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Donald B. Williams v. State of California

August 26, 2011

DONALD B. WILLIAMS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Seng United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION FOR DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS THIRTY DAY DEADLINE

(ECF Nos. 18 and 19)

Plaintiff Donald B. Williams ("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 initiated this action on February 2, 2011. (ECF No. 1.) The Court screened Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, dismissed it for failure to state a claim, and gave Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on April 20, 2011. (ECF No. 15.) The Court found that Plaintiff stated a medical care claim against Defendants Enenmoh, Oneyeje, LeMay, Byers, and Faria, but failed to state any other claim upon which relief could be granted. (ECF No. 18.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to either file a second amended complaint, or notify the Court of his willingness to proceed on his cognizable claim. (Id.) Plaintiff notified the Court that he was willing to proceed on his only cognizable claim against Defendants Enenmoh, Oneyeje, LeMay, Byers, and Faria. (ECF No. 19.) Plaintiff's other claims and certain Defendants should now be dismissed.

I. ANALYSIS

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. § 1915(A)(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereon 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. § 1915(A)(b)(1),(2).

The Court reviewed Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint pursuant to this statue, and issued a Screening Order on July 21, 2011. (ECF No. 18.) The Court found as follows:

A. Claims Against the Department of Corrections

The Eleventh Amendment prohibits suits against state agencies. (ECF No. 9); See Natural Res. Def. Council v. California Dep't of Transp., 96 F.3d 420, 421 (9th Cir. 1996); Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co-op., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th 1991); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (concluding that Nevada Department of Prisons was a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity); Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College Dist., 861 F.2d 198, 201 (9th Cir. 1989). Because Defendant the California Department of Corrections is a state agency, it is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit. Because this Defendant was immune from suit, Plaintiff could not recover from it.

B. Claims Against Defendant Allison

To state a claim for a constitutional violation under Section 1983, Plaintiff needed to demonstrate that each Defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court recently emphasized that the term "supervisory liability," loosely and commonly used by both courts and litigants alike, is a misnomer. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Government officials may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat superior." Id. at 1948. Rather, each government official, regardless of his or her title, is only liable for his or her own misconduct. Therefore, Plaintiff needed to demonstrate that each Defendant, through his or her own individual actions, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Id. at 1948-49.

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint attributed no wrong to Defendant Allison beyond attributing deliberate indifference to the risks posed by Plaintiff's lack of medical treatment and by approving the prison's policy on access to medical care. Defendant Allison could not be held liable based solely on her position as warden of the California State Prison at Corcoran.

C. Claims Against Defendants Rodriguez, Beltran, Stohl, and Childress

Plaintiff alleged that non-medical personnel Defendants Rodriguez, Beltran, Stohl, Childress, and Lofkin (collectively, "Prison Personnel Defendants") violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights by helping medical personnel deprive Plaintiff of access to his diabetic ...


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