Schwarzenegger claims in new legal docs ... he is not personally responsible for an outbreak in Pleasant Valley State Prison, where spores in the soil triggered an epidemic of Valley Fever -- a disease that attacks the body's organs and leads to skin lesions, amputations and brain damage.
Arnold's being sued by inmates who claim they got sick because of his indifference -- warehousing prisoner where dangerous spores were in abundance.
But in the court docs Arnold says he was not indifferent ... he even held a news conference acknowledging the problem. But he says he was busy running the state and others were responsible for solving prison problems.
In essence ... Arnold is saying he's not personally responsible but if his underlings screwed up then the State might be on the hook.