Unpublished Disposition, 872 F.2d 430 (9th Cir. 1989)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 872 F.2d 430 (9th Cir. 1989)

Albert O'Neal SCOTT, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.Daryle BATSON; Gordon F. Yach, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 88-1612.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted*  Jan. 13, 1989.Submission Vacated Jan. 27, 1989.Resubmitted March 27, 1989.Decided April 10, 1989.

Before WILLIAM A. NORRIS, NOONAN and LEAVY, Circuit Judges.


Appellant Scott brought this Sec. 1983 action in district court seeking injunctive and damage relief for alleged constitutional violations which occurred while appellant was a pretrial detainee at the Clark County Correctional Center. Specifically, appellant claims (1) that appellee prison officials denied him adequate access to prison library facilities in violation of the First, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, and (2) that appellees failed to provide adequate medical treatment for viral infections appellant suffered in the Spring of 1987, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court granted appellees' motion to dismiss both of appellant's claims, holding that appellant had failed to state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and that district court consideration of appellant's inadequate access claims was barred by the abstention doctrine first discussed in Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971).

After the case was submitted to us, we vacated submission and called for supplemental briefing on the question whether appellant's claim for injunctive relief, as distinguished from his claim for money damages, is moot. See Unpublished Order, January 27, 1989. On the basis of these supplemental briefs, we now affirm the district court's dismissal of appellant's Eighth Amendment claim and remand to the district court to consider appellant's claim for monetary relief stemming from the alleged constitutionally inadequate access to prison library facilities.

* The district court dismissed appellant's Eighth Amendment claim because prison officials did not manifest a "deliberate indifference to a serious medical need," which is the Eighth Amendment standard the Supreme Court laid down in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). We agree with the district court that neither a "head cold" nor a "sore throat"--the symptoms appellant alleges--is a "serious medical need" for the purposes of the Eighth Amendment. Accordingly, we affirm the dismissal of this claim.


Appellant's claim for injunctive relief stemming from inadequate access to library facilities is now moot. Appellant is no longer being held at the Clark County Correctional Center, and all state court criminal proceedings against him have terminated.

This leaves appellant's claim for monetary damages stemming from the inadequate access. The district court declined to adjudicate this claim because of Younger abstention principles. Since Younger is applicable only when there are state court proceedings pending or imminent, Younger is no longer a bar to federal court adjudication of appellant's Sec. 1983 claim for monetary damages. Although we are unable to determine what, if any, damages appellant has suffered as a result of the alleged inadequate access, this is a matter for the district court to consider in the first instance. Accordingly, we remand to the district court to consider appellant's claim for monetary damages resulting from the alleged inadequate access to prison library facilities. We do so without expressing any opinion on the merits of that claim.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a) and Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Circuit Rule 36-3