United States District Court, E.D. Washington
DAVID R. PRIEST, Plaintiff,
SUPERINTENDENT D. HOLBROOK, CPM JACKSON, CUS A. ALVAREZ-JACKSON, SGT DAVID BREWER, C/O DUNCAN and C/O DOE, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING ACTION
L. QUACKENBUSH, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, ECF No.
15. Plaintiff, a prisoner currently housed at the Airway
Heights Corrections Center, ECF No. 16, is proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis. Defendants have not
been served. Liberally construing the allegations in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Court finds he has
failed to cure the deficiencies of the initial Complaint.
seeks monetary damages for the unauthorized deprivation of
authorized eagle feathers at the Washington State
Penitentiary. Plaintiff asserts alleged due process and equal
protection violations, First and Eighth Amendment violations
and violations of the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000cc et seq., and the Religious Freedom Restoration
Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-2000bb-4.
states he was assembling 20 eagle feathers to make a fan for
use in traditional Native American ceremonies, when he was
moved to segregation on August 9, 2015. He complains
Defendants C/Os Duncan and Doe packed up his property but
failed to leave an inventory list and allegedly stole or
destroyed his eagle feathers. Plaintiff contends these
feathers are irreplaceable as the United States Department of
the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service had sent him a
“one time only” package of 20 eagle feathers just
over two weeks earlier. ECF No. 15 at 10.
blames Defendant Sgt. Brewer for directing Defendants Duncan
and Doe to pack Plaintiff's belongings without ensuring
they were properly trained, without informing them Plaintiff
was a practicing Native American, without providing them with
Plaintiff's religious matrix of authorized items, and
without supervising them. Plaintiff also accuses Defendant
Brewer of failing to respond to a kite regarding the
mishandling of his eagle feathers.
blames Defendant Alverez-Jackson, the Custody Unit
Supervisor, for failing to ensure Defendants Brewer, Duncan
and Doe were trained to comply with policies for handling
prisoners' property. He claims Defendant Holbrook is
responsible for his staff's conduct as the facility
asserts: “[B]ecause these kind [sic] of procedures are
not being used at other facilities that cause Native
Americans [sic] sacred items to be stollen [sic] or
destroyed, the procedures used or allowed to be used by
Brewer, violated plaintiffs 14th Amend. due
process & Equal protection, and the 8th Amend.
Cruel & Unusual punishment.” ECF No. 15 at 8. These
blanket assertions do not state a claim on which relief may
establish an Eighth Amendment violation, an inmate must show
the prison officials acted with deliberate indifference to
his health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 835 (1994). Deliberate indifference exists when the
prison official “acted or failed to act despite his
knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm.”
Id. at 842.
the Eighth Amendment, the pertinent inquiry is (1) whether
the alleged violation constitutes an infliction of pain or a
deprivation of the basic human needs, such as adequate food,
clothing, shelter, sanitation, and medical care, and (2) if
so, whether prison officials acted with the requisite
culpable intent such that the infliction of pain is
“unnecessary and wanton.” Farmer, 511
U.S. at 834.
officials act with the requisite culpable intent when they
act with deliberate indifference to the inmates'
suffering. Id.; Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S.
294, 302-03 (1991); Jordan v. Gardner, 986 F.2d
1521, 1528 (9th Cir. 1993)(en banc). The test for whether a
prison official acts with deliberate indifference is a
subjective one: the official must “know of and
disregard an excessive risk to inmate health and safety;
the official must both be aware of the facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.
Plaintiff has alleged no facts from which the Court could
infer identified Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
a substantial risk of serious harm to his health or safety or
deprived Plaintiff of “the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. Plaintiff's conclusory assertions of cruel and
unusual punishments and deliberate indifference do not
support an Eighth Amendment claim. His contention the
mishandling of federally protected eagle feathers
“shocks the conscience” is insufficient to invoke
Eighth Amendment protections.