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Taylor v. State

October 21, 2009

CHARLES TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Oki Mollway Chief United States District Judge

SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Charles Taylor is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, this court "screens" Taylor's amended Complaint and determines that it has legally frivolous claims and has failed to state a claim. Because Taylor's Complaint cannot be amended to state any viable claim against Defendants, the court dismisses the amended Complaint with prejudice.

On February 15, 2008, Taylor filed a Complaint. Taylor sought relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and asked to proceed in forma pauperis. On June 20, 2008, the court granted his request to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed his Complaint because it failed to state a claim, denied his request for the appointment of counsel, and gave him leave to file an amended pleading. On July 21, 2008, Taylor filed his amended Complaint, naming the "State of California C.D.C.-R.," the Associate Warden, Deputy Warden, and "Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants, Correctional Officers, Medical Staff, Contract Medical Personnel, and DOES 1-100... employed at for and by the California Correctional Center in Susanville, California," as Defendants.

On January 5, 2009, this case was referred to Magistrate Judge Leslie Kobayashi, but this district judge now addresses this matter.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Because Taylor filed the present action as a pro se prisoner, this court must screen his Complaint to determine whether it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(a).

A complaint is frivolous "where it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); see also Lopez v. Dep't of Health Serv.'s, 939 F.2d 881, 882 (9th Cir. 1991) (per curiam)(noting that a "frivolous claim is one which lacks an arguable basis in law or fact"). The term "frivolous" embraces the inarguable legal conclusion, and the fanciful factual allegation. Williams, 490 U.S. at 325. A court may dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, or dismiss a claim whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. An example of the former is a claim against a defendant who is immune from suit, whereas an example of the latter is a claim describing fantastic or delusional scenarios. Id.

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the court takes all allegations of material fact as true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fed'n of African Am. Contractors v. City of Oakland, 96 F.3d 1204, 1207 (9th Cir. 1996). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to sufficiently allege the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (dismissing civil rights complaint). "[B]are assertions... amount[ing] to nothing more than a 'formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional discrimination claim" are not entitled to be assumed true. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1951 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). When a complaint raises an arguable question of law that is ultimately resolved against the plaintiff, dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is proper. Williams, 490 U.S. at 328 (1989).

District courts are "only required to grant leave to amend if a complaint can possibly be saved." Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1129 (9th Cir. 2000). A court may dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint with prejudice when it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint cannot be cured by amendment. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995).

III. BACKGROUND

Taylor is an inmate housed in a prison in Susanville, California. Taylor sues over actions that allegedly occurred in late December 2006 and January 2007. Taylor contends that there was ice on "the ground" on December 9, 2006. Amend. Compl. at 4. He says that supervisors responsible for the "care and welfare of the inmates" failed to order that "salt, gravel, and or other substance to improve walking conditions" be spread on the ground. Id. He alleges that, as a result of the icy conditions, he slipped and fell, injuring his knee. Id. He alleges that, after he received medical treatment for his knee, he noticed that the icy ground "was still untreated; which amounts to 'deliberate indifference' or at least, intentional neglect." Id.

Other than alleging that failure to salt the ice amounts to deliberate indifference, Taylor's amended Complaint is essentially a timeline of his injuries and his medical treatment. Taylor alleges that, after injuring his knee, he somehow injured his wrist and received medical treatment. Id. He then alleges that he injured his toe in January 2007 and received treatment consisting of a "moon boot" and a cane. Id. at 5. He contends that this treatment was "so un-caring as to amount to 'deliberate indifference'" on the part of the doctor. Id. In late January, he received treatment for a wrist injury. He contends that the medical record "clearly states that Taylor was not consulted concerning his wrist," which he claims demonstrates "'deliberate indifference,' 'medical negligence,' or simple incompetence."

Id. The next eighteen paragraphs set forth the dates he received medical treatment, and what that treatment entailed. These paragraphs do ...


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