 F.3d at
the allegedly deficient mental health treatment (see
Dkt. 82 at ¶4.2), the Complaint alleges a multiplicity
of deficient conditions of confinement. Id. at
¶¶4.1-4.20. Each of these conditions is alleged as
a discrete claim. See id. Defendants argue that
these ancillary conditions claims cannot, in isolation or
aggregated, meet the constitutional definition of
“punishment.” Dkt. 93 at 2. The sufficiency of
each specific condition need not be addressed now, because
the pleadings sufficiently allege a conditions of confinement
claim based solely on the mental health treatment
allegations. To the extent these other conditions ...