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Maurice F. Butler v. Jong Yeoung Moon

September 29, 2011

MAURICE F. BUTLER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JONG YEOUNG MOON, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER FINDING CLAIM AGAINST DR. MOON COGNIZABLE AND DISMISSING CLA IM S A G A I N S T A L L OTH ER DEFENDANTS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM (ECF No. 14)

SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On November 18, 2009, Plaintiff Maurice F. Butler, 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 consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 9.)

Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1) was screened and dismissed, with leave to amend, on March 22, 2011. (ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (ECF No. 14), filed May 19, 2011, is now before the Court for screening.

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 officials at Corcoran State Prison ("Corcoran") violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights: (1) Dr. Jong Yeoung Moon; (2) Dr. William McGuiness, current or former Chief Medical Officer; (3) Dr. J. Wang, intermittent Acting Chief Medical Officer; and (4) Dr. Clark, current Chief Medical Officer.

Plaintiff suffers from for eye, foot, and shoulder ailments. The treatment he received for these ailments was allegedly so deficient it violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges:

A. Shoulder

In August 2008 Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Moon for shoulder pain. Dr. Moon ordered an MRI, prescribed pain medication, and referred Plaintiff to a specialist. (Compl. at 4.) On December 1, 2008, the specialist scheduled corrective surgery to be conducted within ninety days. Drs. McGuiness, Wang, and Clark, as Chief Medical Officers, were in charge of approving procedures and ensuring that patients were made available for follow-up appointments. Drs. McGuiness and Wang approved the surgery and Dr. Moon was notified. (Id. at 5.) As of April 10, 2009, the surgery still had not been conducted, and the specialist submitted a second request. After four months, Dr. Moon informed Plaintiff that approval for the procedure had been denied. (Id.) The Chief Medical Officers, Drs. McGuiness, Wang, and now Clark, all denied the surgery and failed to develop an alternative treatment. (Id. at 6, 10, 11, 15.) Dr. Clark denied the surgery in order to save money. (Id. at 10, 11, 15.)

Dr. Moon ordered physical therapy in June 2009, but Plaintiff refused treatment, citing the specialist's orders not to engage in physical activity before surgery. (Id. at 6.) At some point Plaintiff's other shoulder began to hurt, and he repeatedly asked Dr. Moon for an examination. Dr. Moon refused to treat the other shoulder. He informed Plaintiff that the shoulder treatments were out of his hands, and threw Plaintiff out of his office whenever Plaintiff complained about his shoulders. (Id. at 5, 9.) As of May 9, 2011, ...


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