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Jeffrey Works v. Matthew Cate

March 22, 2011

JEFFREY WORKS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (Doc. 1)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

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 has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1).

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). ///

Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to § 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A., 534 U.S. 506 (512) (2002). Pursuant to 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). "Such a statement must simply give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of the cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (209), citing Bell Atlantic 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.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

Although accepted as true, "[f]actual allegations must be [sufficient] to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). A plaintiff must set forth "the grounds of his entitlement to relief,'" which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 555-56 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). To adequately state a claim against a defendant, a plaintiff must set forth the legal and factual basis for his claim.

II. Plaintiff's Claims

The events at issue in this action occurred at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP), where Plaintiff is currently housed. Plaintiff is bringing this action against correctional officials employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Plaintiff claims that he was exposed to Valley Fever and subjected to inadequate medical treatment. Plaintiff names the following individual defendants: Matthew Cate, Secretary of Youth and Adult Corrections; Susan Hubbard, Director of the CDCR; James Yates, Warden at PVSP; F. Igbinosa, Chief Medical Officer at PVSP.

Plaintiffwas transferred to PVSP in November of 2004. Plaintiff alleges that all of the Defendants knew that PVSP wasin a "hyperendemic" area in 2004. (Compl. ¶ 11.) In December of 2005, Plaintiff "began incurring severe body aches, fever, sweating, coughing, and severe chest pains." (Compl. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff's complaints to medical staff were "ignored without treatment or referral to a physician." Id. Plaintiff was transferred to the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran (SATF). Plaintiff alleges that his medical file was not sent to SATF, causing Plaintiff to be prescribed incorrect medication. Id.

In February of 2006, Plaintiff was admitted to Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, where he began treatment for valley fever. Plaintiff describes his condition as "progressed to a critical and acute stage where the pain and suffering become unbearable. The disease further caused pleuritis causing a 'hole' to manifest in one of his lungs. Plaintiff nearly expired." (Compl. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff was hospitalized for over 80 days, and continues to suffer from chronic exhaustion, shortness of breath and joint pain. (Compl. ¶ 14.)

A. Valley Fever

As to Plaintiff's claim that Defendants intentionally transferred Plaintiff to a prison where he was subjected to valley fever, the courts of this district have found such claims to be insufficient. "[T]o the extent that Plaintiff is attempting to pursue an Eighth Amendment claim for the mere fact that he was confined in a location where Valley Fever spores existed which caused him to contract Valley Fever, he is advised that no courts have held that exposure to Valley Fever spores presents an excessive risk to inmate health." King v. Avenal State Prison, 2009 WL 546212, *4 (E.D. Cal., Mar 4, 2009); see also Tholmer v. Yates, 2009 WL 174162, *3 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2009)("To the extent Plaintiff seeks to raise an Eighth Amendment challenge to the general conditions of confinement at PVSP, Plaintiff fails to come forward with ...


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