California Immune from Asbestos Exposure Civil Rights Claim by Prisoner-Employee U.S. District Court, N.D. California, January 10, 2019

CALIFORNIA – The plaintiff Darryl Schilling (plaintiff), incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, filed a civil rights action, pro se, asserting that his constitutional rights were violated under Section 1983 by the defendant California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) since it showed “knowing indifference” to the plaintiff’s health and safety in having him work at the San Quentin furniture factory in a position that exposed the plaintiff to asbestos; rebuffing his stated concerns; and, eventually, retaliating by firing him for his complaints.  CALPIA filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).

The Northern District granted CALPIA’s motion, on the basis that the Eleventh Amendment barred liability.  Specifically, the Eleventh Amendment bars from federal court actions against a state or a state agency by U.S. citizens.  And, according to the Northern District, since California has not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity with regard to 1983 claims, it did not do so in the instant matter, CALPIA, a state agency, cannot be liable for monetary damages to the plaintiff.

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