Gleghorn v. Naseer et al
ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Craig M. Kellison on 12/1/2017 DISMISSING this action for failure to state a claim and the Clerk shall enter judgment and close this file. CASE CLOSED. (Yin, K)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
KELSEY DRU GLEGHORN,
SAHIR NASEER, et al.,
Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c) and no other party has been served or appeared in the action. Pending before the court
is plaintiff’s complaint (Doc. 1) and plaintiff’s response (Doc. 12) to the court’s September 18,
2017, order to show cause.
In the order to show cause, the court stated:
Plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) Dr. Sahir
Naseer; (2) Dr. Shagufta Yasmeen; and (3) Dr. G. Church. Plaintiff claims
that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs
when they discontinued opioid medications prescribed after plaintiff’s preincarceration back surgery. The treatment a prisoner receives in prison
and the conditions under which the prisoner is confined are subject to
scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual
punishment. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993); Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Eighth Amendment “. . .
embodies broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards,
humanity, and decency.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976).
Conditions of confinement may, however, be harsh and restrictive. See
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). Nonetheless, prison
officials must provide prisoners with “food, clothing, shelter, sanitation,
medical care, and personal safety.” Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d
1080, 1107 (9th Cir. 1986). A prison official violates the Eighth
Amendment only when two requirements are met: (1) objectively, the
official’s act or omission must be so serious such that it results in the
denial of the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities; and (2)
subjectively, the prison official must have acted unnecessarily and
wantonly for the purpose of inflicting harm. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834.
Thus, to violate the Eighth Amendment, a prison official must have a
“sufficiently culpable mind.” See id.
Deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s serious illness or
injury, or risks of serious injury or illness, gives rise to a claim under the
Eighth Amendment. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105; see also Farmer, 511
U.S. at 837. This applies to physical as well as dental and mental health
needs. See Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1253 (9th Cir. 1982). An
injury or illness is sufficiently serious if the failure to treat a prisoner’s
condition could result in further significant injury or the “. . . unnecessary
and wanton infliction of pain.” McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059
(9th Cir. 1992); see also Doty v. County of Lassen, 37 F.3d 540, 546 (9th
Cir. 1994). Factors indicating seriousness are: (1) whether a reasonable
doctor would think that the condition is worthy of comment; (2) whether
the condition significantly impacts the prisoner’s daily activities; and (3)
whether the condition is chronic and accompanied by substantial pain. See
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
The requirement of deliberate indifference is less stringent
in medical needs cases than in other Eighth Amendment contexts because
the responsibility to provide inmates with medical care does not generally
conflict with competing penological concerns. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at
1060. Thus, deference need not be given to the judgment of prison
officials as to decisions concerning medical needs. See Hunt v. Dental
Dep’t, 865 F.2d 198, 200 (9th Cir. 1989). The complete denial of medical
attention may constitute deliberate indifference. See Toussaint v.
McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1111 (9th Cir. 1986). Delay in providing
medical treatment, or interference with medical treatment, may also
constitute deliberate indifference. See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131. Where
delay is alleged, however, the prisoner must also demonstrate that the
delay led to further injury. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060.
Negligence in diagnosing or treating a medical condition
does not, however, give rise to a claim under the Eighth Amendment. See
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. Moreover, a difference of opinion between the
prisoner and medical providers concerning the appropriate course of
treatment does not give rise to an Eighth Amendment claim. See Jackson
v. McIntosh, 90 F.3d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1996).
In this case, documents attached to plaintiff’s complaint
reveal that plaintiff was examined by prison health care providers prior to
discontinuation of opioid medication. The same documents also reflect
that plaintiff’s health care providers felt that his current opioid medication
was making him too sleepy to meaningfully participate in physical therapy.
It was the opinion of these health care providers that plaintiff should be
switched to a different pain medication for this reason. Given the
foregoing, it is clear that plaintiff’s claim amounts to a difference of
medical opinion, which is not cognizable under § 1983.
Plaintiff was directed to show cause why the action should not be dismissed for failure to state a
In his response to the order to show cause, plaintiff states: “This is not a
difference of opinion between prisoner vs. medical providers. It is a difference of opinion
concerning appropriate treatment between medical providers at CHCF vs. medical provider of
the CDCR.” Regardless of how the difference of opinion is characterized, plaintiff concedes that
his case concerns a difference of medical opinion. Specifically, the facts alleged in the complaint
and revealed by documents attached to the complaint show that examining doctors opined that
plaintiff should be switched to a different pain medication, and plaintiff disagrees with that
determination. Plaintiff’s claim is not cognizable under § 1983.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
This action is dismissed for failure to state a claim; and
The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment and close this file.
DATED: December 1, 2017
CRAIG M. KELLISON
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?