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Robert Earl Griffin v. Kern Medical Center

September 14, 2011

ROBERT EARL GRIFFIN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
KERN MEDICAL CENTER, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



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

ORDER FINDING CLAIM AGAINST DR. FRA NK C HI N AN D JOHN DOE COGNIZABLE AND DISMISSING ALL OTHER CLAIMS (ECF No. 27)

SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 30, 2009, Plaintiff Robert Earl Griffin, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 7.)

The original complaint was screened and dismissed, with leave to amend, on May 28, 2010. (ECF No. 16.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, filed October 4, 2010, is now before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 27.)

II. 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, malicious," or 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).

Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the 'deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

The First Amended Complaint alleges the following named defendants violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights: (1) Kern Medical Center; (2) Dr. Frank Chin, Kern Medical Center; and (3) John Doe, Sheriff's Department Transport Officer, Kern Medical Center.

Plaintiff alleges the following: "Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee when, on June 4, 2007 he slipped and fell . . ., hit his head on a steel table and lacerated a deep cut above his left eye. Plaintiff was taken to Kern Medical Center . . . for treatment of the cut . . . ." (Compl. at 7.) Defendant Chin, a primary care physician at the Medical Center, closed the wound with stitches but failed to prescribe antibiotics or apply a bandage. Defendant Chin did not apply anesthetic, "did not prescribe pain medications, and failed to order MRI, Cat-Scan or X-Rays." (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff's treatment was interrupted by Defendant John Doe, who "deliberately interfered [with Defendant Chin]'s operation, by intimidating and hurrying the doctor who was attending to [P]laintiff . . . ." (Id.) The interruption resulted in Plaintiff leaving without antibiotics, causing an infection and blindness in the left eye, and without bandage, resulting in pain and suffering. (Id. at 5.) Defendant Chin's acquiescence to Defendant John Doe's actions was against Kern Medical Center policy, which requires physicians to complete treatment. Kern Medical Center, a municipality acting under color of law, likely had policies requiring doctors to conduct follow up treatment in the event a procedure is interrupted. (Id. at 4.) "No follow-up was ordered . . . ." (Id.)

Plaintiff concludes that the inadequate medical care in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights was caused by Defendant John Doe interrupting Plaintiff's treatment and Defendant Chin allowing the interruption and failing to follow up with Plaintiff after the interrupted procedure. Plaintiff attributes liability to Kern Medical Center for failing to enforce policies that would have prevented the interruption of Plaintiff's treatment and required follow-up treatment. The Court will address the merit of these claims below.

IV. ANALYSIS

To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege two ...


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