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Arambula v. Evans

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


October 31, 2005

GONZALO ARAMBULA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. EVANS, WARDEN, DEFENDANT.
GONZALO ARAMBULA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. EVANS, WARDEN, DEFENDANT.

ORDER DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Docket no. 2). ORDER DISMISSING ACTION AS DUPLICATIVE AND TERMINATING ALL MOTIONS (Docket nos. 2, 4, 6).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Gonzalo Arambula is a State prisoner incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP). He has filed two civil rights actions in which he complains of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by medical staff at SVSP. The actions seek injunctive relief and monetary damages and are identical in all regards. Accordingly, the Court hereby orders that action Arambula v. Evans, C 05-2295 CW, is DISMISSED as duplicative. The Clerk of the Court shall terminate all pending motions in C 05-2295 and close the file.

To clarify for Plaintiff, this means that the only action Plaintiff will have pending before the Court regarding the claims raised in these two actions is his first filed action, Arambula v. Evans, C 05-0584 CW (PR). All future filings and communications regarding these claims must be filed in that case number only. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis in C 05-0584 CW (PR) is GRANTED (docket no. 2).

BACKGROUND

The background to Plaintiff's claim is taken from his complaint and attached exhibits. Plaintiff alleges that he is diabetic and suffers from eye problems as a result. In particular, he requires artificial eye lubricant in the form of eye drops. Plaintiff maintains that during a period of several months he was not provided with his eye drops and consequently he suffered eye damage that will require surgery.

Plaintiff filed an administrative grievance which was granted at the second level of review. Carolina Kates, with the Medical Appeals unit, and Charles Dudley Lee, MD., the Health Care Manager, concluded that medical staff had not provided Plaintiff with his eye drops in a timely manner and granted Plaintiff's request that "all nurses and MTAs comply with the Physician's orders." Second Level Appeal Response at 3 (Aug. 31, 2004). The Director's Level of Appeal decision agreed with the second level findings and found that "the omissions of the institution are unacceptable." Director's Level Appeal Decision (Nov. 30, 2004). No further action was found necessary, however, because action had been taken at the second level.

In his complaint Plaintiff names SVSP Warden M. Evans as the sole Defendant. He seeks $400,000 in damages.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

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). "'[A] complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Terracom v. Valley National Bank, 49 F.3d 555, 558 (9th Cir. 1995) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

DISCUSSION

The only Defendant named by Plaintiff is SVSP Warden M. Evans. In his complaint Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant Evans was a member of the medical staff who failed to provide him with eye drops. Therefore, Plaintiff appears to be attempting to sue Defendant Evans in his capacity as a supervisor. A supervisor may be liable under § 1983 upon a showing of personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation. Redman v. County of San Diego, 942 F.2d 1435, 1446 (9th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (citation omitted). A supervisor therefore generally "is only liable for constitutional violations of his subordinates if the supervisor participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the violations and failed to act to prevent them." Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). This includes evidence that a supervisor implemented "a policy so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights and is the moving force of the constitutional violation." Redman, 942 F.2d at 1446; see Jeffers v. Gomez, 267 F.3d 895, 917 (9th Cir. 2001) (director of State prison system and warden entitled to qualified immunity from Eighth Amendment liability because there was no evidence that their actions--training, supervision and implementing policy--resulted from malice, sadism or an intent to cause harm).

Under no circumstances is there respondeat superior liability under § 1983. That is, under no circumstances is there liability under § 1983 solely because one is responsible for the actions or omissions of another. See Taylor, 880 F.2d at 1045; Ybarra v. Reno Thunderbird Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680-81 (9th Cir. 1984).

The allegations in Plaintiff's complaint do not support a theory of liability against Defendant Evans for the asserted injuries based upon his personal participation or policy making decisions. Accordingly, the complaint must be DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. If Plaintiff can in good faith allege facts to cure the pleading deficiency he may file an amended complaint as set forth below.

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows:

1. Action C 05-2295 is DISMISSED as duplicative. The Clerk of the Court shall terminate all pending actions and close the file.

2. Within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order Plaintiff shall file an amended complaint in C 05-0584 as set forth above. The failure to do so will result in the dismissal of this action without prejudice.

3. Leave to proceed in forma pauperis in C 05-0584 is DENIED without prejudice. (Docket no. 2.) The Court will review Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application anew if he complies with the requirement set forth in this Order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

20051031

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