Lonnie Clark Williams is a transgender Male California prison inmate who filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 in 2012 against Officers Daniel Paramo, R. Olsen, and E. Marrero of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego (RJD) and against the County of Los Angeles, alleging violations of his constitutional rights to due process of law and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Williams has been incarcerated since 2002. Williams has a prior conviction for assault with a deadly weapon but appears to be in prison now due to drug offenses.
Williams alleged that prison officials started rumors that he was a convicted sex offender and added an “R” suffix to his prison record, denoting that he had a history of sex offenses; that as a result of his designation as a sex offender, members of the Two-Five prison gang threatened him and stated that they would “get” him; that Williams attempted to report his complaints, but when he did, Paramo allegedly told him, “So what! That is not my problem! That is your problem!”; that despite Paramo’s rejection, Williams tried again; and that he attempted to file a grievance to the RJD appeals office on the afternoon of January 5, 2012, but Correctional Counselor R. Cobb refused to file his grievance and rejected his appeal.
Williams had been barred from filing in federal court in forma pauperis because of numerous frivilous filings, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit allowed his lawsuit. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a prisoner who is otherwise barred from proceeding in forma pauperis under its “three strikes” provision to show that he faces an imminent danger on appeal when a showing of such danger has already been made before the district court. The court found that Williams satisfied the presumption of continuing danger and that the trial court erred in dismissing Williams’s suit for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.