Oden v. State of California, et al.

Filing 8

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND signed by Magistrate Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe on 10/15/2014. Amended Complaint due by 11/17/2014. (Attachments: # 1 Complaint Form)(Lundstrom, T)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 DERRICK JESUS ODEN, SR., 12 13 14 Plaintiff, v. STATE OF CALIFORNIA, et al., 15 Defendants. 16 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Case No.: 1:14-cv-00873-LJO-BAM (PC) SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE 17 I. 18 19 Screening Requirement and Standard Plaintiff Derrick Jesus Oden, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff’s complaint, filed on June 9, 20 2014, is currently before the Court for screening. 21 The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 22 governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 23 1915A(a). Plaintiff’s complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or 24 malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief 25 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 26 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 27 28 A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but 1 1 “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, 2 do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell 3 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff’s 4 allegations are taken as true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences.” Doe I v. 5 Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation 6 omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff’s claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient 7 8 factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the 9 misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. 10 United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant 11 acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the 12 plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 13 F.3d at 969. Plaintiff’s Allegations 14 II. 15 Plaintiff is currently housed at California State Prison, Lancaster. Plaintiff has named the 16 following defendants: (1) Anthony Grounds, Warden at Salinas Valley State Prison; (2) Governor of 17 California Brown; and (3) the State of California. 18 Plaintiff alleges as follows: 19 While housed in Prison at Northern Kern Prison in Delano Plaintiff contracted Valley Fever. This was October 2010. Defendants were aware of the Valley Fever in the area as well as the fact that Plaintiff had asthma. Plaintiff was rushed to Delano Reginal Hospetal with a fever of 104. Plaintiff now suffer from weakness, chronic pain, skin discoloration, painful caughs, he aches, night sweats, joint pain, and other problems associated with the Valley Fever including Psychological and neurological. Plaintiff also claim hes not getting adequate medical care for pain. 20 21 22 23 24 (ECF No. 1, p. 3) (unedited text). Plaintiff seeks ten million dollars, compassionate release and 25 non-formulary medications to treat the Valley Fever. 26 /// 27 /// 28 /// 2 1 2 III. Discussion A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 3 Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain “a short and plain 4 statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Detailed 5 factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, 6 supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation omitted). 7 Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is 8 plausible on its face.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. at 1974). 9 While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.; see also Twombly, 550 10 11 U.S. at 556–557. Here, Plaintiff’s complaint is short, but it fails to set forth sufficient factual matter to state a 12 claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Plaintiff’s complaint lacks basic facts, including what 13 happened and who was involved in his placement at North Kern State Prison, how defendants were 14 aware that he had asthma, when he was first housed at North Kern State Prison, and the care he did or 15 did not receive. Plaintiff will be given leave to cure these deficiencies. 16 B. Linkage Requirement 17 The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: 18 Every person who, under color of [state law] ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution ... shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 19 20 21 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute plainly requires that there be an actual connection or link between the 22 actions of the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered by Plaintiff. See Monell v. 23 Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 24 362, 96 S.Ct. 598, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1976). The Ninth Circuit has held that “[a] person ‘subjects’ 25 another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an 26 affirmative act, participates in another’s affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally 27 required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 28 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). 3 Here, Plaintiff fails to link any individual defendant to a constitutional violation. Instead, 1 2 Plaintiff lumps the individual defendants together with the State. Plaintiff will be given leave to cure 3 this deficiency. If Plaintiff elects to amend his complaint, he must allege what each individual 4 defendant did or did not do that resulted in a violation of his rights. C. Eleventh Amendment 5 To the extent Plaintiff seeks to bring claims against the State for monetary damages, he may 6 7 not do so. The Eleventh Amendment prohibits suits for monetary damages against a State, its 8 agencies, and state officials acting in their official capacities. Aholelei v. Dep’t of Public Safety, 488 9 F.3d 1144, 1147 (9th Cir. 2007). D. Deliberate Indifference/Cruel and Unusual Punishment 10 To constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, prison 11 12 conditions must involve “the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 13 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). A prisoner's claim does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation 14 unless (1) “the prison official deprived the prisoner of the “minimal civilized measure of life's 15 necessities,” and (2) “the prison official ‘acted with deliberate indifference in doing so.’” Toguchi v. 16 Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 17 2002) (citation omitted)). In order to find a prison official liable under the Eighth Amendment for 18 denying humane conditions of confinement within a prison, the official must know “that inmates face 19 a substantial risk of serious harm and disregard [ ] that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to 20 abate it.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994). Here, Plaintiff has not set forth sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for deliberate 21 22 indifference against any individual. Plaintiff’s complaint is filled with conclusory statements and does 23 not demonstrate that the Warden of Salinas Valley State Prison or the Governor knew of a substantial 24 risk of serious harm to Plaintiff by his placement at North Kern State Prison and failed to take 25 reasonable measures to abate it. Further, Plaintiff’s decision to lump all defendants together rather 26 than identifying those persons he believes are responsible for the constitutional violations also is not 27 sufficient. Plaintiff will be given leave to cure these deficiencies. 28 /// 4 E. Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs 1 2 “[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate 3 must show ‘deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.’” Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 4 (9th Cir .2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 291, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 5 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires the plaintiff to show (1) “a ‘serious 6 medical need’ by demonstrating that failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further 7 significant injury or the ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,’” and (2) “the defendant's 8 response to the need was deliberately indifferent.” Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096; Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 9 F.3d 1113, 1122 (9th Cir. 2012). 10 Deliberate indifference is shown where the official is aware of a serious medical need and fails 11 to adequately respond. Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1018 (9th Cir. 2010). 12 “Deliberate indifference is a high legal standard.” Id. at 1019; Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1060 13 (9th Cir. 2004). The prison official must be aware of facts from which he could make an inference that 14 “a substantial risk of serious harm exists” and he must make the inference. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. 15 Although Plaintiff complains of inadequate medical care, he does not provide sufficient factual 16 allegations to state a cognizable claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against any 17 individual defendant. Plaintiff will be given leave to cure this deficiency. 18 IV. 19 Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim against any individual defendant. The Court will 20 grant Plaintiff an opportunity to cure the identified deficiencies. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 21 (9th Cir. 2000). 22 Conclusion and Order Plaintiff’s amended complaint should be brief, Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), but it must state what each 23 named defendant did that led to the deprivation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 24 678-79, 129 S.Ct. at 1948-49. Although accepted as true, the “[f]actual allegations must be 25 [sufficient] to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 26 (citations omitted). 27 28 5 1 Additionally, Plaintiff may not change the nature of this suit by adding new, unrelated claims 2 in his first amended complaint. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007) (no “buckshot” 3 complaints). 4 Finally, Plaintiff is advised that an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. 5 Lacey v. Maricopa County, 693 F.3d 896, 927 (9th Cir. 2012). Therefore, Plaintiff’s amended 6 complaint must be “complete in itself without reference to the prior or superseded pleading.” Local 7 Rule 220. 8 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 9 1. The Clerk’s Office shall send Plaintiff a complaint form; 10 2. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed with leave to amend; 11 3. Within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this order, Plaintiff shall file a first 12 13 14 amended complaint; and 4. If Plaintiff fails to file a first amended complaint in compliance with this order, this action will be dismissed for failure to obey a court order and failure to state a claim. 15 16 17 18 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: /s/ Barbara October 15, 2014 A. McAuliffe _ UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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