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Mora v. Salahuddin

August 4, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge


(Doc. 7)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Ramon Mora, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and California tort law on July 23, 2008. On February 23, 2009, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state any claims under section 1983. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on March 26, 2009.

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).

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)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Id. at 1949.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, who is housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California, brings this action for denial of proper medical care, in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In addition, Plaintiff alleges a claim for negligence under California law.

A. Defendants Salahuddin and Edwards

Plaintiff alleges that on or around August 6, 2007, he was seen by Defendant Salahuddin, a dentist, for the extraction of his infected wisdom tooth. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Salahuddin used very little novacaine and caused Plaintiff serious pain during the procedure. Further, Defendant Salahuddin failed to clear up the infection prior to surgery and failed to prescribe antibiotics following surgery, resulting in the spread of infection.

The day after surgery, Plaintiff's face was red and swollen. The condition continued to worsen and the swelling hardened, became enlarged, and spread to Plaintiff's neck. By August 8, 2007, Plaintiff could barely swallow or speak.

Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Edwards, another dentist, who was shocked at the swelling and prescribed antibiotics. Defendant Edwards said he would check on Plaintiff, but did not see Plaintiff again until August 10, 2007, at which time Plaintiff's face was a "red blur of pain," his throat was swelling shut, and he could not "breathe, eat, drink, talk or sleep." (Doc. 7, Amend. Comp., p. 4.) When Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Edwards, he could not speak and had to write down his symptoms. Plaintiff was taken to an outside hospital approximately four hours later, where he was told he needed emergency surgery or his throat could swell shut and kill him. Plaintiff was hospitalized for ten days following surgery.*fn1

"[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 ...

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