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Dwight A. Staten v. J. Wang

June 9, 2011

DWIGHT A. STATEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
J. WANG, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO EITHER FILE A SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY THE COURT OF WILLINGNESS TO PROCEED ONLY ON COGNIZABLE EIGHTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS JONES AND SHELBURN (ECF No. 16) /THIRTY DAY DEADLINE SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Dwight A. Staten ("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 filed this action on May 5, 2009. (ECF No. 1.) The original complaint was dismissed with leave to amend for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 10.) Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on March 7, 2011. (ECF No. 16.) It is this First Amended Complaint that is now before the Court for screening.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has stated at least one claim upon which relief may be granted

II. SCREENING REQUIREMENTS

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 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.

III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff alleges violations of his Eighth Amendment right to receive adequate medical care. Plaintiff names the following individuals as Defendants: J. Wang, Chief Medical Officer; J. Jones, M.T.A.; and S. Shelburn, Registered Nurse.

Plaintiff alleges as follows: On July 21, 2008, Plaintiff had surgery to remove a cyst from his neck. Surgeons dressed Plaintiff's neck with gauze and a drainage hose to allow discharge from the wound. Instructions were given to prison officials to change the dressing three times per day, which entailed cleaning the wound with peroxide and applying a new dressing. On July 28, 2008, Defendant Jones refused to change the dressing. On August 28, 2008, Defendant Shelburn refused to change Plaintiff's dressing.

As a result, Plaintiff's wound became infected.

Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, declaratory relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, and injunctive relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2283 and 2284, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65.

IV. ANALYSIS

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides:

Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "Section 1983 . . . creates a cause of action for violations of the federal Constitution and laws." Sweaney v. Ada County, Idaho, 119 F.3d 1385, 1391 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal quotations omitted).

A. Eighth Amendment

Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

"[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate must show 'deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.'" Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires the plaintiff to show (1) "'a serious medical need' by demonstrating that 'failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,'" and (2) "the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (quoting McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc) (internal quotations omitted)). Deliberate indifference is shown by "a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need, and harm caused by the indifference." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060). In order to state a claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment, a plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support a claim that the named defendants "[knew] of and disregard[ed] an excessive risk to [Plaintiff's] health . . . ." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).

The objective component of deliberate indifference requires the showing of a serious medical need. "A 'serious' medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain'." McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059 (9th Cir. 1992) (quoting Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104); see also Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096. "This is true whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with treatment once ...


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