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TANYA L. LAWRENCE v. DR. BERRY

November 29, 2010

TANYA L. LAWRENCE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. BERRY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (DOC. 1)

Screening Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Tanya L. Lawrence ("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 initiated this action by filing her complaint on November 4, 2009. (Doc. 1.) On October 28, 2010, the matter was reassigned to the undersigned.

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 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary Of Complaint

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California Correctional Women's Facility ("CCWF") in Chowchilla, California. Plaintiff names as Defendants: dentist Berry, CDO Dr. Charles Lee, Dr. Mauricio, DDS, Dr. Nazareno, Dr. Baker, dental hygienist Lavern Blanchard, and the dental department.

Plaintiff alleges the following. She reported a problem with tooth #7 to Defendant Berry on September 18, 2001. This went untreated. Plaintiff also had numerous complaints and improper treatment from Defendants Mauricio and Nazareno, under the authority of Defendant Charles Lee. Defendant Lee berated Plaintiff with taunts of sending Plaintiff for a psych evaluation for imagining the pain, and to stop wasting staff's time. A root canal was performed and failed on September 18, 2003. An apicoectomy was granted on December 2004 and performed in 2006. Defendant Blanchard constantly persuaded to have Plaintiff's tooth extracted instead of appropriate treatment. On March 12, 2008, Plaintiff was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a result of the deliberate indifference and negligence of the dental department.

Plaintiff requests as relief coverage for her future medical expenses, and compensatory and punitive damages.

III. Analysis

A. Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. "The Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (quotation and citation omitted). A prisoner's claim of inadequate medical care does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation unless (1) "the prison official deprived the prisoner of the 'minimal civilized measure of life's necessities,'" and (2) "the prison official 'acted with deliberate indifference in doing so.'" Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted)). The deliberate indifference standard involves an objective and a subjective prong. First, the alleged deprivation must be, in objective terms, "sufficiently serious . . . ." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834 (citing Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). Second, the prison official must "know[] of and disregard[] an excessive risk to inmate health or safety . . . ." Id. at 837.

"Deliberate indifference is a high legal standard." Toguchi, 391 F.3d at 1060. "Under this standard, the prison official must not only 'be aware of the facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists,' but that person 'must also draw the inference.'" Id. at 1057 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837). "'If a prison official should have been aware of the risk, but was not, then the official has not violated the Eighth Amendment, ...


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