Gangl v. Sacramento County Sheriff's Department et al

Filing 6

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney on 3/1/17 GRANTING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP; Plaintiff is obligated to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. Plaintiff's complaint is DISMISSED with 30 days to file an amended complaint.(Dillon, M)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ROBERT MICHAEL GANGL, 12 13 14 15 No. 2:17-cv-0186 CKD P Plaintiff, v. ORDER SACRAMENTO SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants. 16 17 18 19 I. Introduction Plaintiff is a county jail inmate proceeding pro se and seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 20 § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 21 636(b)(1) and plaintiff has consented to have all matters in this action before a United States 22 Magistrate Judge. 23 Plaintiff requests leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Since plaintiff has submitted a 24 declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), his request will be granted. 25 Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 26 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the 27 initial partial filing fee from plaintiff’s trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. 28 Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding 1 1 month’s income credited to plaintiff’s prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by 2 the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff’s account 3 exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). 4 II. Screening Standard 5 The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 6 governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The 7 court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally 8 “frivolous or malicious,” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek 9 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). 10 A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. 11 Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th 12 Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an 13 indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 14 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully 15 pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th 16 Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227. 17 In order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than 18 “naked assertions,” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause 19 of action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-557 (2007). In other words, 20 “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory 21 statements do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Furthermore, a claim 22 upon which the court can grant relief has facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A 23 claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw 24 the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 25 at 678. When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, 26 the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), 27 and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 28 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). 2 1 2 III. Discussion Plaintiff alleges that, two weeks before his arrest, he was shot and rendered unable to 3 walk, but jail officials did not provide him a wheelchair as needed. Plaintiff also alleges that he 4 received inadequate medical care in jail, which has resulted in permanent damage to his hip. 5 (ECF No. 1.) 6 7 8 9 10 11 The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: 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. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff names the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department as a defendant. 12 “Municipalities and other local government units ... [are] among those persons to whom § 1983 13 applies.” Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. at 690. However, a municipal entity or its 14 departments is liable under § 1983 only if plaintiff shows that his constitutional injury was caused 15 by employees acting pursuant to the municipality’s policy or custom. See Villegas v. Gilroy 16 Garlic Festival Association, 541 F.3d 950, 964 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 690– 17 94). “[A]n act performed pursuant to a ‘custom’ that has not been formally approved by an 18 appropriate decisionmaker may fairly subject a municipality to liability on the theory that the 19 relevant practice is so widespread as to have the force of law.” Board of County Comm'rs. of 20 Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997). Plaintiff has not alleged that any employee of 21 the Sheriff’s Department acted pursuant to a policy or custom that violates his federal 22 constitutional rights. Thus he does not state a claim as to this defendant. 23 Plaintiff also names Sheriff Scott Jones as a defendant. However, plaintiff ‘s allegations 24 do not show that Jones committed any constitutional violation or caused plaintiff harm. To state a 25 § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege facts showing each named defendant either exhibited some 26 sort of “direct personal participation in the deprivation” or “set[ ] in motion a series of acts by 27 others which the actor [knew] or reasonably should [have known] would cause others to inflict 28 the constitutional injury.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-744 (9th Cir. 1978). There must 3 1 be an actual causal link between the actions of the named defendants and the alleged 2 constitutional deprivation. See Monell, 436 U.S. at 691–92 (1978). Thus the complaint fails to 3 state a claim against defendant Jones. 4 Denial or delay of medical care for a prisoner’s serious medical needs may constitute a 5 violation of the prisoner’s Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 6 97, 104-05 (1976). An individual is liable for such a violation only when the individual is 7 deliberately indifferent to a prisoner’s serious medical needs. Id.; see Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 8 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006); Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002); Lopez v. 9 Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2000). 10 In the Ninth Circuit, the test for deliberate indifference consists of two parts. Jett, 439 11 F.3d at 1096, citing McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050 (9th Cir. 1991), overruled on other 12 grounds by WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). First, the 13 plaintiff must show a “serious medical need” by demonstrating that “failure to treat a prisoner’s 14 condition could result in further significant injury or the ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of 15 pain.’” Id., citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104. “Examples of serious medical needs include ‘[t]he 16 existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of 17 comment or treatment; the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an 18 individual’s daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain.’” Lopez, 203 F. 3d 19 at 1131-1132, citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059-60. 20 Second, the plaintiff must show the defendant’s response to the need was deliberately 21 indifferent. Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096. This second prong is satisfied by showing (a) a purposeful act 22 or failure to respond to a prisoner’s pain or possible medical need and (b) harm caused by the 23 indifference. Id. Under this standard, the prison official must not only “be aware of facts from 24 which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists,” but that person 25 “must also draw the inference.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). This “subjective 26 approach” focuses only “on what a defendant’s mental attitude actually was.” Id. at 839. A 27 showing of merely negligent medical care is not enough to establish a constitutional violation. 28 Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1130 (9th Cir. 1998), citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-106. 4 1 Here, the complaint does not specify how any defendant was deliberately indifferent to 2 plaintiff’s serious medical needs under the above standard. Plaintiff must allege with at least 3 some degree of particularity overt acts which defendants engaged in that support plaintiff’s claim. 4 Jones v. Community Redev. Agency, 733 F.2d 646, 649 (9th Cir. 1984). 5 For these reasons, plaintiff’s complaint must be dismissed. The court will, however, grant 6 leave to file an amended complaint. 7 IV. Leave to Amend 8 If plaintiff chooses to amend the complaint, plaintiff must demonstrate how the conditions 9 complained of have resulted in a deprivation of plaintiff’s constitutional rights. See Ellis v. 10 Cassidy, 625 F.2d 227 (9th Cir. 1980). Also, plaintiff’s amended complaint must allege in 11 specific terms how each named defendant is involved. There can be no liability under 42 U.S.C. 12 § 1983 unless there is some affirmative link or connection between a defendant’s actions and the 13 claimed deprivation. Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976). Furthermore, vague and conclusory 14 allegations of official participation in civil rights violations are not sufficient. Ivey v. Board of 15 Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). 16 In addition, plaintiff is informed that the court cannot refer to a prior pleading in order to 17 make plaintiff’s amended complaint complete. Local Rule 220 requires that an amended 18 complaint be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. This is because, as a 19 general rule, an amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See Loux v. Rhay, 375 20 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once plaintiff files an amended complaint, the original pleading no 21 longer serves any function in the case. Therefore, in an amended complaint, as in an original 22 complaint, each claim and the involvement of each defendant must be sufficiently alleged. 23 In accordance with the above, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 24 1. Plaintiff’s request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted. 25 2. Plaintiff is obligated to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. All fees 26 shall be collected and paid in accordance with this court’s order to the Sheriff of Sacramento 27 County filed concurrently herewith. 28 3. Plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed. 5 1 4. Plaintiff is granted thirty days from the date of service of this order to file an amended 2 complaint that complies with the requirements of the Civil Rights Act, the Federal Rules of Civil 3 Procedure, and the Local Rules of Practice; the amended complaint must bear the docket number 4 assigned this case and must be labeled “Amended Complaint”; plaintiff must file an original and 5 two copies of the amended complaint; failure to file an amended complaint in accordance with 6 this order will result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed. 7 Dated: March 1, 2017 _____________________________________ CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 8 9 10 11 12 2 / 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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