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Moore v. Arguello

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 21, 2014

ARTHUR MOORE, Plaintiff,


WILLIAM J. MART├ŹNEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Arthur Moore ("Plaintiff") brings this action pro se against Defendants Capt. Arguello and Capt. Tom Meek ("Defendants") alleging that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when Defendants denied his requests for access to outdoor exercise. (Am. Compl. (ECF No. 17).)

This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland's Recommendation (ECF No. 55) that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 30) be granted. Plaintiff filed a timely objection to the Recommendation. (ECF No. 56.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objection is overruled, the Recommendation is adopted in part, and the Motion to Dismiss is granted.


When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive matter such as a motion to dismiss, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3) requires that the district court judge "determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's [recommendation] that has been properly objected to." Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). In conducting its review, "[t]he district court judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id.

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test "the sufficiency of the allegations within the four corners of the complaint after taking those allegations as true." Mobley v. McCormick, 40 F.3d 337, 340 (10th Cir. 1994). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "[t]he complaint must plead sufficient facts, taken as true, to provide plausible grounds' that discovery will reveal evidence to support the plaintiff's allegations." Shero v. City of Grove, 510 F.3d 1196, 1200 (10th Cir. 2007) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). "The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff's complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted." Sutton v. Utah State Sch. for the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226, 1236 (10th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).

In addition, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se; thus, the Court must liberally construe his pleadings. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). The Court, however, cannot act as advocate for Plaintiff, who must still comply with the fundamental requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).


For purposes of the instant Motion, the Court accepts the facts pled in Plaintiff's Complaint as true.

Plaintiff alleges that he has been a prisoner housed in administrative segregation at the Colorado State Penitentiary ("CSP") since February 7, 2013. (Compl. (ECF No. 17).) On February 21, 2013, Plaintiff submitted an informal grievance asking for access to outdoor exercise in accordance with United States District Judge R. Brooke Jackson's ruling in Anderson v. CDOC, Case No. 1:10-cv-1005-RBJ-KMT. (ECF No. 1 at 9.) Defendant Arguello responded to this request by stating that Judge Jackson's ruling was "specific to one person, not everyone currently housed at CSP" and that CSP does "not have outdoor recreation for offenders on Administrative Segregation". ( Id. ) Plaintiff then filed a step one grievance seeking the same relief-access to outdoor exercise-which Defendant Arguello again denied. ( Id. at 10.) Plaintiff's step two grievance on this issue was denied by Defendant Meek on April 5, 2013. ( Id. at 11.) Meek stated that he had reviewed Plaintiff's complaint, that Defendant Arguello's response was correct, and that he had no further information to provide to Plaintiff. ( Id. )

Plaintiff alleges that the denial of access to outdoor exercise violates his Eighth Amendment rights and causes him mental anguish and pain, distress, and headaches. (Am. Compl. at 4.) Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $200, 000 for his injuries. ( Id. at 8.)


Defendants' Motion to Dismiss raised the following arguments: (1) to the extent Plaintiff's claim is brought against Defendants in their official capacities, any claim for monetary damages is barred by the Eleventh Amendment; (2) Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to show that Defendants personally participated in the constitutional deprivation; (3) Plaintiff's claim for compensatory damages is barred by the physical injury requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"); and (4) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. (ECF No. 30.)

Magistrate Judge Boland found that Plaintiff's official capacity claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment, and recommends dismissing these claims on that basis. (ECF No. 55 at 5-7.) Plaintiff does not object to this finding. (ECF No. 56.) Having reviewed the record, the Court sees no clear error in the Magistrate Judge's analysis. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 Advisory Committee's Note ("When no timely objection is filed, the court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face ...

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