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Hansen v. CAL/PIA

March 19, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge



I. Background

Plaintiff Gary Hansen ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed his complaint on September 17, 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 Atl. 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 conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary of Complaint And Analysis

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Avenal State Prison ("ASP") where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as defendants: David Schomacher (also called Schumacher), superintendent at CAL/PIA furniture factory at ASP; supervisor at CAL/PIA; Franetovich, superintendent in assembly/mill area; doctor Kent Yamaguchi, orthopedic surgeon at Fresno Community Hospital (FCH); and Dr. Rains.

Plaintiff alleges the following. On February 8, 2008, while working at the CAL/PIA furniture factory, Plaintiff was using a Northfiled tablesaw, which he had never used before, to cut a "blind dado." While cutting, the blade caught hold of the board and dragged it and the Plaintiff's hand across the blade, causing damage three fingers. Plaintiff followed the instructions of Defendant Franetovich in following the shop order.

After being cut, Plaintiff reported to Franetovich, who instructed Plaintiff to turn in his tools and get his ID. Plaintiff was escorted by a C/O through work change to the ambulance, which took him to outpatient housing unit. Dr. Greenleaf evaluated Plaintiff's injury and gave him a pack of gauze. Plaintiff was also given antibiotics and morphine and transported to FCH for emergency surgery. At Fresno Community Medical Center, Plaintiff was given a brief evaluation. Defendant Rain looked at the injury and suggested amputation. Plaintiff asked if his fingers could be reconstructed. After x-rays, Dr. Rain told Plaintiff that the bone in his fifth digit was broken into three pieces, and one of the pieces needed to be removed, and they would hope for the best. Plaintiff was wheeled into surgery with Defendant Yamaguchi. Surgery was performed, and Plaintiff's finger was stitched, and placed in a splint. More prescriptions were provided to alleviate the pain.

On February 15, 2008, Defendant Schumacher filed a CDC-128 against Plaintiff for failure to have Defendant Franetovich inspect the tablesaw prior to usage. Plaintiff however was following Franetovich's orders, which stated that inmate workers were to set up their own machines and process one item before calling over the supervisor to inspect it. Defendant Schumacher was the one who issued the shop order regarding the use of a Northfield tablesaw to cut a dado.

Thirteen months later, Plaintiff, still suffering great pain, was evaluated by Dr. Yamaguchi again. Defendant Yamaguchi x-rayed Plaintiff's hand and advised Plaintiff that amputation was necessary. The material that was sewn back on was contributing to Plaintiff's problems in his hand and arm. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Having reviewed Plaintiff's complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiff does not allege any federal claims. Plaintiff's allegations amount at most to negligence, which is not a claim under § 1983. A complaint that a defendant has been negligent does not state a valid Eighth Amendment claim. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); see also Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006); Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057, 1060 (9th Cir. 2006); Clement v. Gomez, 298 F.3d 898, 904-05 (9th Cir. 2002); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

A prisoner's claim of inadequate medical care does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment unless the mistreatment rises to the level of "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs." Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. The "deliberate indifference" standard involves an objective and a subjective prong. First, the alleged deprivation must be, in objective terms, "sufficiently serious." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (citing Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). Second, the prison official must act with a "sufficiently culpable state of mind," which entails more than mere negligence, but less than conduct undertaken for the very purpose of causing harm. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. A prison official does not act in a deliberately ...

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