Tejeda v. Mendez et al

Filing 8

ORDER DISMISSING Complaint WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, signed by Magistrate Judge Michael J. Seng on 1/23/17. Amended Complaint Due Within Thirty Days. (Attachments: # 1 Amended Complaint Form) (Marrujo, C)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 8 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 9 10 PEDRO TEJEDA, 11 Plaintiff, 12 13 CASE No. 1:16-cv-01792-MJS (PC) ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND v. (ECF No. 1) MENDEZ, et al., THIRTY (30) DAY DEADLINE 14 Defendants. 15 16 17 Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil 18 rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His complaint is before the Court for 19 screening. 20 I. Screening Requirement 21 The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief 22 against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 23 § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has 24 raised claims that are legally “frivolous, malicious,” or that fail to state a claim upon which 25 relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from 26 such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion 27 thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court 28 1 determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may 2 be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). 3 II. Pleading Standard 4 Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, 5 privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” 6 Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). 7 Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for 8 vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 9 (1989). 10 To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 11 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and 12 (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state 13 law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 14 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987). 15 A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that 16 the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations 17 are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, 18 supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 19 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). 20 Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief 21 that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere 22 possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are 23 accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78. 24 III. Plaintiff’s Allegations 25 Plaintiff is incarcerated at California Institution for Men (“CIM”) and complains of 26 acts that occurred there and at Avenal State Prison (“ASP”). He names the following 27 defendants: (1) Correctional Counselor (“CC”) 1 Mrs. Mendez, (2) CC1 Mr. Chavez, (3) 28 CC2 Mrs. Howard, (4) Mental Health Mrs. Burt, (5) J. Baxter, ADA Associate Warden, 2 1 (6) L. Jeffers, Appeals Coordinator, (7) T. Le, Chief Physician and Surgeon, (8) N. Riaz, 2 Physician Surgeon, (9) A. Valle, AGPA Health Care, (10) T. Lambert, Health Care 3 Appeals, (11) Dean Borders, Warden at CIM, and (12) Correctional Sergeant R. Matute. 4 Plaintiff’s complaint contains no allegations. Instead, Plaintiff attaches to his 5 complaint, without explanation, a series of documents regarding a fall he suffered, 6 grievances regarding his placement at institutions far from his family, and general 7 paperwork regarding the Coleman class action. In the portion of the complaint titled 8 “Request 9 “stressing” because he is far from his family. “All” of the defendants are aware of this 10 circumstance. Nonetheless, he is housed far from his family in an institution where the 11 temperature is hot. Additionally, “they” tried to transfer Plaintiff to the Substance Abuse 12 Treatment Facility, where he may catch Valley Fever. 13 IV. for Relief,” Plaintiff states that he is C.C.C.M.S. 1 and is Analysis 14 A. Rule 8 15 Plaintiff’s complaint does not comport with the requirements of Rule 8. 16 The complaint does not contain “a short and plain statement of the claim.” Fed. R. 17 Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Indeed, it contains no statement whatsoever of Plaintiff’s claim. The 18 Court is unable to discern what, precisely, Plaintiff complains of or how any of the named 19 defendants participated in a deprivation of his rights. 20 Furthermore, the complaint does not contain “a demand for the relief sought.” 21 Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(3). The Court is unable to discern what result Plaintiff hopes to 22 achieve through this litigation. 23 Plaintiff will be given leave to amend. 24 25 26 27 28 1 CCCMS stands for Correctional Clinical Case Management Services, which is the lowest of the four levels of care within the prison system’s Mental Health Services Delivery Program. Coleman v. Schwarzenegger, 922 F. Supp. 2d 882, 903 (E.D. Cal. 2009). “The CCCMS level of care is for inmates whose symptoms are under control or in partial remission and can function in the general prison population, administrative segregation, or segregated housing units.” Id. at 903 n.24. 3 1 B. 2 Plaintiff is advised that, under § 1983, he must demonstrate that each named 3 defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 4 676-77 (2009); Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); 5 Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009); Jones v. Williams, 297 6 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). Liability may not be imposed on supervisory personnel 7 under the theory of respondeat superior, as each defendant is only liable for his or her 8 own misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Ewing, 588 F.3d at 1235. Supervisors may 9 only be held liable if they “participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the 10 violations and failed to act to prevent them.” Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 11 1989); accord Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-08 (9th Cir. 2011); Corales v. Bennett, 12 567 F.3d 554, 570 (9th Cir. 2009); Preschooler II v. Clark Cnty. Sch. Bd. of Trs., 479 13 F.3d 1175, 1182 (9th Cir. 2007); Harris v. Roderick, 126 F.3d 1189, 1204 (9th Cir. 1997). 14 Plaintiff’s complaint does not state any facts regarding how the defendants 15 allegedly participated in the denial of his rights. He fails to state a claim against them. He 16 will be given leave to amend. Linkage 17 C. Placement Decisions 18 To the extent Plaintiff’s complaint is predicated on his desire to be housed in a 19 different facility, he fails to state a constitutional claim. Prison inmates do not have a 20 constitutional right to be incarcerated at a particular correctional facility or to be 21 transferred from one facility to another. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224-25 (1976); 22 see also Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 244-45 (1983). 23 D. Mental Health Care 24 Plaintiff may intend to allege that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to 25 his mental health needs. He will be provided the legal standard for such a claim, in the 26 event he chooses to amend. 27 The Eighth Amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause prohibits 28 deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners. McGuckin v. Smith, 4 1 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992). A claim of medical indifference requires (1) a 2 serious medical need, and (2) a deliberately indifferent response by defendant. Jett v. 3 Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006). The deliberate indifference standard is met 4 by showing (a) a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible 5 medical need and (b) harm caused by the indifference. Id. Where a prisoner alleges 6 deliberate indifference based on a delay in medical treatment, the prisoner must show 7 that the delay led to further injury. See Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 745-46 (9th Cir. 8 2002); McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060a; Shapley v. Nevada Bd. Of State Prison Comm’rs, 9 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir. 1985) (per curiam). Delay which does not cause harm is 10 insufficient to state a claim of deliberate medical indifference. Shapley, 766 F.2d at 407 11 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). 12 “Deliberate indifference is a high legal standard.” Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 13 1051, 1060 (9th Cir. 2004). “Under this standard, the prison official must not only ‘be 14 aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of 15 serious harm exists,’ but that person ‘must also draw the inference.’” Id. at 1057 (quoting 16 Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994)). “‘If a prison official should have been 17 aware of the risk, but was not, then the official has not violated the Eighth Amendment, 18 no matter how severe the risk.’” Id. (brackets omitted) (quoting Gibson, 290 F.3d at 19 1188). Mere indifference, negligence, or medical malpractice is not sufficient to support 20 the claim. Broughton v. Cutter Labs., 622 F.2d 458, 460 (9th Cir. 1980) (citing Estelle v. 21 Gamble, 429 U.S. 87, 105-06 (1976)). A prisoner can establish deliberate indifference by 22 showing that officials intentionally interfered with his medical treatment for reasons 23 unrelated to the prisoner’s medical needs. See Hamilton v. Endell, 981 F.2d 1062, 1066 24 (9th Cir. 1992); Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105. 25 E. Coleman Class Action 26 As stated, Plaintiff attaches to his complaint general documents regarding the 27 Coleman class action. While Plaintiff may allege independent claims for relief based on 28 violation of his rights under federal law, Hiser v. Franklin, 94 F.3d 1287, 1291 (9th Cir. 5 1 1996), Plaintiff may not rely on the violation of consent decrees or remedial plans in 2 other cases to state a claim, Frost v. Symington, 197 F.3d 348, 358-59 (9th Cir. 1999). 3 Relief for violation of consent decrees or remedial plans must be pursued in the case in 4 which the decree or plan was issued. Frost, 197 F.3d at 358-59; Crayton v. Terhune, No. 5 C 98-4386 CRB (PR), 2002 WL 31093590, *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 17, 2002). 6 V. Conclusion and Order 7 Plaintiff’s complaint does not state a cognizable claim for relief. The Court will 8 grant Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint. Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 9 1446, 1448-49 (9th Cir. 1987). If Plaintiff chooses to amend, he must demonstrate that 10 the alleged acts resulted in a deprivation of his constitutional rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 11 677-78. Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim that is 12 plausible on its face.’” Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007)). Plaintiff 13 must also demonstrate that each named Defendant personally participated in a 14 deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). 15 Plaintiff should note that although he has been given the opportunity to amend, it 16 is not for the purposes of adding new claims. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th 17 Cir. 2007). Plaintiff should carefully read this screening order and focus his efforts on 18 curing the deficiencies set forth above. 19 Finally, Plaintiff is advised that Local Rule 220 requires that an amended 20 complaint be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. As a general rule, 21 an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 22 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once an amended complaint is filed, the original complaint no 23 longer serves any function in the case. Therefore, in an amended complaint, as in an 24 original complaint, each claim and the involvement of each defendant must be 25 sufficiently alleged. The amended complaint should be clearly and boldly titled “First 26 Amended Complaint,” refer to the appropriate case number, and be an original signed 27 under penalty of perjury. Plaintiff's amended complaint should be brief. Fed. R. Civ. P. 28 8(a). Although accepted as true, the “[f]actual allegations must be [sufficient] to raise a 6 1 right to relief above the speculative level . . . .” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations 2 omitted). 3 Accordingly, it is HEREBY ORDERED that: 4 1. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief 5 6 may be granted; 2. The Clerk’s Office shall send Plaintiff a blank civil rights complaint form and a 7 copy of his complaint, filed November 28, 2016; 8 3. Within thirty (30) days from the date of service of this order, Plaintiff must file a 9 first amended complaint curing the deficiencies identified by the Court in this 10 order or a notice of voluntary dismissal; and 11 4. If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint or notice of voluntary dismissal, 12 the Court will dismiss this action, with prejudice, for failure to comply with a 13 court order and failure to state a claim, subject to the “three strikes” provision 14 set forth in in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). 15 16 17 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: January 23, 2017 /s/ 18 Michael J. Seng UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7

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