United States District Court, N.D. California
March 18, 2004.
SEAN H. CHESTNUT, Plaintiff(s),
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.
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
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.
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.
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