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Short v. Sanzberro

December 18, 2009


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


Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff Rodney L. Short, a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 on June 9, 2009. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint as a matter of right on August 20, 2009. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a).

The in forma pauperis statutes provides that "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 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences," Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusion are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002) (emphasis added). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal at 1949-50; Moss at 969.

II. Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A. First Incident

Plaintiff is a civil detainee at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH). On April 29, 2009, Plaintiff and Defendant Sanzberro, who was the unit supervisor, engaged in a verbal altercation regarding another detainee's loud music and Sanzberro's decision to reprimand Plaintiff's roommate for yelling about the loud music rather than either tell the other detainee to turn down the music or return the other detainee's confiscated headphones so that he could listen to his music privately. After Sanzberro told Plaintiff he was not going to talk to Plaintiff about the issue, Plaintiff kicked over a trash can, told Sanzberro to talk about that, and returned to his room, where he laid down on his bed.

Defendant Sanzberro, and Defendants Grijalva and Kowall, both of whom were psychiatric technicians, immediately followed Plaintiff, and Grijalva told Plaintiff he was going to isolation. Plaintiff protested that patients do not go to isolation for kicking a trash can, and Sanzberro and Grijalva each grabbed one of Plaintiff's arms and pulled him out of bed. Kowall then grabbed Plaintiff and all three wrestled Plaintiff to the ground and placed him in mechanical restraints. Grijalva grabbed, twisted, and pulled back Plaintiff's left pinky finger, trying to break it intentionally. An eyewitness yelled at Grijalva to stop and he let go of Plaintiff's finger. Plaintiff was then taken to isolation by force.

Defendants Sanzberro, Grijalva, and Kowall, and Defendant Roggencamp, who was a registered nurse, subsequently came to isolation and asked Plaintiff if he would "take this shot," meaning psychotropic drugs administered via injection. (Doc. 14, Amend. Comp., ¶38.) Plaintiff refused and told Defendants they could not forcibly medicate him. Defendants then held Plaintiff down, pulled his pants down, and injected him in the buttock with five milligrams of Haldol and two milligrams of Ativan.

Plaintiff thereafter began to practice Tae Bo, which he practiced every day at noon. Defendant Gill, a physician, observed Plaintiff practicing Tae Bo and declared him to be having a manic episode, which led to the order that Plaintiff be injected with more antipsychotic drugs. No defendants or other staff members informed Gill that Plaintiff practiced Tae Bo every day, and Plaintiff was injected with drugs in his right buttock.

At 12:55 p.m., Sanzberro, Grijalva, Kowall, and Roggencamp came to isolation and injected Plaintiff with ten milligrams of Zyprexa along with sterile water. At 3:55 p.m., Sanzberro, Grijalva, Kowall, and Roggencamp returned again and injected Plaintiff with ten milligrams of Zyprexa and two milligrams of Ativan. Plaintiff remembers leaving isolation for the dining room that evening. When Plaintiff awoke the next morning, he was sitting on the floor next to his bed with a plate of rice on the right side of his head, a plate of rice on the left side of his head, and a plate of rice under his head.

Plaintiff was told that he was forbidden from attending yoga class, and that he was on "Q15," which means an eye contact check with staff every fifteen minutes around the clock, although he was not checked every fifteen minutes.

Plaintiff went to his yoga class, and when he arrived, he was told he would be physically removed if he did not leave. Plaintiff was taken back to his unit by Grijalva, who told Plaintiff that he had to talk to Gill or else he would remain on Q15. Plaintiff spoke with Gill, but only remembers that Gill removed him from Q15. It took another three days for the medication to wear off to the point Plaintiff was functional, but three weeks later, the ...

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