United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
CHARLES S. LONGSHORE, Plaintiff,
MASON COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Richard Creatura United States Magistrate Judge.
U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights matter has been referred to
Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 636 (b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Magistrate Judge
Rules MJR 1, MJR 3, and MJR 4.
Charles S. Longshore is a pretrial detainee who was
temporarily housed as an intrastate boarder at the Stafford
Creek Corrections Center (“SCCC”) when he filed
this case. He alleges that defendants Sinclair and Campbell
violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal
protection rights, as well as his Sixth Amendment right to
counsel, when they promulgated a Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) policy that houses pretrial detainees in
administrative segregation, allegedly depriving them of
resources allowed convicted prisoners and restricting their
ability to contact their attorneys. However, plaintiff has
not shown that the policy placed him in housing that amounts
to punishment in violation of due process, and he has not
shown that others similarly situated are being treated
preferentially in violation of equal protection. Further, he
does not show that the distance of his transfer and his
housing in administrative segregation has caused a
substantial interference with his ability to access counsel.
Therefore, the Court recommends defendants Sinclair and
Campbell's motion to dismiss be granted. The state claims
against defendants Sinclair and Campbell, as well as the
federal and state claims against the remaining defendants,
should move forward.
addition, plaintiff requests that the Court certify three
state law questions to the Washington Supreme Court. However,
because the questions of state law explicitly follow federal
standards, the Washington Supreme Court is in no better a
position to answer them than this Court, and so certification
is inappropriate. Therefore, the Court recommends that
plaintiff's motion to certify be denied.
and PROCEDURAL HISTORY
initially filed this action in January of 2018. Dkt. 1. He
states that, at the time he filed the complaint, he was a
pretrial detainee who had been transferred to the custody of
the DOC pursuant to an intrastate compact allowing county
jails to transfer pretrial detainees out of their custody
while retaining jurisdiction over them. See Dkt. 7.
He alleges that defendants Sinclair and Campbell violated his
Fourteenth Amendment right to due process because they
promulgated a policy that placed him, as a pretrial detainee,
in administrative segregation when the DOC took custody of
him. Id. at pp. 11-12. He further alleges that
defendants Sinclair and Campbell violated his Fourteenth
Amendment equal protection rights because the policy placed
him in more restrictive confinement than convicted prisoners,
as well as other pretrial detainees still in custody at
county jails. Id. at pp. 13-14. He finally alleges
that the policy violates his Sixth Amendment guarantee to
effective counsel because he is being held in custody farther
from his attorney than if he was being held at the county
jail, and because his placement in administrative segregation
limits his contact with his attorney. Id. at p.
serving the complaint (Dkt. 9), defendants Sinclair and
Campbell filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt. 29). They argue that
plaintiff has not shown that the DOC policy violated his
Fourteenth Amendment rights because his housing in
administrative segregation is not punitive and because he has
not shown that he is being discriminated against in violation
of equal protection. Id. They also argue that
plaintiff's right to counsel has not been violated
because the policy specifically provides that plaintiff be
provided adequate access to his attorney. Id.
Finally, defendants Sinclair and Campbell have included a
motion to strike, requesting that the Court strike
plaintiff's allegations that he was forbidden visitors
when he was housed in DOC custody. Id.
other defendants in this case have filed an answer to
plaintiff's complaint rather than a motion to dismiss.
has also filed a motion to certify questions to the
Washington Supreme Court. Dkt. 34. He argues that the three
state grounds he raises against defendants Sinclair and
Campbell have not been adequately illuminated by state court
decisions, and so should be certified to the Washington
Supreme Court for clarification. Id. Defendants
Sinclair and Campbell oppose the motion, arguing that, if the
District Court grants the motion to dismiss as to the federal
claims against them, the state law claims will have no place
in this suit and so certification to the Washington Supreme
Court would be unnecessary. Dkt. 37.
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
can be granted only if the complaint, with all factual
allegations accepted as true, fails to “raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007).
Mere conclusory statements in a complaint and
“formulaic recitation[s] of the elements of a cause of
action” are not sufficient. Id.; Chavez v.
United States, 683 F.3d 1102, 1108-09 (9th Cir. 2012).
“Dismissal can be based on the lack of a cognizable
legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under
a cognizable legal theory.” Ballistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dept., 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a
probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 570).
the Court must accept all the allegations contained in the
Complaint as true, the Court does not have to accept a
“legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Id. When a plaintiff is
proceeding pro se, his allegations must be viewed
under a less stringent standard than allegations of
plaintiffs represented by counsel. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519 (1972), reh'g denied, 405
U.S. 948 (1972); Bretz v. Kelman, 773 F.2d 1026,
1027 n. 1 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc) (plaintiff should be
afforded the “benefit of any doubt”).
the court can liberally construe a plaintiff's complaint,
it cannot supply an essential fact an inmate has failed to
plead. Pena v. Gardner, 976 F.2d 469, 471 (9th Cir.
1992) (quoting Ivey v. Board of Regents of University of
Alaska, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)). The court
need not accept as true unreasonable inferences or conclusory
legal allegations cast in the form of factual allegations.
See Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979,
988 (9th Cir. 2001).