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Carlos Villegas v. Mathew Cate

January 3, 2012

CARLOS VILLEGAS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATHEW CATE, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FIRST SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 1)

THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

First Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Carlos Villegas, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 14, 2010. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences." Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

While prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, the pleading standard is now higher, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), and to survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Medical Care Claim

A. Summary of Allegations

Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at California State Prison-Corcoran since 2000, alleges that he suffers from numerous spinal issues, including degenerative spur formations, reversal of the cervical lordosis, degenerative disc disease, posterior disc protrusion with nerve root impingement, disc desiccation, collapsed discs, spinal cord impingement and deformation, and chronic myoligamentous pain disease. Plaintiff suffers from the loss of strength and sensation in his extremities, torn tendons, and hearing loss. Plaintiff describes his symptoms as chronic and disabling, and they include severe headaches; severe neck muscle spasms; neck and back pain with radiation to the arm and leg; shoulder and neck pain; numbness and tingling in the arm, hand, fingers, leg, feet, head and neck; difficulty walking and grasping objects; sleeplessness; decreased appetite; stress; and emotional problems. Plaintiff alleges that he has been denied medical care and/or access to appropriate, competent medical care for his serious health issues.

Plaintiff seeks to impose liability under section 1983 against California Department of Corrections Director Mathew Cate; Health Care Services Deputy Director Denny Sallade; Wardens A. K. Scribner, Derral G. Adams, and Raul Lopez; Chief Medical Officers Edgar Clark and William McGuinness; Doctors Thirakomen, Leo P. Langlois, Jeff Neubarth, Hasadsri, and Catalino Dureza; and Does 1-50 for the violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Plaintiff also alleges the existence of supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims. However, no state law claims are pled with any specificity, and Plaintiff is notified that for state law tort claims, compliance with the Government Claims Act is required and it must be specifically pled in the complaint, which it was not.*fn1 Shirk v. Vista Unified Sch. Dist., 42 Cal.4th 201, 208-09 (Cal. 2007); State v. Superior Court of Kings Cnty. (Bodde), 32 Cal.4th 1234, 1239 (Cal. 2004); Mabe v. San Bernardino Cnty. Dep't of Pub. Soc. Servs., 237 F.3d 1101, 1111 (9th Cir. 2001); Mangold v. California Pub. Utils. Comm'n, 67 F.3d 1470, 1477 (9th Cir. 1995); Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 627 (9th Cir. 1988).

B. Legal Standard

Section 1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of constitutional or other federal rights by those acting under color of state law. E.g., Patel v. Kent School Dist., 648 F.3d 965, 971 (9th Cir. 2011); Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). For each defendant named, Plaintiff must show a causal link between the violation of his rights and an action or omission of the defendant. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at __, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50; Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1205-06 (9th Cir. 2011); Corales v. Bennett, 567 F.3d 554, 570 (9th Cir. 2009). There is no respondeat superior liability under section 1983, and each defendant may only be held liable ...


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