Jenkins v. Unknown

Filing 11

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 5/4/16. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(dl, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/4/2016)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 ROBERT LEE JENKINS, JR., No. C 16-0744 WHA (PR) Plaintiff, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 v. 13 ORDER OF DISMISSAL J. GASTELO, Warden, Defendant. 14 / 15 16 INTRODUCTION 17 Plaintiff, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action under 42 18 U.S.C. 1983. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. For the reasons 19 discussed below, the case is DISMISSED. 20 ANALYSIS 21 A. STANDARD OF REVIEW 22 Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek 23 redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 24 § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims 25 which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek 26 monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro 27 se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 28 (9th Cir. 1990). 1 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the statement need only '"give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds 4 upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). 5 Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . a 6 plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than 7 labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not 8 do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative 9 level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A 10 complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. 11 For the Northern District of California claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the 3 United States District Court 2 at 1974. 12 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: 13 (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) 14 that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. 15 West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 16 B. 17 LEGAL CLAIMS Plaintiff alleges that there are delays in the distribution of evening medication to inmates 18 at his prison due to overcrowding. He claims that this violates the rulings in a pending class 19 action, Coleman v. Wilson, 912 F. Supp. 1282 (E.D. Cal. 1995), which was consolidated with 20 class action case, Plata v. Schwarzenegger, No. C 01-01351 TEH (N.D. Cal. filed 2001), and 21 which involves the provision of medical care to prisoners in California. Plaintiff seeks an order 22 on behalf of himself and all other inmates at his prison directing prison officials to relieve 23 overcrowding at his prison and to hire back enough nurses to ensure more rapid distribution of 24 medication prison-wide. 25 An individual suit for injunctive and equitable relief from allegedly unconstitutional 26 prison conditions may be dismissed when it duplicates an existing class action's allegations and 27 prayer for relief. See Pride v. Correa, 719 F.3d 1130, 1133 (9th Cir. 2013). The Plata class 28 action does not bar individual inmates' claims for personal medical care because Plata had 2 1 sought systemic reform of medical care in California prisons, had determined that overcrowding 2 was the primary cause of the systemic constitutional violations, and the Plata court concluded 3 that only a reduction in prisoner population would remedy the constitutional violations. Id. at 4 1137. "[W]here a California prisoner brings an independent claim for injunctive relief solely on 5 his own behalf for specific medical treatment denied to him, Plata does not bar the prisoner's 6 claim for injunctive relief." Id. at 1133. 7 Here, plaintiff brings a claim for injunctive relief, not solely on his own behalf, but on by Plata, an individual inmate's suit requesting an injunction for treatment of his shoulder and 10 knee problems). He seeks an injunction for systemic reform of the medication distribution at 11 For the Northern District of California behalf of all the inmates in his prison. Compare id. (district court erred in dismissing, as barred 9 United States District Court 8 his prison, relief from overcrowding and the hiring of additional medical personnel. As such, 12 and as plaintiff states, his claim and the relief he seeks fall squarely within the purview of 13 Coleman/Plata. Therefore, he may not bring it as an individual suit, but must instead seek to 14 remedy the claimed violation through class counsel in the Coleman/Plata case. 15 16 17 18 CONCLUSION For the reasons set out above, this action is DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the file and enter judgment. IT IS SO ORDERED. 19 Dated: May 4 , 2016. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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