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Aundrey Ledelle Lett v. San Bernardino County

December 2, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Suzanne H. Segal United States Magistrate Judge


On November 7, 2011, Plaintiff, a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a First Amended Complaint (the "FAC") in the above-captioned civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the reasons stated below, the FAC is dismissed with leave to amend.*fn1

Congress mandated that district courts perform an initial screening of complaints in civil actions where a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). This Court may dismiss such a complaint, or any portions thereof, before service of process if it concludes that the complaint (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).


Plaintiff sues the following five defendants in both their individual and official capacities: (1) Rod Hoops, Sheriff of San Bernardino County ("Hoops"); (2) D. Rice, Registered Nurse at West Valley Detention Center ("Rice"); (3) M. Kortkamp, Registered Nurse at West Valley Detention Center ("Kortkamp"); (4) Patrick Petre, Administrator of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center ("Petre"); and (5) Jeffrey Roberts, M.D., Physician at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center ("Roberts") (collectively, "Defendants"). (FAC at 3-4). *fn2

Plaintiff's sole claim is that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff states that after he was incarcerated at West Valley Detention Center ("West Valley") in October 2009, he began feeling ill and experienced constant "nose drainage and stuffiness." (FAC at 6). Rice, a West Valley nurse, diagnosed his illness as a "simple cold." (Id.). After six weeks of worsening symptoms, Rice determined that Plaintiff had allergies.

(Id.). Plaintiff was given Ibuprofen and allergy medication, which did not alleviate his symptoms. (Id.). Plaintiff filed grievances asking for blood tests and a CAT scan because he began discharging blood and a "gold colored thick mucus" from his nose and had "problems keeping food down." (Id. at 6-7). Plaintiff contends that even though he described serious symptoms during his medical visits, Rice refused to send Plaintiff to a doctor. (FAC at 9). Rice minimized Plaintiff's symptoms by telling him, "You ain't gone [sic] die, man up." (Id. at 10).

When the West Valley administration "ignored" his complaints, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Sheriff Hoops describing his symptoms and the problems with the medical care he was receiving. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff alleges that despite the letter, Hoops "refused to draw care [sic] or effort to get Plaintiff the treatment he needed." (Id.).

Plaintiff was eventually sent to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center ("Arrowhead"), where he was diagnosed with a deviated septum on July 10, 2010. (Id. at 9). A CAT scan in August 2010 revealed that in addition to a deviated septum, Plaintiff suffered from sinusitis, an infection that caused Plaintiff to lose the senses of taste and smell, in addition to his other symptoms. (Id. at 10).

Plaintiff alleges that after his deviated septum was diagnosed, West Valley nurse Kortkamp denied Plaintiff "further treatment" in a response to a grievance that Plaintiff filed in March 2011. (Id. at 10-11). In the response, Kortkamp notes that Plaintiff had been scheduled for surgery to repair his deviated septum at Arrowhead, but the surgery "had to be cancelled for emergencies. A new appointment is pending." (Id., Exh. B at 26).

Plaintiff wrote to Petre, the Administrator of Arrowhead, to inform him that he still had not received his operation and that his symptoms were getting worse. (Id. at 14). Plaintiff contends that by not "intervening after notice was submitted," Petre knowingly allowed Plaintiff's condition to worsen. (Id.).

Even though Dr. Roberts ordered the CAT scan in August 2010 and correctly diagnosed Plaintiff with sinusitis, Plaintiff contends that Roberts did not "treat [the infection] or conduct the operation" (FAC at 15) and "never order[ed] a follow up." (FAC at 16). Accordingly, Plaintiff argues that Roberts "culpably refused to prevent [Plaintiff's infection] from occurring further [sic]." (Id. at 16).

Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages of "$11,750,000[.00] from each Defendant, jointly and severally," punitive damages of "$75,000.00 from each Defendant," and a declaration that Defendants' acts and omissions ...

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