United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division
Richard Trevino, Plaintiff, Pro se, Fort Worth, TX.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE'S MOTION TO DISMISS
LEONARD T. STRAND, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Plaintiff Richard Trevino (Trevino) commenced this lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas on June 25, 2014. His pro se complaint (Doc. No. 2) and addendum (Doc. No. 7) name as defendants the Woodbury County Jail (Jail), Lieutenant Phillips (Phillips), Officer Carlos Last Name Unknown (Carlos) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS). Trevino claims that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at the Jail and further contends that the defendants violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § § 12131-12133. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The case was transferred to the Northern District of Iowa on July 1, 2014. Doc. No. 6. On October 17, 2014, USMS filed a motion (Doc. No. 11) to dismiss in which it requests dismissal of all claims against it. Trevino did not file a resistance.
The Honorable Mark W. Bennett has referred USMS's motion to dismiss to me for the preparation of a report and recommended disposition. No party has requested oral argument and, in any event, I find that oral argument is not necessary. See N.D. Ia. L.R. 7(c). The motion is now fully submitted.
II. TREVINO'S FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
Trevino alleges the following facts:
On September 10, 2012, USMS transported Trevino to the Jail for confinement after he was charged in the Northern District of Iowa with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Trevino was housed at the Jail from September 10, 2012, until February 25, 2014. Throughout this time, he suffered from a spinal disease that confined him to a wheelchair and also caused incontinence, thus requiring his use of diapers.
The USMS Deputy who escorted Trevino to the Jail forcibly removed his religious jewelry and threw it into the garbage, along with Trevino's legal paperwork. Once at the Jail, due to the lack of handicap accessible or suitable facilities, Trevino was placed in solitary confinement. The furniture in his cell was inadequate for an inmate with significant physical disabilities. The bed had no guard rails to prevent him from falling, nor did it have a " jungle gym" apparatus to enable him to independently transport himself to and from his wheelchair. Thus, he had to rely on Jail staff to move him. Further, the toilet in his cell did not have guard rails to help him transfer himself onto the toilet or balance once there, effectively depriving him from using the toilet without assistance. The showers at the Jail did not have a seat, railing or other handicap accommodations. Nor were there secured chairs, benches, tables or furniture that Trevino could use.
Trevino's cell did not have an emergency call button, meaning that in order for Trevino to receive assistance he had to yell for help. Jail staff generally ignored him and then only responded after multiple requests for help. Eventually, when Jail staff did communicate with him or come to assist him, Trevino was harassed and his special needs were disregarded. Specifically, Jail staff refused to give him clean clothes or showers for a week at a time and failed to provide a sealed container in the cell for his soiled diapers. Trevino was forced to pile the soiled diapers in the corner of his cell which created a stench that other inmates and Jail staff could smell. Jail staff, including Carlos and a nurse, made negative remarks about the stench, causing Trevino embarrassment.
Trevino was not allowed contact with other inmates and was generally isolated from others because of his disability. He was denied access to the same programs as other inmates and was not allowed to communicate with them. He was not placed in general population, despite the fact that his disabilities did not pose a security risk or danger. Additionally, Trevino's mother passed away while he was confined and he was denied clergy or proper grief counseling for over four months.
As a result of his isolation, Trevino became depressed and intentionally cut himself. He was then placed in an unclean rubber-padded cell and was provided only a mat and blanket. Despite being in USMS custody, Trevino rarely spoke with USMS employees and saw them only when being transported to court hearings.
Defendant USMS raises the following arguments in requesting dismissal:
a. Trevino's claims are frivolous within the meaning of the in forma ...