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Cruz v. Schwarzenegger

February 3, 2009

RICHARD F. CRUZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCHWARZENEGGER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UNDER SECTION 1983 (Doc. 9) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Amended Complaint

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff Richard F. Cruz ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on March 12, 2008. On September 19, 2008, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend, for failure to state a claim. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's amended complaint, filed October 17, 2008.

II. 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)).

III. Summary of Amended Complaint

A. Allegations

Plaintiff is currently housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California, and this action arises from his exposure to Valley Fever. Plaintiff is seeking to impose liability for money damages on former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") Secretary James Tilton, CDCR Director Scott Kernan, Warden James Yates, Chief Medical Officer Felix Igbinosa, Inmate Appeals Branch Chief N. Grannis, G. Cassesi, Associate Warden John Ahlin, and Doctor K. Vilaysane ("Defendants") for violation of his rights under the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff was transferred to PVSP on March 10, 2005, and was seen by medical staff for headaches, weakness, nausea, and vomiting on September 15, 2005. Plaintiff was incorrectly diagnosed with hyponatremia on September 18, 2005, and then diagnosed with Valley Fever on September 24, 2005.

Plaintiff alleges that he filed an inmate appeal on September 8, 2005, notifying staff that arriving inmates were unaware that PVSP is an endemic area for Valley Fever and that he is not a native to the area. Plaintiff never received a response back, and alleges that Defendants Grannis, Cassesi, Ahlin, and Yates are responsible for ensuring the appeals process works properly. Plaintiff alleges that the policies and guidelines used to screen out appeals originated with Defendants Tilton and Kernan. ...


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