Perez v. Nguyen et al

Filing 5

ORDER OF SERVICE OF EIGHTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on 4/16/10. (jjo, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/16/2010)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA JOHN TIMOTHY PEREZ, ) ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) ) v. ) ) ) D. NGUYEN, DR. BOWMAN, P. LA ) DUKE, S.S.A. JONES, B. FRINTZ, ) ) Defendants. ) _________________________________ ) No. C 09-4939 JSW (PR) ORDER OF SERVICE OF EIGHTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS (Docket Nos. 2, 3) INTRODUCTION Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California, has filed this civil rights complaint regarding the conditions of his confinement at the prison. Plaintiff has also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, which is GRANTED in a separate order. This Court now reviews the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A and serves it as set forth below. STATEMENT OF FACTS In the complaint, Plaintiff alleges that prison officials refused to provide him with appropriate medical care for a broken finger and knuckle. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and damages. STANDARD OF REVIEW Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). The Court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted," or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). ANALYSIS The Eighth Amendment requires that prison officials take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of prisoners. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc); Jones v. Johnson, 781 F.2d 769, 771 (9th Cir. 1986). A determination of "deliberate indifference" involves an examination of two elements: the seriousness of the prisoner's medical need and the nature of the defendant's response to that need. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059. A "serious" medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. at 104). The existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment; the presence 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual's daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain are examples of indications that a prisoner has a "serious" need for medical treatment. See id. at 1059-60 (citing Wood v. Housewright, 900 F.2d 1332, 1337-41 (9th Cir. 1990)). A prison official is deliberately indifferent if he knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). In order for deliberate indifference to be established, there must be a purposeful act or failure to act on the part of the defendant and resulting harm. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060; Shapley v. Nevada Bd. of State Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir. 1985). Liberally construed, Plaintiff has stated an Eighth Amendment claims with regard to Defendants Nguyen, Bowman, La Duke, Jones and Frintz. MOTION FOR COUNSEL Plaintiff has filed a motion seeking appointment of counsel to represent him (docket no. 3). However, there is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case unless an indigent litigant may lose his physical liberty if he loses the litigation. See Lassiter v. Dep't of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981); Rand v. Rowland, 113 F.3d 1520, 1525 (9th Cir. 1997) (no constitutional right to counsel in 1983 action), withdrawn in part on other grounds on reh'g en banc, 154 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc). A court "may request an attorney to represent any person unable to afford counsel." 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(1). The decision to request counsel to represent an indigent litigant under 1915 is within "the sound discretion of the trial court and is granted only in exceptional circumstances." Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1236 (9th Cir. 1984). A finding of the "exceptional circumstances" of the plaintiff seeking assistance requires an evaluation of the likelihood of the plaintiff's success on the merits and an evaluation of the 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 plaintiff's ability to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. See Agyeman v. Corrections Corp. of America, 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004); Rand, 113 F.3d at 1525; Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991); Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986). Both of these factors must be viewed together before reaching a decision on a request for counsel under 1915. See id. Plaintiff's motion is DENIED without prejudice, for want of exceptional circumstances (docket no. 3). CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows: 1. Plaintiff states a cognizable claim against Defendants. The Clerk of the Court shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the second amended complaint and all attachments thereto, and a copy of this order upon: Defendants D. Nguyen, Dr. Bowman, P. La Duke, S.S.A. Jones and B. Frintz at Pelican Bay State Prison. The Clerk shall also serve a copy of this order on Plaintiff. 2. In order to expedite the resolution of this case, the Court orders as follows: a. No later than sixty (60) days from the date of this order, Defendant shall either file a motion for summary judgment or other dispositive motion, or a notice to the Court that they are of the opinion that this matter cannot be resolved by dispositive motion. The motion shall be supported by adequate factual documentation and shall conform in all respects to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Defendant is advised that summary judgment cannot be granted, nor qualified immunity found, if material facts are in dispute. If Defendant is of the opinion that this case cannot be resolved by summary judgment, they shall so inform the Court prior to the date the summary judgment motion is due. All papers filed with the Court shall be promptly served on the Plaintiff. 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 b. Plaintiff's opposition to the dispositive motion shall be filed with the Court and served on Defendant no later than thirty (30) days from the date Defendant's motion is filed. c. In the event the Defendant files an unenumerated motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b), Plaintiff is hereby cautioned pursuant to Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119-20 & n.4 (9th Cir. 2003): If defendants file an unenumerated motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust, they are seeking to have your case dismissed. If the motion is granted it will end your case. You have the right to present any evidence you may have which tends to show that you did exhaust your administrative remedies. Such evidence may be in the form of declarations (statements signed under penalty of perjury) or authenticated documents, that is, documents accompanied by a declaration showing where they came from and why they are authentic, or other sworn papers, such as answers to interrogatories or depositions. If defendants file a motion to dismiss and it is granted, your case will be dismissed and there will be no trial. d. In the event Defendant files a motion for summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit has held that the following notice should be given to pro se Plaintiffs: The defendants have made a motion for summary judgment by which they seek to have your case dismissed. A motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will, if granted, end your case. Rule 56 tells you what you must do in order to oppose a motion for summary judgment. Generally, summary judgment must be granted when there is no genuine issue of material fact--that is, if there is no real dispute about any fact that would affect the result of your case, the party who asked for summary judgment is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, which will end your case. When a party you are suing makes a motion for summary judgment that is properly supported by declarations (or other sworn testimony), you cannot simply rely on what your complaint says. Instead, you must set out specific facts in declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or authenticated documents, as provided in Rule 56(e), that contradict the facts shown in the defendant's declarations and documents and show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If you do not submit your own evidence in opposition, summary judgment, if appropriate, may be entered against you. If summary judgment is granted in favor of defendants, your case will be 5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 dismissed and there will be no trial. Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 963 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc). Plaintiff is advised to read Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986) (holding party opposing summary judgment must come forward with evidence showing triable issues of material fact on every essential element of his claim). c. Defendant shall file a reply brief no later than fifteen (15) days after Plaintiff's opposition is filed. d. The motion shall be deemed submitted as of the date the reply brief is due. No hearing will be held on the motion unless the Court so orders at a later date. 3. Discovery may be taken in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. No further Court order under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(a)(2) or Local Rule 16 is required before the parties may conduct discovery. 4. Extensions of time are not favored, though reasonable extensions will be granted. Any motion for an extension of time must be filed no later than five days prior to the deadline sought to be extended. 5. All communications by Plaintiff with the Court must be served on Defendant, or Defendant's counsel once counsel has been designated, by mailing a true copy of the document to Defendant or Defendant's counsel. 6. It is Plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the Court and Defendant or Defendant's counsel informed of any change of address by filing and serving a separate paper entitled "Notice of Change of Address" and must comply with the Court's orders in a timely fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b). IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: April 16, 2010 JEFFREY S. WHITE United States District Judge 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 John Timothy Perez E5669 P.O. Box 7000 Crescent City, CA 95531 Dated: April 16, 2010 v. D. NGUYEN et al, Defendant. JOHN T. PEREZ, Plaintiff, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA Case Number: CV09-04939 JSW CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE / I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am an employee in the Office of the Clerk, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. That on April 16, 2010, I SERVED a true and correct copy(ies) of the attached, by placing said copy(ies) in a postage paid envelope addressed to the person(s) hereinafter listed, by depositing said envelope in the U.S. Mail, or by placing said copy(ies) into an inter-office delivery receptacle located in the Clerk's office. Richard W. Wieking, Clerk By: Jennifer Ottolini, Deputy Clerk

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