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CHESTNUT v. CA. DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS PAROLE OUTPATIENT CLINIC

United States District Court, N.D. California


March 18, 2004.

SEAN H. CHESTNUT, Plaintiff(s),
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS PAROLE OUTPATIENT CLINIC SERVICE, Defendant(s)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: VAUGHN WALKER, District Judge

ORDER OF DISMISSAL (Doc # 3)

Plaintiff, while detained at the Alameda County Jail awaiting a parole revocation hearing, filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was not receiving the correct dose of his psychiatric medication. Plaintiff specifically alleges that he complained to jail officials that the dose he was receiving was too low, but that they checked and replied that the California Department of Corrections Parole Outpatient Clinic Service had confirmed "that was my dose." Plaintiff seeks the same dose he was receiving while he was last in state prison, and damages. He also seeks to proceed in — forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

Plaintiff was transferred to San Quentin State Prison shortly after he filed this action. Page 2

  DISCUSSION

 A. Standard of Review

  Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners 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 essential 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).

 B. Legal Claims

  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). But allegations of mere neglect and/or carelessness related to medical problems are not enough to make out a violation of the Eighth Amendment. See, e.g., Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1130 (9th Cir. 1998)(finding no merit in claims stemming from alleged delays in administering pain medication, treating broken nose and providing replacement crutch, because claims did not amount to more than negligence); O'Loughlin v. Doe. 920 F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1990) (repeatedly failing to satisfy requests for aspirins and antacids to alleviate headaches, nausea and pains is not constitutional violation; isolated occurrences of neglect may constitute grounds for medical malpractice but do not Page 3 rise to level of unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain). Here, plaintiff's allegations that he received the wrong dose of psychiatric medication during his short stay at the Alameda County Jail do not amount to more than a claim for negligence and must be dismissed for failure to state a claim under § 1983. This is especially appropriate because the medical authorities did not ignore plaintiff's concerns, they simply disagreed with his assessment. Cf Franklin v. Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981) ("A difference of opinion between a prisoner — patient and prison medical authorities regarding treatment does not give rise to a § 1983 claim.").

  In addition, plaintiff's request for injunctive relief must be dismissed because it is well — established that an inmate's release from prison or transfer to another prison generally renders moot his claims for injunctive relief. See Dilley v. Gunn, 64 F.3d 1365, 1368-69 (9th Cir. 1995). That rationale applies here.

  CONCLUSION

  For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis (doc # 3) is DENIED and the complaint is DISMISSED.

  The Clerk shall close the file and terminate all pending motions as moot. No fee is due.

  SO ORDERED.

20040318

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