The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (Doc. 20) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS
Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Second Amended Complaint
Plaintiff Aurelio Sepulveda ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on September 9, 2005. On July 10, 2007, this action was re-assigned to Judge Alarcon. On February 26, 2008, plaintiff's first amended complaint was dismissed for failure to state any cognizable claims for relief, with leave to file a second amended complaint. This action was then re-assigned to Judge Ishii and the undersigned on March 5, 2008. Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on March 17, 2008. (Doc. 20).
The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).
II. Summary of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint
Plaintiff is currently housed at Corcoran State Prison. The events giving rise to the claims at issue in this action allegedly occurred at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (CSATF) and at Corcoran State Prison. Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Eighth and First Amendments of the United States Constitution and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff names Jeanne Woodford, Dr. Shu-Pin Wu, Registered Nurse Diane McKay, Senior Medical Technician Assistant D. Overly, Dr. William McGuinness, and Nurse Practitioner P. Daguman as defendants.
A. Linkage Requirement - Defendant Woodford
Under section 1983, Plaintiff is required to show that Defendants (1) acted under color of state law, and (2) committed conduct which deprived Plaintiff of a federal right. Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 987 (9th Cir. 2007). "A person deprives another of a constitutional right, where that person 'does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which [that person] is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made.'" Id. at 988 (quoting Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978)). "[T]he 'requisite causal connection can be established not only by some kind of direct, personal participation in the deprivation, but also by setting in motion a series of acts by others which the actor knows or reasonably should know would cause others to inflict the constitutional injury.'" Id. (quoting Johnson at 743-44).
Plaintiff names Jeanne Woodford as a defendant in this action but fails to make an specific allegations against her. Plaintiff was previously informed that he must specifically link the conduct of each defendant to the alleged deprivation(s) of a federal constitutional or statutory right, but has failed to do so. Plaintiff fails to give fair notice to defendant Woodford of his claims against her and the grounds upon which they rest, and therefore fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted against defendant Woodford.
B. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Medical Care Claims
I) Right Tear Gland Condition
Plaintiff alleges that on December 24, 2001 he suffered a blockage of his tear duct area by way of his silicone tubing. Plaintiff states that he filed a grievance concerning his medical care and was advised that he would be seen by an off-site specialist on February 7, 2002. Plaintiff states that he did not see a specialist, and so he re-submitted his appeal. Plaintiff states that defendant Overly interviewed plaintiff at the second-level appeal stage, and incorrectly stated that plaintiff refused medical treatment. Plaintiff contends that defendant Overly's comments caused a chain of events that were detrimental to the subsequent investigations plaintiff sought from the Office of the Inspector General, the Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Medical Board of California.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant McKay wrongly assumed that plaintiff no longer had a medical problem and therefore did not schedule plaintiff for surgery.
To constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment, prison conditions must involve "the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). A prisoner's claim of inadequate medical care does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation unless (1) "the prison official deprived the prisoner of the 'minimal civilized measure of life's necessities,'" and (2) "the prison official 'acted with deliberate indifference in doing so.'" Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted)). A prison official does not act in a deliberately indifferent manner unless the official "knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). Deliberate indifference may be manifested "when prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment," or in the manner "in which prison physicians provide medical care." McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). Where a prisoner is alleging a delay in receiving medical treatment, the delay must have led to further harm in order for the prisoner to make a claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060 (citing Shapely v. Nevada Bd. of State Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir. 1985)).
"Deliberate indifference is a high legal standard." Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1060 (9th Cir. 2004). "Under this standard, the prison official must not only 'be aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists,' but that person 'must also draw the inference.'" Id. at 1057 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837). "'If a prison official should have been aware of the risk, but was not, then the official has not violated the Eighth ...