Dennis Dale Catchings v. J. Lewis et al

Filing 5

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND by Magistrate Judge Suzanne H. Segal. The Complaint is dismissed with leave to amend. If Plaintiff still wishes to pursue this action, he is granted thirty (30) days from the da te of this Memorandum and Order within which to file a First Amended Complaint. Plaintiff is strongly encouraged to utilize the standard civil rights complaint form when filing any amended complaint, a copy of which is attached. Plaintiff is further advised that is he no longer wishes to pursue this action, he may voluntarily dismiss it by filing a Notice of Dismissal in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). A form Notice of Dismissal is attached for Plaintiff's convenience. (See document for further details). (Attachments: # 1 Civil Rights Complaint Form, # 2 Notice of Dismissal Form) (mr)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DENNIS DALE CATCHINGS, Plaintiff, 12 13 14 Case No. CV 17-3293 ODW (SS) MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER v. DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH J. LEWIS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF C.C.H.C.S., 15 LEAVE TO AMEND Defendant. 16 17 18 I. 19 INTRODUCTION 20 21 On May 2, 2017, Dennis Dale Catchings (“Plaintiff”), a 22 California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint 23 alleging violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the American with 24 Disabilities 25 (“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1). 26 27 28 Act (“ADA”), and 42 U.S.C. § 2000. (Complaint 1 Congress mandates that district courts perform an initial 2 screening of complaints in civil actions where a prisoner seeks 3 redress 4 § 1915A(a). This Court may dismiss such a complaint, or any portion 5 thereof, 6 frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim upon which 7 relief can be granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant 8 who is immune from such relief. 9 also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) 10 (en banc). For the reasons stated below, the Complaint is DISMISSED 11 with leave to amend.1 from a before governmental service of entity process or if employee. the 28 complaint U.S.C. (1) is 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1-2); see 12 13 II. 14 ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT 15 16 Plaintiff sues J. Lewis (“Defendant”), Deputy Director of 17 Policy and Risk Management Services for California Correctional 18 Health Care Services (“CCHCS”) in both his individual and official 19 capacities. (Compl. at 3).2 20 21 The substantive allegations of the Complaint allege that, as 22 an 23 Corrections and Rehabilitation,” Plaintiff filed an ADA Reasonable 24 Modification or Accommodation Request for a “walking cane, back 25 26 inmate “in the custody of the California Department of Magistrate judges may dismiss a complaint with leave to amend without approval of the district judge. See McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th Cir. 1991). 1 27 28 The Court will cite to the Complaint and its attachments as though they were consecutively paginated. 2 2 1 brace, mattress supporter, mobility impaired vest, and a lower tier 2 chrono [sic] to no avail.” 3 states 4 (Id.). that Defendant (Id. at 6). denied The Complaint further Plaintiff’s third level appeal. 5 6 Attachments to the Complaint provide further detail regarding 7 Plaintiff’s claims. 8 at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County (“CSP-LAC”). 9 (Id. at 11). Plaintiff’s initial Reasonable Accommodation Request, 10 dated September 13, 2016, stated that he had “a physical disability 11 due 12 distances, climbing stairs/sitting and laying down.” 13 September 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed an appeal, stating that the 14 prison denied his accommodation request “without having [him] 15 examined by a doctor, discriminating against [him].” to lower back Plaintiff was at all relevant times an inmate pain” and was “having difficulty walking (Id.). On (Id. at 10). 16 17 On February 15, 2017, Defendant, on behalf of CCHCS, denied 18 Plaintiff’s third level appeal because there was “no documentation 19 that [Plaintiff’s] primary care provider determined [that there 20 was] [sic], mattress 21 supporter, mobility vest, back brace and walking cane.” (Id. at 22 8). 23 attended a follow-up primary care physician evaluation and received 24 an x-ray showing mild degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, 25 noting that there was a plan of care in place that Plaintiff’s 26 doctor had discussed with him. a medical necessity for a lower tier Defendant also wrote that on October 24, 2016, Plaintiff (Id.). 27 28 3 1 Plaintiff seeks $10,000 in compensatory damages for “pain and 2 suffering” and injunctive relief ordering CCHCS to accommodate his 3 request for the following “medical necessities: (1) [a] walking 4 cane, (2) [a] back brace. (3) [a] mattress, (4) [a] mobility 5 impaired vest, [and] (5) [a] lower tier chrono.” (Id. at 7). 6 7 III. 8 DISCUSSION 9 10 Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court must dismiss the 11 Complaint due to pleading defects. 12 a pro se litigant leave to amend his defective complaint unless 13 “it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint 14 could not be cured by amendment.” Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 15 1212 and 16 omitted). 17 clear” that the defects of Plaintiff’s Complaint could not be cured 18 by amendment. 19 to amend. (9th Cir. 2012) (citation However, the Court must grant internal quotation marks For reasons discussed below, it is not “absolutely Accordingly, the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave 20 21 22 A. Lewis Is An Improper Defendant Because Plaintiff Does Not Have A Right To A Particular Grievance Procedure Or Outcome 23 24 The gravamen of Plaintiff’s claims is that Defendants wrongly 25 denied his request for reasonable accommodations. 26 Lewis’s only involvement in the denial was that as the Deputy 27 Director of Health Care Appeals for the CCHCS, he signed the letter 28 denying Plaintiff’s third level 4 grievance (Compl. at 5). appeal. Though a 1 prisoner must “exhaust his administrative remedies before filing a 2 lawsuit concerning prison conditions,” Sapp v. Kimbrell, 623 F.3d 3 813, 821 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)), the denial 4 of 5 liability. 6 1999). 7 particular grievance process. 8 Cir. 1988). a grievance, without more, is insufficient to establish See Shehee v. Luttrell, 1999 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. Additionally, there is no constitutional right to a Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639 (9th 9 10 Here, Plaintiff merely alleges that Defendant denied his 11 appeal. (Compl. at 5). 12 constitutional 13 grievance process. 14 allegedly unconstitutional conduct is ‘the denial of administrative 15 grievances or the failure to act, the defendant cannot be liable 16 under § 1983.’” 17 (E.D. Wash. 2014) (quoting Shehee, 199 F.3d at 300). 18 the Complaint is dismissed, with leave to amend. claim However, a plaintiff “cannot state a based on his dissatisfaction with the Where the defendant’s only involvement in the Grenning v. Klemme, 34 F. Supp. 3d 1144, 1157 Accordingly, 19 20 B. Plaintiff Fails To Allege A Deliberate Indifference Claim 21 22 Plaintiff attempts to state a constitutional claim based on 23 the failure to accommodate his medical needs. To state an Eighth 24 Amendment claim based on a prisoner’s medical treatment, a prisoner 25 must demonstrate that the defendant was “deliberately indifferent” 26 to his “serious medical needs.” 27 1096 (9th Cir. 2006). 28 prisoner must demonstrate that “failure to treat a prisoner’s Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, To establish a “serious medical need,” the 5 1 condition could result in further significant 2 ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.’” 3 injury or the 1096 (citation omitted). Jett, 439 F.3d at 4 5 To establish the defendant’s “deliberate indifference” to a 6 serious medical need, a plaintiff must demonstrate: “(a) a 7 purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner’s pain or 8 possible medical need, and (b) harm caused by the indifference.” 9 (Id.). Deliberate indifference “may appear when prison officials 10 deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or 11 it may be shown by the way in which prison physicians provide 12 medical care.” 13 been subjectively aware of a serious risk of harm and must have 14 consciously disregarded that risk. (Id.) (citations omitted). The defendant must have 15 16 The Complaint fails to state a deliberate indifference claim. 17 First, the Complaint’s conclusory language does not clearly 18 establish that Plaintiff has or had a serious medical need. (Compl. 19 at 5). 20 complaint is lower back pain that was treated with Tylenol. 21 at 17). 22 medical need.” 23 deliberate indifference to that serious medical need. Exhibits attached to the Complaint indicate that his chief (Id. It is not clear that Plaintiff’s back pain was a “serious Even if it were, Plaintiff has not demonstrated 24 25 The Complaint also fails to allege that Defendant was 26 subjectively aware of Plaintiff’s serious medical needs but chose 27 to 28 Defendant notes that Plaintiff attended a follow-up appointment ignore them. In the letter 6 denying Plaintiff’s appeal, 1 with 2 disease in the lumbar spine, and had a “plan of care” in place that 3 his physician reviewed with him. 4 demonstrate a deliberate indifference to medical needs claim. 5 Furthermore, the named defendant does not appear to be a proper 6 defendant for such a claim, as he did not provide medical treatment 7 to Plaintiff nor was he involved in Plaintiff’s medical care. 8 Accordingly, to the extent that Plaintiff is attempting to assert 9 a deliberate indifference claim, the claim is dismissed, but with 10 his doctor, received an x-ray showing (Id.). mild degenerative These exhibits do not leave to amend. 11 12 C. Plaintiff Fails To State A Claim Under The ADA 13 14 Plaintiff also unsuccessfully attempts to state a claim for 15 relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. 16 §§ 12101 et seq. 17 entity’ from discriminating against a ‘qualified individual with a 18 disability on account of that individual’s disability,’ [] covers 19 inmates in state prisons.” 20 524 U.S. 206, 208 (1998) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 12132). 21 compliance with the Act, “Title II authorizes suits by private 22 citizens,” including prisoners, “for money damages against public 23 entities that violate § 12132.” 24 151, 154 (2006) (sovereign immunity does not protect states from 25 ADA claims by state prisoners). Title II of the ADA, which “prohibits a ‘public Pennsylvania Dept. of Corr. v. Yeskey, To achieve United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 26 27 28 7 1 2 To state a claim under § 12132 of Title II, a plaintiff must allege that: 3 4 “(1) he is an individual with a disability; (2) he is 5 otherwise qualified to participate in or receive the 6 benefit of some public entity’s services, programs, or 7 activities; 8 participation in or denied the benefits of the public 9 entity’s (3) services, he was either programs, or excluded activities, from or was 10 otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; 11 and 12 discrimination was by reason of [his] disability.” (4) such exclusion, denial of benefits, or 13 14 Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1021 (9th Cir. 15 2010) (inmate’s failure to show that his “exclusion from outdoor 16 recreation [by jail officers] was by reason of his depression” was 17 fatal to his Title II claim) (quoting McGary v. City of Portland, 18 386 F.3d 1259, 1265 (9th Cir. 2004)). 19 20 “The ADA prohibits discrimination because of disability, not 21 inadequate treatment for disability.” Simmons, 609 F.3d at 1022 22 (emphasis added) (county jail’s failure to “lessen [inmate’s] 23 depression” by offering programs or activities “is not actionable 24 under the ADA”). 25 does not state a claim under the ADA. 26 Madigan, 84 F.3d 426, 429 (7th Cir. 1996) (“[T]he Act would not be 27 violated by a prison’s simply failing to attend to the medical 28 needs of its disabled prisoners . . . . The ADA does not create a The mere provision of inadequate medical care 8 Id. (citing Bryant v. 1 remedy for medical malpractice.”)); see also Elbert v. N.Y. State 2 Dept. of Corr. Servs., 751 F. Supp. 2d 590, 595 (S.D. N.Y. 2010) 3 (“Courts routinely dismiss ADA suits by disabled inmates that 4 allege inadequate medical treatment, but do not allege that the 5 inmate was treated differently because of his or her disability.”) 6 (citing cases); Carrion v. Wilkinson, 309 F. Supp. 2d 1007, 1016 7 (N.D. Ohio 2004) (inmate failed to state ADA claim where he alleged 8 only that the prison had refused to provide him with a diabetic 9 diet, but did not allege that prison officials denied the him “the 10 benefits of any services, programs, or activities provided for 11 other 12 discrimination because of his diabetes”). non-disabled inmates, or that they subjected him to 13 14 Plaintiff’s conclusory allegations do not establish an ADA 15 claim. Plaintiff must allege facts showing that the prison’s 16 purported refusal to accommodate his disability prevented him from 17 enjoying the benefits of services, programs or activities provided 18 to non-disabled prisoners, and that he was discriminated against 19 because of his disability. 20 dismissed, with leave to amend. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s ADA claim is 21 22 IV. 23 CONCLUSION 24 25 For the reasons stated above, the Complaint is dismissed with 26 leave to amend. If Plaintiff still wishes to pursue this action, 27 he is granted thirty (30) days from the date of this Memorandum 28 and Order within which to file a First Amended Complaint. 9 In any 1 amended complaint, the Plaintiff shall cure the defects described 2 above. 3 allegations that are not reasonably related to the claims asserted 4 in the original complaint. 5 shall be complete in itself and shall bear both the designation 6 “First Amended Complaint” and the case number assigned to this 7 action. 8 complaint in this matter. Plaintiff shall not include new defendants or new The First Amended Complaint, if any, It shall not refer in any manner to any previously filed 9 10 In any amended complaint, Plaintiff should confine his 11 allegations to those operative facts supporting each of his claims. 12 Plaintiff 13 Procedure 8(a), all that is required is a “short and plain statement 14 of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” 15 Plaintiff is strongly encouraged to utilize the standard civil 16 rights complaint form when filing any amended complaint, a copy of 17 which is attached. 18 identify the nature of each separate legal claim and make clear 19 what specific factual allegations support each of his separate 20 claims. 21 concise and to omit irrelevant details. 22 Plaintiff to cite case law or include legal argument. 23 is also advised to omit any claims for which he lacks a sufficient 24 factual basis. is advised that pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil In any amended complaint, Plaintiff should Plaintiff is strongly encouraged to keep his statements It is not necessary for Plaintiff 25 26 Plaintiff is explicitly cautioned that failure to timely file 27 a First Amended Complaint or failure to correct the deficiencies 28 described above, will result in a recommendation that this action 10 1 be dismissed with prejudices for failure to prosecute and obey 2 court orders pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). 3 Plaintiff is further advised that is he no longer wishes to pursue 4 this action, he may 5 Dismissal in accordance 6 41(a)(1). A form Notice of Dismissal is attached for Plaintiff’s 7 convenience. voluntarily dismiss it by filing a Notice of with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 9 DATED: June 2, 2017 10 /S/ __________ SUZANNE H. SEGAL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 11

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