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Ellis v. Tilton

January 12, 2009

LEGRANTE V. ELLIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TILTON, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Wunderlich United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

(Doc. 1)

I. SCREENING ORDER

LeGrante V. Ellis ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff filed his complaint on September 17, 2007--which is presently before the Court for screening.

A. Screening Requirement

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)).

B. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

Plaintiff is a state prisoner at Correctional Training Facility ("CTF") in Soledad, California. The acts he complains of occurred while he was imprisoned at North Kern State Prison ("NKSP") and Kern Valley State Prison ("KVSP") in Delano, California.

Plaintiff names as defendants: (1) CDCR personnel--Director James Tilton and Facility Captain P. Enriquez; (2) NKSP personnel--Warden Doe 1, Chief Medical Officer Doe 2, and M. Salum, R.N.; and (3) KVSP personnel--Warden M. Knowles, Chief Medical Officer Doe 3, AGAP/MAD A. Hooper, Health Care Managers A. Sayed, M.D. and S. Zamora, M. Spaeth, M.D., J. Akanno, M.D., and Does 4-10.

Plaintiff alleges that on August 5, 2005, while housed at NKSP, he injured his left knee. He was seen and examined by a prison doctor (not named as a defendant) who prescribed medication and requested Plaintiff be referred for examination by an orthopedic surgeon. Even though the orthopedic examination had not occurred, Defendant Salum R.N. cleared Plaintiff for transfer noting "no current medical" and that he had "no meds on file." Plaintiff was transferred to KVSP, where he was seen by prison medical personnel, prescribed pain medications, a knee brace, and MRI, and ultimately referred for orthopedic consultation and surgery.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and monetary damages.

Plaintiff may be able to amend to correct deficiencies in his pleading so as to state a cognizable claim. Plaintiff is given the applicable standards based on his factual statements and leave to file a first amended complaint.

C. Pleading Requirements

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 18(a)

"The controlling principle appears in Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a)'A party asserting a claim to relief as an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an opposing party.' Thus multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in different suits, not only to prevent the sort of morass [a multiple claim, multiple defendant] suit produce[s], but also to ensure that prisoners pay the required filing fees-for the Prison Litigation Reform Act limits to 3 ...


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