Martinez v. Chappell

Filing 9

ORDER OF DISMISSAL, ***Civil Case Terminated. Signed by Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton on 4/8/13. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(nah, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/8/2013)

Download PDF
1 2 3 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 4 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 5 OAKLAND DIVISION 6 7 SANTIAGO MARTINEZ, Plaintiff, 8 vs. 9 ORDER OF DISMISSAL KEVIN R. CHAPPELL, Defendant. 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 No. C 12-6164 PJH (PR) / 12 13 Plaintiff, a state prisoner, has filed a pro se civil rights complaint. The first amended 14 complaint was dismissed with leave to amend and plaintiff has filed a second amended 15 complaint. 16 17 18 DISCUSSION A. Standard of Review Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners 19 seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 20 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and 21 dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may 22 be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 23 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police 24 Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). 25 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of 26 the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; 27 the statement need only '"give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the 28 grounds upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations allegations, . . . a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds’ of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' 3 requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a 4 cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief 5 above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) 6 (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is 7 plausible on its face." Id. at 570. The United States Supreme Court has recently explained 8 the “plausible on its face” standard of Twombly: “While legal conclusions can provide the 9 framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are 10 well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine 11 For the Northern District of California omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual 2 United States District Court 1 whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 12 1937, 1950 (2009). 13 To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential 14 elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was 15 violated, and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the 16 color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). 17 B. 18 Legal Claims In the prior complaint plaintiff stated that doctors had stopped prescribing him 19 Tramadol for pain and instead prescribed Acetaminophen, which was not sufficient to 20 control his back pain. Plaintiff had been prescribed Tramadol but a blood test indicated that 21 there was no Tramadol in plaintiff’s system which was indicative of not taking the 22 medication and in violation of the medication agreement between the prison and inmates. 23 Plaintiff has been provided leave to amend on two separate occasions to demonstrate 24 deliberate indifference on behalf of defendants, not just that he disagreed with their 25 treatment plan. 26 Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment's 27 proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 28 (1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other 2 1 grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). 2 A determination of "deliberate indifference" involves an examination of two elements: the 3 seriousness of the prisoner's medical need and the nature of the defendant's response to 4 that need. Id. at 1059. 5 A "serious" medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could 6 result in further significant injury or the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." Id. The 7 existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of 8 comment or treatment; the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an 9 individual's daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain are examples of 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 indications that a prisoner has a "serious" need for medical treatment. Id. at 1059-60. A prison official is deliberately indifferent if he or she knows that a prisoner faces a 12 substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps 13 to abate it. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). The prison official must not only 14 “be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious 15 harm exists,” but he “must also draw the inference.” Id. If a prison official should have 16 been aware of the risk, but was not, then the official has not violated the Eighth 17 Amendment, no matter how severe the risk. Gibson v. County of Washoe, 290 F.3d 1175, 18 1188 (9th Cir. 2002). “A difference of opinion between a prisoner-patient and prison 19 medical authorities regarding treatment does not give rise to a § 1983 claim.” Franklin v. 20 Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981). 21 In this case, plaintiff focuses on the difference of opinion with his medical providers, 22 but this alone fails to state a claim. See Franklin. While plaintiff has now presented some 23 allegations regarding the ill effects of just taking Acetaminophen, back locks, pain and 24 depression, at most he has described negligence, but not deliberate indifference, especially 25 as there was a dispute if he was even taking the medication when it was prescribed. "[A] 26 complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief 27 that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). 28 "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court 3 1 to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." 2 Id. Plaintiff’s brief allegations in the second amended complaint fail to meet this standard to 3 demonstrate an Eighth Amendment claim. 4 Moreover, in this complaint plaintiff identifies as defendants, Dr. Grant and Dr. 5 Jones. Plaintiff does not allege that these doctors discontinued his medication or even 6 treated him. He simply states that these doctors were aware of his medical problems 7 based on his records and are therefore liable as his medication was discontinued. This 8 conclusory statement is insufficient and plaintiff has failed to connect these defendants to 9 the alleged constitutional deprivation. As plaintiff has already been provided several opportunities to amend, and has still failed to cure the deficiencies identified by the court, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 this case is dismissed with prejudice. 12 CONCLUSION 13 For the reasons set forth above, this action is DISMISSED with prejudice. 14 IT IS SO ORDERED. 15 Dated: April 8, 2013. PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON United States District Judge 16 17 G:\PRO-SE\PJH\CR.12\Martinez6164.dis.wpd 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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?