Bruce W. Miller v. Vega

Filing 6

ORDER DISMISSING CASE WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, signed by Magistrate Judge Sheila K. Oberto on 03/16/2015. (30-Day Deadline) (Attachments: # 1 Amended Complaint Form)(Martin-Gill, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 BRUCE WAYNE MILLER, Plaintiff, 11 FIRST SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 v. 12 13 Case No. 1:14-cv-00919-SKO (PC) DR. VEGA, et al., (Doc. 1) Defendants. 14 THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE 15 _____________________________________/ 16 17 First Screening Order 18 I. Screening Requirement and Standard 19 Plaintiff Bruce Wayne Miller, a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, 20 filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 16, 2014. The Court is required 21 to screen Plaintiff=s complaint and dismiss the case, in whole or in part, if the Court determines it 22 fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 23 A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the 24 pleader is entitled to relief. . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not 25 required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere 26 conclusory statements, do not suffice,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 27 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and 28 courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences,” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 1 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual 2 allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Pro se litigants 3 are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their 4 favor, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121-23 (9th Cir. 2012); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 5 342 (9th Cir. 2010), but Plaintiff=s claims must be facially plausible to survive screening, which 6 requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant 7 is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. 8 U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant 9 acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the 10 plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969. 11 II. Discussion 12 Plaintiff is a civil detainee at Coalinga State Hospital (“CSH”) in Coalinga, California, and 13 he brings this action for monetary damages against Dr. Vega, a psychiatrist, and David Lewright, a 14 unit supervisor. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Vegas is unlicensed, and is creating “extreme 15 false hoods” and using his position to force medication on a “civil not committed detainee.”1 16 (Doc. 1, Comp., p. 2.) Plaintiff also alleges that CSH is “operating to conceal and to prescribe and 17 to threaten.” (Id.) Finally, Plaintiff alleges that psych techs have been harassing Native American 18 patients and taking their sacred religious items, and he is being retaliated against for complaining 19 about the harassment. Plaintiff’s vague, conclusory allegations of misconduct do not suffice to support any 20 21 claims for relief under section 1983 against Defendants Vega and Lewright. The Court will 22 provide Plaintiff with the following legal standards. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint 23 within thirty days, and he is cautioned to carefully review the following legal standards and set 24 forth specific facts demonstrating the violation of his rights by the named defendants. 25 Under section 1983, Plaintiff must link the named defendants to the participation in the 26 violation at issue. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 27 28 1 Plaintiff’s allegation that Dr. Vega is unlicensed is incorrect. The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that Glenn A. Vega, M.D., is currently licensed by the California Medical Board. Fed. R. Evid. 201; Daniels-Hall v. Nat’l Educ. Ass’n, 629 F.3d 992, 998-99 (9th Cir. 2010). 2 1 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones v. 2 Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Liability may not be imposed under a theory of 3 respondeat superior, and there must exist some causal connection between the conduct of each 4 named defendant and the violation at issue. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Lemire v. California Dep’t 5 of Corr. and Rehab., 726 F.3d 1062, 1074-75 (9th Cir. 2013); Lacey v. Maricopa County, 693 6 F.3d 896, 915-16 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc); Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-08 (9th Cir. 2011), 7 cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 2101 (2012). 8 In general, as a civil detainee, Plaintiff is entitled to treatment more considerate than that 9 afforded pretrial detainees or convicted criminals, Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 931-32 (9th Cir. 10 2004), and Plaintiff’s right to constitutionally adequate conditions of confinement is protected by 11 the substantive component of the Due Process Clause, Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 315, 12 102 S.Ct. 2452 (1982). A determination whether Plaintiff’s rights were violated requires 13 “balancing of his liberty interests against the relevant state interests.” Youngberg, 457 U.S. at 321. 14 Plaintiff is “entitled to more considerate treatment and conditions of confinement than criminals 15 whose conditions of confinement are designed to punish,” but the Constitution requires only that 16 courts ensure that professional judgment was exercised. Youngberg, 457 U.S. at 321-22. 17 Allegations of retaliation against a detainee’s First Amendment rights to speech or to 18 petition the government may support a section 1983 claim. Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 19 1114-15 (9th Cir. 2012); Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1104 (9th Cir. 2011). However, 20 Plaintiff’s complaint sets forth no specific facts supporting a claim that Defendants Vega and 21 Lewright took some adverse action against him because of his engagement in protected conduct, 22 and that such action chilled the exercise of his First Amendment rights and did not reasonably 23 advance a legitimate state interest. Watison, 668 F.3d at 1114-15; Silva, 658 F.3d at 1104. The 24 conclusory assertion that Plaintiff was retaliated against for complaining about harassment does 25 not suffice to support a plausible claim for relief. 26 Plaintiff also has a right to avoid the involuntary administration of antipsychotic 27 medication in the absence of due process, but his right is not unfettered and the bare assertion that 28 3 1 he cannot be forcibly medicated is neither accurate under the law nor sufficient to support a viable 2 claim for relief. Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22, 110 S.Ct. 1028 (1990). 3 III. Conclusion and Order 4 Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state any claims upon which relief may be granted under 5 section 1983. The Court will provide Plaintiff with the opportunity to file an amended complaint. 6 Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212-13 (9th Cir. 2012); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th 7 Cir. 2000). Plaintiff’s amended complaint should be brief, Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a), but it must state 8 what each named defendant did that led to the deprivation of Plaintiff’s federal rights and liability 9 may not be imposed on supervisory personnel under the theory of mere respondeat superior, 10 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-07 (9th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 11 132 S.Ct. 2101 (2012). Although accepted as true, the “[f]actual allegations must be [sufficient] to 12 raise a right to relief above the speculative level. . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations 13 omitted). Finally, an amended complaint supercedes the original complaint, Lacey, 693 F.3d at 14 907 n.1, and it must be “complete in itself without reference to the prior or superceded pleading,” 15 Local Rule 220. 16 Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 17 1. 18 Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim under section 1983; 19 2. The Clerk’s Office shall send Plaintiff a civil rights complaint form; 20 3. Within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this order, Plaintiff shall file an 21 22 amended complaint; and 4. 23 If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint in compliance with this order, this action will be dismissed, with prejudice, for failure to state a claim. 24 25 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 16, 2015 /s/ Sheila K. Oberto UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 27 28 4

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