(PC) Williams v. Ali

Filing 8

ORDER signed by Magistrate Judge Carolyn K. Delaney on 1/10/2022 GRANTING 2 Motion to Proceed IFP and ORDERING plaintiff to complete and return the attached Notice of Election form within 21 days from the date of this order. Plaintiff to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. All fees to be collected and paid in accordance with this court's order to the CDCR filed concurrently herewith. (Henshaw, R)

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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 CURTIS WILLIAMS, III, 12 Plaintiff, 13 14 15 No. 2:21-cv-01877-CKD P v. ORDER ALI, Defendant. 16 17 Plaintiff is a state inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action 18 filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 19 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). 20 Plaintiff requests leave to proceed in forma pauperis. As plaintiff has submitted a 21 declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), his request will be granted. 22 Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 23 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the 24 initial partial filing fee from plaintiff’s trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. 25 Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding 26 month’s income credited to plaintiff’s prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by 27 the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff’s account 28 1 1 exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). 2 I. Screening Requirement 3 The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a 4 governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The 5 court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally 6 “frivolous or malicious,” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek 7 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). 8 A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. 9 Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th 10 Cir. 1984). The court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an 11 indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Neitzke, 12 490 U.S. at 327. The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully 13 pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. See Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th 14 Cir. 1989); Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227. 15 In order to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must contain more than 16 “naked assertions,” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause 17 of action.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-557 (2007). In other words, 18 “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory 19 statements do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Furthermore, a claim 20 upon which the court can grant relief has facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “A 21 claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw 22 the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. 23 at 678. When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted, 24 the court must accept the allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007), and 25 construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 26 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). 27 II. Allegations in the Complaint 28 At all times relevant to the allegations in the complaint, plaintiff was a mentally ill 2 1 prisoner at the California Medical Facility with a history of suicide attempts. On June 5, 2020, he 2 was interviewed by Dr. Ali, the only defendant in this action. Plaintiff informed defendant Ali 3 that he had an active plan to commit suicide as well as the means to do so since he had smuggled 4 in a razor. Defendant Ali discontinued plaintiff’s 15-minute suicide checks. A few hours later, 5 plaintiff swallowed the razor in an attempt to commit suicide. Plaintiff called “man down,” but 6 no medical assistance was provided. So plaintiff boarded up his cell window and an extraction 7 team entered his cell. Defendant Ali then forcibly medicated plaintiff with Thorazine without 8 plaintiff’s consent. By way of relief, plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. 9 10 III. Legal Standards The Supreme Court has recognized an individual liberty interest in freedom from the 11 forcible administration of antipsychotic medication that is protected by the due process clause of 12 the Fourteenth Amendment. Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990); United States 13 v. Ruiz-Gaxiola, 623 F.3d 684, 691 (9th Cir. 2010). However, when an inmate is a danger to 14 himself or others, and treatment is in his medical interest, the due process clause permits the state 15 to administer medication without the inmate’s consent. Harper, 494 U.S. at 227; see also Riggins 16 v. Nevada, 504 U.S. 127, 135 (1992) (emphasizing that “forcing anti-psychotic drugs on a 17 convicted prisoner is impermissible absent a finding of overriding justification and a 18 determination of medical appropriateness.”). 19 In California, the procedural due process protections involved with the involuntary 20 medication of prisoners is set out in Keyhea v. Rushen, 178 Cal.App.3d 526 (Cal. Ct. App. 1986). 21 “A Keyhea order permits the long-term involuntary medication of an inmate upon a court finding 22 that the course of involuntary medication is recommended and that the prisoner, as a result of 23 mental disorder, is gravely disabled and incompetent to refuse medication, or is a danger to 24 himself or others.” Davis v. Walker, 745 F.3d 1303, 1307 n.2 (9th Cir. 2014). 25 IV. Analysis 26 After conducting the required screening, the court finds that plaintiff sufficiently alleges 27 an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against defendant Ali. However, plaintiff 28 does not state a cognizable Fourteenth Amendment claim against defendant Ali for forcibly 3 1 medicating him because the allegations in the complaint demonstrate that plaintiff was a risk to 2 himself at the time that he was administered Thorazine. Plaintiff may choose to proceed on the 3 claim found cognizable against defendant Ali, or he may attempt to cure the defects in his 4 pleading by filing a first amended complaint. If plaintiff chooses to proceed on the Eighth 5 Amendment deliberate indifference claim against defendant Ali, the court will construe this as a 6 request to voluntarily dismiss the additional claim pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(i) of the Federal 7 Rules of Civil Procedure. 8 9 If plaintiff chooses to amend the complaint, plaintiff must demonstrate how the conditions 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, in his amended complaint, plaintiff 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 Finally, 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 V. 24 The following information is meant to explain this order in plain English and is not 25 26 Plain Language Summary for Pro Se Party intended as legal advice. Some of the allegations in the complaint state claims for relief against the defendant, and 27 some do not. You must decide if you want to (1) proceed immediately on the Eighth Amendment 28 deliberate indifference claim against defendant Ali; or, 2) amend the complaint to try to fix the 4 1 problems identified in this order with respect to the remaining claim against defendant Ali. Once 2 you decide, you must complete the attached Notice of Election form by checking only one 3 box and returning it to the court. 4 Once the court receives the Notice of Election, it will issue an order telling you what you 5 need to do next. If you do not return this Notice, the court will order service of the complaint 6 only on the claims found cognizable in this screening order and will recommend dismissing the 7 remaining claims. 8 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 9 1. Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) is granted. 10 2. Plaintiff is obligated to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. All fees 11 shall be collected and paid in accordance with this court’s order to the Director of the 12 California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation filed concurrently herewith. 13 3. Plaintiff has the option to proceed immediately on the Eighth Amendment deliberate 14 indifference claim against defendant Ali. In the alternative, plaintiff may choose to 15 amend the complaint to fix the deficiencies identified in this order with respect to the 16 remaining claim against defendant. 17 4. Within 21 days from the date of this order, plaintiff shall complete and return the 18 attached Notice of Election form notifying the court whether he wants to proceed on 19 the screened complaint or whether he wants time to file a first amended complaint. 20 5. If plaintiff fails to return the attached Notice of Election within the time provided, the 21 court will construe this failure as consent to dismiss the deficient claim and proceed 22 only on the cognizable claim identified above. 23 24 25 Dated: January 10, 2022 _____________________________________ CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 26 27 28 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ROBERT CURTIS WILLIAMS, III, 12 No. 2:21-cv-01877-CKD Plaintiff, 13 14 NOTICE OF ELECTION v. ALI, 15 Defendant. 16 17 Check only one option: 18 _____ Plaintiff wants to proceed immediately on the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference 19 claim against defendant Ali. Plaintiff voluntarily dismisses the remaining claim against 20 defendant; or 21 _____ Plaintiff wants time to file a first amended complaint. 22 23 DATED: 24 25 ____________________ Plaintiff 26 27 28 6

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