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Billy Joe Fulton v. P.L. Vasquez

October 30, 2011

BILLY JOE FULTON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
P.L. VASQUEZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 10)

AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS

SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 18, 2010, Plaintiff Billy Joe Fulton, 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 submitted a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint along with his First Amended Complaint on May 24, 2010. (ECF Nos. 9, 10.) The Court granted Plaintiff's motion and accepted the amended pleading on June 14, 2010. (ECF No. 13.) Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 4.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint 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 identifies the following Wasco State Prison ("Wasco") officials as defendants in this action: (1) P.L. Vasquez, Warden; (2) Brad Moyes, Correctional Counselor II; (3) R. Stoddard, Correctional Counselor; (4) John Doe Chief Medical Officer; and (5) John Does one through twenty-five.

Plaintiff alleges the following:

Plaintiff has partially-completed dental work that causes pain. Defendant Chief Medical Officer created a policy at Wasco "to only dull*fn1 teeth." (Compl. at 5.) Plaintiff has requested placement in a facility capable of treating the pain in his teeth. Defendants Stoddard and Moyes have received Plaintiff's repeated requests for adequate dental care but refuse to answer Plaintiff's grievances. (Id.) Plaintiff has endured pain in his teeth for approximately five months. (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants' failure to provide adequate dental care violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff further alleges that the failure to respond to his grievances violated his rights to Due Process and Equal Protection and has frustrated or denied his right to petition the courts. (Id.) The Court will address each claim below.

IV. ANALYSIS

To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements:

(1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United ...


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