United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
TAGLE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court is in receipt of Magistrate Judge B. Janice
Ellington's Memorandum and Recommendation to Dismiss Case
(“M&R”), Dkt. No. 12. The Court is also in
receipt of Plaintiff Uvaldo Guzman's
(“Guzman”) Objections to the M&R, Dkt. No.
13. The Court ADOPTS IN PART and
DECLINES TO ADOPT IN PART in Magistrate
Judge's Memorandum and Recommendation.
is incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID) and is housed at
the McConnell Unit in Beeville Texas. Dkt. No. 1. In his
complaint Guzman alleges claims against Head Warden Fuentez;
Assistant Warden Fernandez; Lieutenant Skinner C. Sturgis
(“Sturgis”); and Sergeant Tommy L. West
(“West”). Id. at 1. He alleges
deliberate indifference and retaliation claims against
Defendants. Id.; Dkt. No. 12 at 2. The M&R
adequately summarizes the facts underlying his complaint:
At all relevant times, Plaintiff was housed in administrative
segregation in a single cell. His placement in administrative
segregation resulted from being charged with assaulting a
TDCJ officer at another prison unit. Early in the morning on
May 23, 2018, Plaintiff met with his attorney's
investigator to discuss the pending charge. Because both
Plaintiff and the investigator have bad hearing, a prison
official moved Plaintiff to a room containing seven shakedown
cages. The room containing the cages is located in the same
building as Plaintiff's cell.
Plaintiff was placed into one of the shakedown cages by Lt.
Sturgis while the investigator remained on the outside.
Plaintiff described the cage as seven feet tall with just
enough room for one person to spread out his arms. The cage
contains one place to sit down, and the meshing wire allows
the occupant to see through and to communicate to people on
the outside. The cage contains no running water and no
Only one door leads into the room containing the shakedown
cages, and there were no cameras placed inside the room. The
door is locked by a regular key. According to Plaintiff, a
camera in the hallway watches the door leading into the room
containing the shakedown cages. Plaintiff did not know
whether the camera watching the door was monitored by a
picket officer. No. other person was inside any other cage
during the time Plaintiff was locked in the shakedown cage.
Plaintiff's meeting with his attorney's investigator
began at 9:00 a.m. When Plaintiff met with the investigator,
the door to the room was open. Plaintiff's meeting with
his investigator took around forty minutes, at which time the
investigator left through the open door.
Plaintiff remained locked in the shakedown cage after the
investigator left. Lt. Sturgis entered the room sometime
after lunch. Plaintiff informed Lt. Sturgis that he was done
and would like to return to his cell. Lt. Sturgis responded
that he would be right back to take Plaintiff to his cell.
Lt. Sturgis further informed Plaintiff that the investigator
had failed to inform him that the meeting was completed.
Sometime later that day, Sgt. West entered the room. Sgt.
West informed Plaintiff that the officers did not know his
meeting was over with the investigator and that he would be
right back to return Plaintiff to his cell. Plaintiff never
saw Sgt. West again during the rest of the time he was inside
the cage. Lt. Sturgis returned to the room three more times
every two hours or so. Lt. Sturgis made fun of Plaintiff,
saying to Plaintiff that he was going to stay in the cage and
that Lt. Sturgis had Plaintiff right where he wanted him.
Plaintiff was aware that people were walking by the door all
day long. Plaintiff yelled out a couple of times but nobody
answered from the hallway. He also feel asleep at various
times during his stay in the cage. The door remained open
until shift change which occurred around 6:00 p.m. An inmate
walking down the hall way closed the door Plaintiff was never
offered water or food by Lt. Sturgis and Sgt. West. Plaintiff
had no access to bathroom facilities. After shift change,
Plaintiff did not see anyone again until he was released from
the cage. During his stay in the cage, Plaintiff went to the
bathroom one time in his pants. Plaintiff estimates there
were two or three roster counts in his cell during the time
he languished in the shakedown cage. Plaintiff ultimately was
released from the cage at 4:00 a.m. the next morning, which
meant that he spent approximately nineteen hours in the cage.
Several officers participated in releasing Plaintiff from the
cage. When asked why they left Plaintiff in the cage, Lt.
Sturgis and Sgt. West said they were unaware that Plaintiff
was in the cage. During the time Plaintiff was left in the
cage, he had no access to water, food, or the bathroom.
Plaintiff missed three meals while in the cage. Plaintiff
testified that he felt fine physically when he was released.
He was immediately taken to the infirmary where he was given
water to drink for possible dehydration.
No. 12 at 2-5.
Magistrate Judge issued her M&R on April 1, 2019 as a
frivolousness screening pursuant to the Prison Litigation
Reform Act. See 42 U.S.C.A. § 1997e; 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). The Magistrate Judge recommends
dismissing Guzman's claims against Defendants in their
official capacities as barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Dkt.
No. 12 at 1-2. The Magistrate Judge also recommends
dismissing all of Guzman's other claims for failure to
state and claim and/or frivolousness and to count the
dismissal as a “strike.” Id.
is illiterate but through the assistance of another
incarcerated person he objects to the M&R on the grounds
that the Magistrate Judge has misinterpreted the severity of
the harm that occurred; that Guzman has alleged facts which
demonstrate retaliation and a deliberate indifference by
Defendants to his 19-hour containment in the cell. Dkt No. 13