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Sanchez v. Moore

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

August 19, 2019

CANDANCE R MOORE, et al, Defendants.


          Jason B. Libby United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Daniel G. Sanchez is a Texas inmate appearing pro se and in forma pauperis. He is a prisoner in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID) and is currently housed at the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. (D.E. 18).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In this civil rights action, Plaintiff names the following McConnell Unit officials: (1) Law Librarian Candance R. Moore; (2) Officer Megan R. Thompson; (3) Senior Warden Philip J. Sifuentes; (4) Medical Director Dr. Isaac Kwarteng; and (5) Medical Administrator Tanya Lawson. He claims that his constitutional rights were violated in connection with Defendants' failure to issue him a medical pass or otherwise allow him to use the restroom during his set time in the McConnell Unit's law library. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.

         A Spears [1] hearing was conducted with respect to Plaintiff's allegations on March 18, 2019. On April 8, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to either amend or supplement his complaint by adding claims of harassment and retaliation against Defendants Moore and Thompson. (D.E. 12). Plaintiff alleged that, on April 2, 2019, Defendants Moore and Thompson targeted Plaintiff by forcing him to work at a table with three other inmates and no typewriter. (D.E. 12, p. 1). Plaintiff further alleged he was also denied access to the typewriter table. (D.E. 12, p. 2). The undersigned granted Plaintiff's motion to supplement or amend his complaint, and his letter motion was filed as his Supplemental Complaint. (D.E. 14).

         On May 14, 2019, the undersigned issued a Memorandum and Recommendation (M&R), construing Plaintiff's complaint and Spears hearing testimony as asserting a due process violation as well as claims of denial of access to the courts and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The undersigned nevertheless recommended that Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed with prejudice as frivolous and/or for failure to state a claim for relief. (D.E. 15).

         II. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint

         Plaintiff has filed a second motion seeking leave to file an amended complaint. (D.E. 18). In his proposed amended complaint, Plaintiff names the same five defendants. (D.E. 18-1, p. 5). On August 1, 2019, the undersigned conducted a second Spears hearing with respect to Plaintiff's allegations advanced in his proposed amended complaint. The following representations were made either at the second Spears hearing or in Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint (D.E. 18-1).

         Plaintiff arrived at the McConnell Unit on February 28, 2014. For the nine previous years, Plaintiff was housed at the Robertson Unit where he suffered from frequent urination. In 2007, Plaintiff was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Plaintiff takes Metformin to help control blood sugar. On June 14, 2017, Plaintiff was diagnosed with renal failure, or chronic kidney disease. Due to Plaintiff's chronic medical conditions and medications, he sometime needs to go to the bathroom up to six times an hour. Defendants Moore and Thompson allow prisoners to go to the bathroom, however, they may not return to the prison law library after taking a bathroom break. Should a prisoner request to use the restroom, the prisoner must sign out of the law library which results in the automatic termination of his session. Plaintiff complains this policy is not a TDCJ policy and is not posted at the law library for prisoners to read and follow.

         After questioning the restroom policy in the law library and filing this civil rights action, Plaintiff believes he was subjected to retaliation by Defendant Thompson who Plaintiff alleges brought a false disciplinary action against Plaintiff. On May 8, 2019, while he was in line to sign in for his morning law library session, Plaintiff set his ID card on the counter next to Defendant Thompson, who then reportedly took the ID card off the counter. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Thompson lost control of the ID card and it hit her arm. She then told Plaintiff that she would return the ID Card to Plaintiff when she found it.

         Plaintiff takes an anti-depressant medication which makes him prone to anxiety attacks. Plaintiff panicked and begged for the return of his ID Card. According to Plaintiff, he “lost it” and demanded the return of his ID card in a loud voice. Plaintiff was told to leave the law library. Plaintiff was eventually handcuffed and taken to the medical and mental health department for evaluation.

         Plaintiff was charged in Disciplinary Case 20190218039 with assaulting Defendant Thompson with his state ID card and with failing to obey multiple orders. According to Plaintiff, two inmates provided statements at his disciplinary hearing that refuted Defendant Thompson's statements. Plaintiff complained that he was found guilty on all charges solely on Defendant Thompson's report and the fact the two inmate witness statements were ignored. Plaintiff claims there was not enough evidence to support the guilty findings. Plaintiff was punished as follows: (1) “downgrade earning status”; (2) line classification lowered S-3 to S-4; and (3) 45 days of phone, commissary and recreation restrictions.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendant Thompson misused her authority to deny Plaintiff general access to the restroom despite her knowledge of Plaintiff's medical conditions and medications prescribed to him. He further challenges the failure of Defendants Thompson, Moore, and Sifuentes to produce proof that TDCJ's policy is to deny prisoner's use of the restroom during their law library time. Plaintiff is currently appealing Disciplinary Case 20190218039.

         II. ...

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