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Williams v. Sinclair

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

October 8, 2019

JAMES ANTHONY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN SINCLAIR, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN A. TSUCHIDA CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff James Anthony Williams, a Washington State prisoner who is currently confined at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), has submitted to this court for filing an application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) and a proposed 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint. Dkt. 1. The Court, having reviewed plaintiff's complaint, his IFP application, and other relevant court records, recommends that plaintiff's IFP application should be denied as plaintiff is barred under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) from proceeding with this action without prepayment of the filing fee.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff alleges that defendants, who are various Washington Department of Corrections and MCC officials, are violating his 8th Amendment rights by either forcing or allowing him to live in cells contaminated with feces and by illegally holding him in solitary confinement. Complaint at 4, 18. He alleges that his long-term placement in solitary confinement has caused him to develop “SHU syndrome” and that this syndrome causes him to smear his cell walls with feces and place feces in the air conditioning units in his cells. Id. at 5. He alleges that he has been doing this for the last four months, that this is not a volitional act, and that he would stop if he were released from solitary confinement. Id. He alleges that although he has not yet suffered physical injury from being placed in contaminated cells, he is in imminent danger of a potentially crippling or deadly injury in light of a past infection he has suffered and infectious disease incidents at local hospitals. Id. He seeks injunctive and monetary relief. Id. at 20.

         Under § 1915(g), a prisoner who brings three or more civil actions or appeals which are dismissed as frivolous or for failure to state a claim may not bring any other civil action or appeal in forma pauperis “unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). A review of the Court's records reflects that at least three of the cases plaintiff has filed while incarcerated were dismissed as frivolous or for failure to state a claim:

Williams v. Portine, No. C11-1214-JCC (W.D. Wash.).
Williams v. Neely, Case. No. C15-489-BJR (W.D. Wash.).
Williams v. Collins, No. C15-735-MJP (W.D. Wash.).

         This court and the Eastern District of Washington have previously determined that these and other cases are strikes for purposes of § 1915(g) and denied plaintiff IFP status as a three-strikes litigant:

Williams v. Sinclair, No. C19-5185-RBL (W.D. Wash).
Williams v. Sinclair, No. C19-345-JCC (W.D. Wash.).
Williams v. Holbrook, No. C16-5068-SAB (E.D. Wash).

         Because plaintiff has accumulated at least three strikes, he may not proceed with this action without prepayment of the full filing fee unless he shows that he was “under imminent danger of serious physical injury” at the time he signed his civil rights complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The imminent danger exception requires a prisoner to allege a danger which is “ready to take place or ‘hanging threateningly over one's head.'” Andrews v. Cervantes, 493 F.3d 1047, 1056 (9th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiff alleges that he is in imminent danger of a crippling or deadly injury from exposure to feces. Complaint at 5. He alleges that prison staff pressure-wash his cell when he spreads feces on the walls, but they do not remove feces from inside the air conditioning vents. Complaint at 8-10. However, he states that he has been putting feces in the air conditioning vents in his cells for four months but has not yet suffered physical injury or illness due to exposure to feces. Id. at 5. Plaintiff states that he has suffered an infection in the past and refers to Legionnaires' disease and mold infections-both unrelated to fecal exposure-at local hospitals. Id. But his past infection and unrelated infectious diseases at other institutions do not demonstrate that he is in imminent ...


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