914 F.3d 1218 (9th Cir. 2019), 15-16145, Hines v. Youseff

Docket Nº:15-16145, 15-17076, 15-17155, 15-17201
Citation:914 F.3d 1218
Opinion Judge:KLEINFELD, Senior Circuit Judge
Party Name:Darnell T. HINES, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Ashrafe E. YOUSEFF, M.D.; Godwin C. Ugueze, M.D.; Joshua Garza, RNP; M. Aguirre, Defendants-Appellees. Arthur Duane Jackson; Leonard M. Lujan; Marcus Jackson; Rodney Taylor; Lacedric W. Johnson; L. T. Belton; Norman Johnson; Corey Lamar Smith; Frederick Beagle; Abdulle Abukar, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. ...
Attorney:Gregg Zucker (argued) and Victoria Niewrzol, Affeld Grivakes Zucker LLP, Los Angeles, California; Tara Burd and Benjamin Pavone, Pavone & Fonner, San Diego, California; Matthew B. Pavone, Law Offices of Matthew B. Pavone, Novato, California; Frederik Spiess and Edward Burns, Burns & Schaldenbrand...
Judge Panel:Before: Andrew J. Kleinfeld and Sandra S. Ikuta, Circuit Judges, and Rosanna Malouf Peterson, District Judge.
Case Date:February 01, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
 
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Page 1218

914 F.3d 1218 (9th Cir. 2019)

Darnell T. HINES, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Ashrafe E. YOUSEFF, M.D.; Godwin C. Ugueze, M.D.; Joshua Garza, RNP; M. Aguirre, Defendants-Appellees.

Arthur Duane Jackson; Leonard M. Lujan; Marcus Jackson; Rodney Taylor; Lacedric W. Johnson; L. T. Belton; Norman Johnson; Corey Lamar Smith; Frederick Beagle; Abdulle Abukar, Plaintiffs-Appellees,

v.

Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor; Matthew Cate, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Jeffrey Beard, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Paul D. Brazelton, Warden, Pleasant Valley State Prison; James D. Hartley, Warden, Avenal State Prison, Defendants-Appellants.

Corey Lamar Smith; Dion Barnett; Christopher E. Garner; Rodney Ray Roberts; Jeremy Romo; Danny Dallas; Frederick Beagle; Don Belardes; Floyd Boyd; Richard Burke; Joseph Bustamonte; Charles Joseph Carter; Otha Clark; Donald Dibble; Jerome Felder; Candelario Garza; Jeremy Lee Hollis; Scott Imuta; George Johnson; Bruce Koklich; Grady Montgomery; Peter Romero; Josh Thomas; Aaron Tillis; Rene Villanueva; Bertrum Westbrook; Wayne James Woods; Abdulle Abukar; Ruben Arechiga; John Wesley Bess; Michael Blue; David Cox; Orlando Creswell; Daniel Dayton; Pablo Dominguez; Josh Draper; Kenji Dominique Jackson; Albert Sherrod; Adrian Sepulveda; Kirk Smith; Hector Talamantes; Ismael Torres-Robles; Kenneth Washington; Thomas Wiley; Darren Charles Williams; Theodore Wood; Donald Wright; George Yount; Garland Baker; Charles McQuarn; Richard Adams; David Atzet; Derrico Aubrey; Daniel Boland; Christopher Bonds; Keevan Burks; Kevin Call; Joseph DeJesus; Gerald W. Dickson; Eric Donaldson; Roy Lee Doss; Joseph Alfonso Duran; James Farr; Joseph Ferris; Alvin Flowers; Stephen Franklin; Aubrey Galloway; John Ray Gholar; Robert Gonzalez; Vernon Grant; Walter Green; Robert Harris; Sinoa Hercules; Bret Hill; Adrian Johnson; Ellis Clay Hollis; Edward Jones; Anthony R. Jones; Lawrence Kerner; Titi Lavea; Cleofas Lewis; Michael Manning; Robert Maeschek; Daniel Masushige; Ellis McCloud; Brandon McDonald; Jeffrey McDonald; Juan Meza; Herschel Mitchell; Noel Morales; Raymond Newsom; Jesus Antonio Perez; Harvey Rayburn; Jorge Augusto Reyes; Jay Roach; Paul Richardson; Tyrone Sanders; Johnny O. Sanchez; Edward Spence; Tracy L. Stewart; Louis Thomas; Elonza Jesse Tyler; Vance Utley; Byron West; William Wiley; Rodney Williams; Robert Wolters; Michael Morrow; Damor Hill; Corey Campbell; Robert Conley; Sinohe Hercules; Juan Carlos Martinez; Juan Penalva; Robert Preston, Jr.; John Arthur Ruggles; Willie Steels; Solomon Vasquez; George Lewis; Richard Arteaga; Pablo Castaneda; Chaney Clifford; Campbell Corey; Robert Conley; Alvin Cooper; Kenneth Glen Corley; Walter Cornethan; Roy Corning; Dennis Duree; Sinohe Hercules; Carlos Hernandez; Damor Hill; Danilo Jalotlot; Asad Lewis; George Lewis; Joe M. Lewis; Juan Martinez; Thomas Milford; Dale Miller; Daniel Molen; Andre Moody; Michael Morrow; Freddy Neal; Chek Ngoun; Sim Peav; Juan Penalva; Marvin Pierce; Robert Preston, Jr.; David Robinson; Ronald Rodriguez; John Arthur Ruggles; Lorenzo Sams; Leroy Smith; Willie Steels; Maurice Thomas; Tyrone Thompson; Roberto Vasquez; Solomon Vasquez; Patrick Wallace; Xavier S. Williams; Kenneth Yancey, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor; Matthew Cate; James D. Hartley, Warden; Jeffrey A. Beard; Paul D. Brazelton, Warden; Susan L. Hubbard; Deborah Hysen; Scott Kernan; Chris Meyer; Tonya R. Rothchild; Teresa Schwartz; James A. Yates, Warden; Dwight Winslow, M.D.; Felix Igbinosa, M.D.; Edmund G. Brown, Jr., Governor, Defendants-Appellees.

Lorenzo Gregge, Jr., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Matthew Cate; Ralph Diaz, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; [*] James A. Yates, Warden, Defendants-Appellees.

Nos. 15-16145, 15-17076, 15-17155, 15-17201

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

February 1, 2019

Argued and Submitted May 17, 2017 San Francisco, California

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Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Anthony W. Ishii, District Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. 1:13-cv-00357-AWI-JLT, D.C. No. 1:13-cv-01055-LJO-SAB, D.C. No. 1:14-cv-00060-LJO-SAB

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence J. O’Neill, Chief Judge, Presiding, D.C. No. 1:15-cv-00176-LJO-SAB

Gregg Zucker (argued) and Victoria Niewrzol, Affeld Grivakes Zucker LLP, Los Angeles, California; Tara Burd and Benjamin Pavone, Pavone & Fonner, San Diego, California; Matthew B. Pavone, Law Offices of Matthew B. Pavone, Novato, California; Frederik Spiess and Edward Burns, Burns & Schaldenbrand, Oceanside, California; David Elliot, Law Offices of David Elliot, San Diego, California; for Plaintiffs-Appellants Smith and Gregge, et al.

Greg W. Garrotto (argued), Law Offices of Garrotto & Garrotto, Los Angeles, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant Hines.

Milin Chun (argued), Brian M. Bush, and Raymond P. Boucher, Boucher LLP, Woodland Hills, California; Ian Wallach and Jason Feldman, Feldman & Wallach, Santa Monica, California; Mark Ozzello, Arias Ozzello & Gignac, Los Angeles, California; for Plaintiffs-Appellants/Cross-Appellees Jackson, et al.

Jay Russell (argued), Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Kevin A. Voth, Martine D. Agostino, and Maureen Onyeagbako, Deputy Attorneys General; Jon S. Allin and Thomas S. Patterson, Supervising Attorneys General; Jonathan L. Wolff, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, California; for Defendants-Appellees/Cross-Appellants.

Kristina Doan Gruenberg and Susan E. Coleman, Burke Williams & Sorensen LLP, Los Angeles, California, for Defendants-Appellees Igbinosa and Winslow.

Before: Andrew J. Kleinfeld and Sandra S. Ikuta,[**] Circuit Judges, and Rosanna Malouf Peterson,[***] District Judge.

SUMMARY [****]

Prisoner Civil Rights

In four consolidated appeals, the panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's decisions pertaining to qualified immunity for prison officials in actions alleging that inmates at several California state prisons were exposed to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever.

Plaintiffs alleged that exposing them to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. African-American inmates also added a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They alleged that because African-American inmates were particularly likely to get Valley Fever and suffer serious consequences, they should have been segregated from the prisons with the highest infection rates.

The panel first held that several of the defendants could not be sued at all because they were not personally involved in any alleged violations. The panel then held that in each of the four cases on appeal, state officials were entitled to qualified immunity against claims that they were deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The panel held that the specific right that the inmates claimed in these cases-the right to be free from heightened exposure to Valley Fever spores-was not clearly established at the time the officials acted. The panel further held that the cases did not involve "clear" or "obvious" violations given that a federal Receiver supervised the officials' actions, and there was no evidence that society's attitude had evolved to the point that involuntary exposure to such a risk violated current standards of decency.

The panel held that officials were also entitled to qualified immunity against claims that they racially discriminated against African-American inmates. The panel held that even if state officials should have been more aggressive in excluding inmates whose higher risk appeared to be on account of (or at least connected to) their race, that did not mean their conduct violated clearly established law. The panel concluded that inmates did not have a clearly established right to be segregated from certain Central Valley prisons based on their race

OPINION

KLEINFELD, Senior Circuit Judge

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Inmates in several California state prisons were exposed to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever, so they sued state officials for money damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The inmates claim that exposing them to a heightened risk of getting Valley Fever was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. African-American inmates add a challenge under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. They claim that because African-American inmates were particularly likely to get Valley Fever and suffer serious consequences, they should have been segregated from the prisons with the highest infection rates. In each of the four cases on appeal, we hold that the state officials are entitled to qualified immunity.

FACTS

A. The Federal Receiver

For years, inmates in California state prisons have claimed that the state violates the Eighth Amendment by failing to provide sufficient medical care. Many inmates have sued. In 2002, California signed a consent decree in one such case, Plata v. Davis . As part of that decree, California promised to implement specific procedures to ensure that inmates statewide received constitutionally adequate medical care.1 But the state did not satisfy the terms of the decree, so in 2006 the Plata district court appointed a federal Receiver.2 The court conferred on the Receiver "all powers vested by law in the Secretary of the [California Department of...

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