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Stanfield v. Callaway

January 30, 2009

JAMES EDWARD STANFIELD, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEVEN CALLAWAY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT OR TO NOTIFY COURT OF WILLINGNESS TO PROCEED ONLY ON CLAIMS FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE

(Doc. 1)

RESPONSE DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff James Edward Stanfield, Sr. ("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 was incarcerated with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at Wasco State Prison in Wasco, California ("Wasco") when the events described in his complaint took place. Plaintiff is suing defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff does not specify what rights he was deprived of, but they appear to arise under the First and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff names Licensed Vocational Nurse ("L.V.N.") Woolfolk, L.V.N. Garcia, L.V.N. Casimiro, L.V.N. Steven Callaway, Dr. Chand (psychiatrist), Dr. Challakere (psychiatrist), Dr. Landicho (head psychiatrist), and Associate Warden Cooper as defendants. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief.

The Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint states some cognizable claims and will give Plaintiff the opportunity to either proceed on the claims found cognizable in this order, or file an amended complaint to remedy the claims that are not cognizable.

I. 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)).

II. Factual Background

On October 28, 2007, Plaintiff was given his anti-psychotic medication (Seroquel) by the LVN on duty that day. The Seroquel was given to Plaintiff in crushed form. Plaintiff alleges that because the Seroquel was crushed, it affected him so quickly that when he returned to his bunk he blacked out while opening a drawer. When he blacked out, he hit his head on the drawer causing a cut above his right eye.

Plaintiff filed an inmate administrative appeal to prevent the LVNs from crushing his Seroquel. Plaintiff's appeal was granted and signed by Defendant Challakere, which directed LVNs to stop crushing Plaintiff's Seroquel. Defendant Challakere told Plaintiff to show the appeal to the LVNs. On November 23, 2007, Plaintiff showed Defendant Woolfolk the appeal. Defendant Woolfolk stated that Defendant Challakere did not have the authority to order her to cease crushing Plaintiff's Seroquel and continued to crush Plaintiff's medication. On November 24, 2007, Defendant Callaway stated that Plaintiff's appeal was not real and that Defendant Challakere did not have the authority to order him to cease crushing Plaintiff's Seroquel.

III. Discussion

B. First Amendment Claim - Retaliation

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Woolfolk retaliated against Plaintiff because Plaintiff filed an inmate administrative grievance accusing her of misconduct. In the prison context, allegations of retaliation against a prisoner's First Amendment rights to speech or to petition the government may support a section 1983 claim. Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 532 (9th Cir. 1985); see also Valandingham v. Bojorquez, 866 F.2d 1135 (9th Cir. 1989); Pratt v. Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 807 (9th Cir. 1995). "[A] viable claim of First Amendment retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate (2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably advance a legitimate correctional goal." Rhodes v. Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, ...


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