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Fields v. Roberts

April 7, 2010


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


(Doc. 41)

Plaintiff Kevin E. Fields ("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 ("CDCR") and is currently incarcerated at the California State Prison in Corcoran, California ("CSP-Corcoran"). Plaintiff is suing under section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the First and Eighth Amendments. Plaintiff also raises claims under state law. Plaintiff names P. Roberts (registered nurse), Jeff Neubarth (doctor), William McGuinness (chief medical officer), and Corcoran State Prison as defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint fails to state any claims upon which relief may be granted under section 1983. Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed with leave to file a fifth amended complaint within 30 days.

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).

In determining whether a complaint fails to state a claim, the Court uses the same pleading standard used under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under 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)(2). "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability... 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true. Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

II. Background

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed the original complaint in this action on April 10, 2006. (Doc. #1.) On December 21, 2006, Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint. (Doc. #13.) On July 26, 2007, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint. (Doc. #19.) The Court granted Plaintiff's motion and Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint on August 1, 2007. (Docs. #22, 23.) On June 25, 2008, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's second amended complaint for failing to state any claims. (Doc. #27.) Plaintiff was granted leave to file a third amended complaint. On August 18, 2008, Plaintiff filed his third amended complaint. (Doc. #35.) On June 16, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion to file a fourth amended complaint. (Doc. #38.) The Court granted Plaintiff's motion and Plaintiff filed his fourth amended complaint on June 18, 2009. (Doc. #40, 41.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment through their deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Plaintiff claims that he experienced excruciating pain in his neck and complained to medical personnel while at CSP-Corcoran. (Compl. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff was diagnosed with "degenerative osteoarthritic changes," "discherniation," and "compression on the anterior aspect of cervical spinal cord." (Compl. ¶ 12.)

On December 13, 2005, Plaintiff was sent to the Mercy Medical Center in Bakersfield, California for a consult with Dr. Mahmoud Rashidi. (Compl. ¶ 13.) Dr. Rashidi ordered CSP-Corcoran officials to refill Plaintiff's pain medication because it was going to expire in a few days. (Compl. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff claims that his pain medication prescription expired on December 17, 2005 because prison officials failed to obey Dr. Rashidi's orders. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff began submitting medical care requests. (Compl. ¶ 14.) On December 27, 2005, Plaintiff was summoned to the medical clinic for a consult with Defendant Neubarth. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Neubarth refused to renew Plaintiff's pain medication prescription because Neubarth only prescribed narcotics to cancer patients. (Compl. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff asked Neubarth to refer Plaintiff to another doctor, but Neubarth refused. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-18.)

On January 5, 2006, Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance about Neubarth's refusal to provide Plaintiff with pain medication. (Compl. ¶ 19.) On January 19, 2006, Defendant McGuinness assigned Plaintiff's grievance to J. Amaya for an informal level response. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff's grievance was denied. (Compl. ¶ 20.) On January 24, 2006, Plaintiff appealed the decision. (Compl. ¶ 21.) On February 16, 2006, Defendant Roberts interviewed Plaintiff about his grievance. (Compl. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff complained that the grievance should not have been assigned to Roberts because she did not have the authority to change anything. (Compl. ¶ 23.) Roberts told Plaintiff that she did have authority and told Plaintiff that she reviewed Plaintiff's medical file and told Plaintiff that he was abusing the system with frivolous medical complaints. (Compl. ¶ 24.) Plaintiff requested that Roberts forward his grievance to the chief medical officer, but Roberts responded by leaving. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff continued to complain to Roberts about his excruciating pain. (Compl. ¶ 27.)

On March 15, 2006, Plaintiff's "celly" complained to the control booth officer about Plaintiff's pain. (Compl. ¶ 28.) The officers summoned Roberts to assess Plaintiff's condition. (Compl. ¶ 28.) Roberts arrived and told Plaintiff that she did not know what Plaintiff was complaining about because she placed Plaintiff on the doctor's list for March 23, 2006. (Compl. ¶ 29.) Plaintiff cursed at her and Roberts walked away. (Compl. ¶ 29.) Plaintiff complains that Roberts then placed two false medical records in Plaintiff's file "to cover-up her deliberate indifference towards my serious ...

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