The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (Doc. 13) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS
Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Amended Complaint
Plaintiff Gilbert Colon ("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 June 28, 2007. The Court dismissed the complaint on April 4, 2008, for failure to state any claims under section 1983, and then granted Plaintiff's motion for extension of time to file an amended complaint on April 23, 2008. Plaintiff filed his amended complaint on June 5, 2008.
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 this action. 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)).
Plaintiff is a state prisoner who is currently housed at Centinela State Prison in Imperial, California. The alleged incidents in the complaint took place while Plaintiff was housed at Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown. Plaintiff alleges an Eighth Amendment violation for inadequate medical care, and seeks damages and injunctive relief from Defendants Dr. Peterson, Dr. St. Clair, Dr. Thomatos, Dr. Witwer, Dr. Greenbough, Dr. Sydenstricker, other medical staff at Sierra Conservation Camp, Dr. Stogsdill, Correctional Officer D.L. Porter, and N. Grannis, Chief Inmate Appeals Branch Officer.
The basis for Plaintiff's medical claim is Defendants' failure to adequate test, diagnose, and treat his medical issues, including the failure to treat the severe neck, shoulder, arm, and back pain he was experiencing as a result of his condition. Plaintiff alleges that he is currently receiving morphine and methadone for the pain stemming from his medical condition, and that Defendants should have taken steps to provide him with adequate pain relief while he was at the Sierra Conservation Center.
B. Eighth Amendment: Inadequate Medical Care
"[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate must show 'deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.'" Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 295 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires the plaintiff to show (1) "'a serious medical need' by demonstrating that 'failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,'" and (2) "the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (quoting 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) (internal quotations omitted)). Deliberate indifference is shown by "a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need, and harm caused by the indifference." Id. (citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060). Deliberate indifference may be manifested "when prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or it may be shown by the way in which prison physicians provide medical care." Id. (citing McGuckin at 1060 (internal quotations omitted)).
Plaintiff's mere disagreement with the diagnoses and courses of treatment chosen by his physicians will not support an Eighth Amendment claim. Franklin v. Oregon, 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal citation omitted). However, a complete denial of medical care is not required to show deliberate indifference, Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1132 (9th Cir. 2000) (emphasis added), and at the pleading stage, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that he was in severe, chronic pain, but Defendants Peterson, Thomatos, Witwer, Greenbough, and Sydenstricker, all of whom were physicians who examined and treated him, failed to address his medical needs, leaving him to suffer, Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007); Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1157-58 (9th Cir. 2008). Defendants Porter, Grannis, and Stogsdill were involved in reviewing and issuing decisions on Plaintiff's inmate appeal relating to his medical needs. Plaintiff's disagreement with their decisions in resolving his inmate appeal does not provide any basis for the imposition of liability under section 1983. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 609 (7th Cir. ...