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Jones v. Igbinosa

July 16, 2010

GREGORY JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FELIX IGBINOSA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION (Doc. 13) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff Gregory Jones ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se 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 Correctional Institution in Tehachapi, California. However, the events described in Plaintiff's amended complaint took place while he was incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff names James Yates (warden) and Felix Igbinosa (chief medical doctor) as defendants. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's amended complaint fails to state any claims upon which relief can be granted under Section 1983. The Court further finds that the deficiencies in Plaintiff's complaint cannot be cured by further amendment of the complaint. The Court will recommend that Plaintiff's amended complaint be dismissed without leave to amend.

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

This action was removed from the Fresno County Superior Court on February 1, 2008. (Doc. #1.) On August 6, 2009, this Court screened Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court found that Plaintiff's complaint failed to state any claims upon which relief could be granted under Section 1983. The Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to file an amended complaint that cured the deficiencies in his claims. Plaintiff filed his first amended complaint on October 19, 2009. (Doc. #13.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's first amended complaint.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff complains that Defendants Yates and Igbinosa failed to give Plaintiff notice that he was living in an area where he had a high risk of contracting valley fever. Plaintiff contracted valley fever on February 6, 2006. Plaintiff claims that sometime between 2001 and 2006, Yates and Igbinosa knew that PVSP was located in an area with a high risk of contracting valley fever. Plaintiff contends that valley fever caused the deaths of inmates and staff at PVSP. Plaintiff further contends that the "Center of Disease and Control" informed Defendants that they should transfer "high risk" inmates out of the area due to the risk of valley fever. It is unclear which inmates are considered "high risk," though Plaintiff later alleges that "blacks afo-americans[sic] and filipinos[sic] are at greater risk of complications from the deadly disease." (Am. Compl. 19:19-13, ECF No. 13.)

Plaintiff states that he was prescribed difluca. Plaintiff complains that difluca is a medication that should not be prescribed for more than ninety (90) days and that Plaintiff's prolonged use of difluca resulted in a weakened immune system, causing him to contract pneumonia. Plaintiff also complains that his medical treatment was delayed after he contracted valley fever; however, he provides no details as to how his treatment was delayed, or what further injury was caused by the delay.

Plaintiff also alleges that after he requested a transfer, the "Administrative Classification Committee" told Plaintiff "to have the doctor's[sic] at (PVSP) to say[sic] transfer Plaintiff because of Plaintiff (valley fever) conditions an[sic] that Plaintiff should be transfer to another prison out of the epidemic (PVSP) area." (Am. Compl. 15:4-9, ECF No. 13.) Although, Plaintiff's allegations are not entirely clear, he appears to allege that the committee told him that he would only be transferred out of PVSP if a doctor recommended transfer.

III. Discussion

Plaintiff claims that Defendants Yates and Igbinosa violated the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishments and "embodies 'broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity and decency.'" Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976) (quoting Jackson v. Bishop, 404 F.2d 571, 579 (8th Cir. 1968)). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met: (1) the objective requirement that the deprivation is "sufficiently serious," and (2) the subjective requirement that the ...


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