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Cranford v. Nickels

July 28, 2010

ARCHIE CRANFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRISTINA NICKELS, DEFENDANT.



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

FINDING AND RECOMMENDATION THAT PLAINTIFF PROCEED ONLY ON CLAIMS FOUND TO BE COGNIZABLE (Doc. 12) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

Plaintiff Archie Cranford ("Plaintiff") is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff currently resides at Coalinga State Hospital ("CSH") in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff is suing under Section 1983 for the violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff names Christina Nickels as defendant. For the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that Plaintiff proceed only on those claims found to be cognizable.

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 December 13, 2007. (Doc. 1.) The court ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint on July 15, 2008. (Doc. 6.) Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on July 30, 2008. (Doc. 8.) The court screened Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint on October 9, 2009, and required Plaintiff to notify the court of his willingness to proceed on cognizable claims or to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 11.) Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on October 29, 2009. (Doc. 12.) This action proceeds on Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint.

B. Factual Background

As a sexually violent predator ("SVP"), Plaintiff has been committed as a civil detainee at CSH. On November 23, 2007, Plaintiff alleges that he was experiencing massive chest pains and approached Defendant at the medicine window to request his prescribed heart medication. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant stated that "[Plaintiff] was a white patient and only Mexican patients could receve [sic] medications from her." Second Am. Compl. ("SAC") 4.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant racially discriminated against him, inflicted cruel and unusual punishment upon him, and was deliberately indifferent to his needs in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

III. Discussion

A. Eighth Amendment

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated his Eighth Amendment rights. However, the Eighth Amendment does not apply to civil detainees because they have not been committed for punitive reasons. Because Plaintiff has not been incarcerated as a prisoner, the Eighth Amendment is not applicable. Defendant's alleged cruel and unusual conduct is more properly analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment as a ...


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