Chester v. King, et al.

Filing 9

SCREENING ORDER - ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT for Failure to State a Claim, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND 1 , 8 ; ORDER for Clerk to Send Plaintiff a Civil Complaint Form, signed by Magistrate Judge Gary S. Austin on 8/22/17: 30-Day Deadline. (Attachments: # 1 Amended Complaint - blank form)(Hellings, J)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RAYMOND D. CHESTER, 12 Plaintiff, 13 vs. 14 AUDREY KING, et al., 15 Defendants. 1:16-cv-01257-DAD-GSA-PC SCREENING ORDER ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1; Resolves ECF No. 8.) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE FOR PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT 16 17 ORDER FOR CLERK TO SEND PLAINTIFF A CIVIL COMPLAINT FORM 18 19 20 21 I. BACKGROUND 22 Raymond D. Chester (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma 23 pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On August 25, 2016, 24 Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff’s Complaint is now before the court for screening. 25 26 II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT 27 The in forma pauperis statute provides that “the court shall dismiss the case at any time 28 if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief 1 1 may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). “Rule 8(a)’s simplified pleading standard 2 applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions,” none of which applies to section 1983 3 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). A 4 complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is 5 entitled to relief . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). “Such a statement must simply give the 6 defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” 7 Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare 8 recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not 9 suffice,” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell 10 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts “are not 11 required to indulge unwarranted inferences,” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 12 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are 13 accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. However, “the liberal 14 pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff’s factual allegations.” Neitze v. Williams, 490 15 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). “[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply 16 essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Bruns v. Nat’l Credit Union 17 Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 18 268 (9th Cir. 1982)). 19 Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally 20 participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 21 2002) (emphasis added). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state 22 a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 23 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility 24 standard. Id. 25 III. 26 SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT Plaintiff is presently housed at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California, 27 where the events at issue in the Complaint allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants 28 /// 2 1 Audrey King (Executive Director), Jagsir Sandhu, M.D. (Chief Medical Officer), and Bradley 2 Powers, M.D. (Unit Physician), who were all employed at CSH during the relevant time period. 3 Plaintiff’s allegations follow, in their entirety. 4 Plaintiff has Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver. Hepatitis C will destroy my liver and kill plaintiff if it is not treated. However, there is a cure for Hepatitis C. This cure is a drug called Harvoni. Harvoni is the only available treatment that will cure my Hepatitis C disease. 5 6 At least three times since July 31, 2015, plaintiff has requested Hepatitis C treatment, but no treatment has commenced over the past year. I have been repeatedly told that “approval is needed” to treat my Hepatitis C. As of December 29, 2015, “a referral for an infectious disease consultant [was] made to address treatment of [plaintiff’s] Hepatitis C.” Nothing else has happened to actually provide plaintiff with Hepatitis C treatment. 7 8 9 10 Please see copies of three responses to plaintiff’s three separate administrative complaints requesting Hepatitis C treatment. 11 12 (ECF No. 1 at 3.) Plaintiff requests monetary damages and injunctive relief. 13 IV. PLAINTIFF’S MEDICAL CLAIM 14 The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: 15 Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . . 16 17 18 19 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 20 “[Section] 1983 ‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,’ but merely provides ‘a 21 method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.’” Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 22 393-94 (1989) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979)); see also Chapman 23 v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 618 (1979); Hall v. City of Los Angeles, 697 24 F.3d 1059, 1068 (9th Cir. 2012); Crowley v. Nevada, 678 F.3d 730, 734 (9th Cir. 2012); 25 Anderson v. Warner, 451 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2006). “To the extent that the violation of 26 a state law amounts to the deprivation of a state-created interest that reaches beyond that 27 guaranteed by the federal Constitution, Section 1983 offers no redress.” Id. 28 /// 3 1 To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) the defendant acted under 2 color of state law and (2) the defendant deprived him or her of rights secured by the 3 Constitution or federal law. Long v. County of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 4 2006); see also Marsh v. Cnty. of San Diego, 680 F.3d 1148, 1158 (9th Cir. 2012) (discussing 5 “under color of state law”). A person deprives another of a constitutional right, “within the 6 meaning of § 1983, ‘if he does an affirmative act, participates in another’s affirmative act, or 7 omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which 8 complaint is made.’” Preschooler II v. Clark Cnty. Sch. Bd. of Trs., 479 F.3d 1175, 1183 (9th 9 Cir. 2007) (quoting Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978)). “The requisite 10 causal connection may be established when an official sets in motion a ‘series of acts by others 11 which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict’ constitutional 12 harms.” Preschooler II, 479 F.3d at 1183 (quoting Johnson, 588 F.2d at 743). This standard of 13 causation “closely resembles the standard ‘foreseeability’ formulation of proximate cause.” 14 Arnold v. Int’l Bus. Mach. Corp., 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981); see also Harper v. City 15 of Los Angeles, 533 F.3d 1010, 1026 (9th Cir. 2008). 16 As a civil detainee, Plaintiff=s right to medical care is protected by the substantive 17 component of the Due Process Clause. Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 315, 102 S.Ct. 18 2452 (1982). A determination whether Plaintiff’s rights were violated requires “balancing of 19 his liberty interests against the relevant state interests.” Id. at 321. Plaintiff is “entitled to more 20 considerate treatment and conditions of confinement than criminals whose conditions of 21 confinement are designed to punish,” but the Constitution requires only that courts ensure that 22 professional judgment was exercised. Id. at 321-22. A “decision, if made by a professional, is 23 presumptively valid; liability may be imposed only when the decision by the professional is 24 such a substantial departure from accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards as to 25 demonstrate that the person responsible actually did not base the decision on such a judgment.” 26 Id. at 322-23. 27 Here, Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that any of the named 28 Defendants’ actions substantially departed from accepted professional judgment. In fact, 4 1 Plaintiff fails to link any Defendant with an affirmative act, participation in another’s 2 affirmative act, or omission to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the 3 deprivation of which complaint is made. 4 demonstrating what each of the named defendants did that caused the deprivation of his rights. 5 A supervisor is only liable for the constitutional violations of . . . subordinates if the supervisor 6 participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent 7 them. There is no respondeat superior liability under [§] 1983.” Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 8 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (citations omitted). The written responses to Plaintiff’s administrative 9 complaints indicate that his doctor is aware of his concerns and Plaintiff has been referred to a 10 specialist so that treatment can be decided. This suggests a professional judgment to which the 11 courts generally must defer. Plaintiff does not allege that any of the Defendants knew of any 12 specific need for the treatment that Plaintiff wants. Nor has Plaintiff shown that his failure to 13 receive this medication substantially deviated from professional standards. No specific harm is 14 alleged. Plaintiff will be granted leave to amend to cure these deficiencies. 15 V. To state a claim, Plaintiff must allege facts CONCLUSION AND ORDER 16 The court finds that Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state any claim upon which relief may 17 be granted under § 1983. The court will dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim and 18 give Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint addressing the issues described above. 19 Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[t]he court should freely 20 give leave to amend when justice so requires.” Accordingly, the court will provide Plaintiff an 21 opportunity to file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies identified above. Lopez v. 22 Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff is granted leave to file the First 23 Amended Complaint within thirty days. 24 The First Amended Complaint must allege facts showing what each named defendant 25 did that led to the deprivation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Iqbal, 26 556 U.S. at 678; Jones, 297 F.3d at 934. Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant 27 personally participated in the deprivation of his rights by their actions. Id. at 676-77 (emphasis 28 added). 5 1 Plaintiff should note that although he has been given the opportunity to amend, it is not 2 for the purpose of changing the nature of this suit or adding unrelated claims. George v. Smith, 3 507 F.3d 605, 607 (no “buckshot” complaints). Plaintiff is not granted leave to add allegations 4 of events occurring after the date he filed the Complaint, August 25, 2016. 5 Plaintiff is advised that an amended complaint supercedes the original complaint, Lacey 6 v. Maricopa County, 693 F 3d. 896, 907 n.1 (9th Cir. 2012) (en banc), and it must be complete 7 in itself without reference to the prior or superceded pleading, Local Rule 220. Therefore, in an 8 amended complaint, as in an original complaint, each claim and the involvement of each 9 defendant must be sufficiently alleged. The amended complaint should be clearly and boldly 10 titled “First Amended Complaint,” refer to the appropriate case number, and be an original 11 signed under penalty of perjury. 12 Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 13 1. 14 Plaintiff’s Complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend; 15 2. The Clerk’s Office shall send Plaintiff a civil rights complaint form; 16 3. Plaintiff is granted leave to file a First Amended Complaint curing the 17 deficiencies identified by the court in this order, within thirty (30) days from 18 the date of service of this order; 19 4. 20 21 Plaintiff shall caption the amended complaint “First Amended Complaint” and refer to the case number 1:16-cv-01257-DAD-GSA-PC; and 5. 22 If Plaintiff fails to file a First Amended Complaint within thirty days, this case shall be dismissed for failure to state a claim. 23 24 25 26 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: August 22, 2017 /s/ Gary S. Austin UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 27 28 6

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