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Coleman v. Adams

May 6, 2009


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


(Doc. 17)

Findings and Recommendations Following Screening of Complaint

Plaintiff Saahdi Coleman ("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 is in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and is incarcerated at Folsom State Prison in Represa, California. However the events in his complaint took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Corcoran Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California ("CSTAF"). Plaintiff is suing under section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff raises supplemental state law claims as well*fn1 . Plaintiff names Derral G. Adams, M. Divine, G. Martinez, J. H. Close, S. Suryadevara, Kyle, Nguyen, Deering, A. Quezada, Smith, and Vierra as defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the court recommends that Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment Claims be dismissed.

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. Background

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on June 29, 2006. (Doc. #1.) Plaintiff, on his own initiative and not by order from the court, filed an amended complaint ("First Amended Complaint") on April 14, 2008. (Doc. #10.) The court screened Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint on March 31, 2009. (Doc. #16.) The court found that only some of Plaintiff's claims were cognizable and ordered Plaintiff either to file an amended complaint or proceed only on the claims found to be cognizable. Plaintiff opted to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on April 14, 2009. (Doc. #17.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' deficient medical treatment of Plaintiff's vision impairment amounted to a violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff was given a medical screening when he arrived at CSATF in September 2003. Plaintiff informed medical staff of a pre-existing vision problem. Plaintiff was placed on the specialty clinic waiting list. Plaintiff received a priority ducat from the specialty clinic for December 3, 2003. However, Plaintiff was not taken to the specialty clinic. Plaintiff filed an "Inmate Request for Interview" and a "Health Care Services Request" form but did not receive a response. On December 29, 2003, Plaintiff filed an "Inmate/Parolee Appeal" form.

On January 6, 2004, Plaintiff fell while climbing off his top bunk due to his vision problem. Plaintiff was sent to the med line and was treated by Defendant Kyle. Defendant Kyle noticed a contusion and swelling on Plaintiff's right hand and prescribed pain medication and ordered an xray. Plaintiff filed a second "Inmate/Parolee Appeal" requesting medical treatment. On January 28, 2004, Plaintiff was interviewed regarding his appeal by Defendant Kyle. Plaintiff was given an eye exam for his vision problem. Defendant Kyle determined that it was likely that Plaintiff would need glasses to correct his vision problem. Defendant Kyle made a specialty clinic appointment for Plaintiff.

On January 30, 2004, Plaintiff fell down a flight of stairs causing injury to his neck, back, ankle, and hand. Plaintiff was treated at the Corcoran District Hospital and placed in a neck brace. An ankle wrap was ordered for Plaintiff and he was prescribed pain medication. Upon Plaintiff's return to CSTAF, he was examined by a nurse who informed Plaintiff that he would receive temporary pain medication and would be placed on the med line list. The nurse contacted Defendant Vierra (medical technical assistant, "MTA") and informed him that Plaintiff sustained injuries to his neck, back, ankle, and hand. Defendant Vierra was told to issue Plaintiff temporary pain medication and to place Plaintiff on the med line list for February 2, 2004.

On February 2, 2004, Plaintiff filed another "Inmate/Parolee Appeal" explaining his accident and complaining about the inadequate medical care following his treatment at Corcoran District Hospital. On February 4, 2004, Plaintiff informed the MTA at morning pill call that he had not received any pain medication after his accident. Plaintiff informed medical staff that he had been unable to move ...

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