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Daniel C. Ramsey v. M. D. Biter

January 11, 2012

DANIEL C. RAMSEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. D. BITER, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (ECF No. 1).

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

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 or malicious," 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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

The events at issue in this action occurred at Kern Valley State Prison, where Plaintiff is currently housed. Plaintiff names as defendants the following individuals: M. D. Biter, KVSP Warden; T. Brewer, Chief Executive Officer; L. Zamora, Chief of Prison Health Care Services; B. Quattlebaum, Chief Executive Officer, KVSP Health Care Appeals; John Doe oral surgeon. Plaintiff's claim stems from the extraction of his wisdom teeth.

On June 7, 2010, Plaintiff had his wisdom teeth extracted at the Central Valley Clinic. Plaintiff alleges that, as a result, he suffered from damaged nerves. Between June 13, 2010, and June 20, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Mai at KVSP. Dr. Mai advised Plaintiff that he had an infection, and prescribed medication to address the infection. Dr. Mai also told Plaintiff that the numbness in his mouth was a result of nerve damage, "and he believed there's nothing could be done to cure it." On June 20, 2010, Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance, requesting that he be evaluated by a neurologist. On August 11, 2010, Plaintiff was referred to Dr. Garcia, a dentist at KVSP. Dr. Garcia referred Plaintiff to an outside oral surgeon. Plaintiff alleges that between August 24, 2010, and October 3, 2010, he was evaluated by an outside oral surgeon. The oral surgeon confirmed that "there is no cure for nerve damage that Plaintiff had."

On October 3, 2010, Plaintiff requested further evaluation by a neurologist. Plaintiff's request was denied by KVSP Chief Executive Officer T. Brewer. Plaintiff continued to file grievances, which were denied. Plaintiff alleges that he still suffers from numbness and pain.

A. Medical Care

"[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate must show 'deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.'" Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 295 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires the plaintiff to show (1) "'a serious medical need' by demonstrating that 'failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,'" and (2) "the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent." Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (quoting McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc) (internal quotations omitted)). Deliberate indifference is shown by "a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need, and harm caused by the indifference." Id. (citing McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060). Where a prisoner is alleging a delay in receiving medical treatment, the delay must have led to further harm in order for the prisoner to make a claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. McGuckin at 1060 (citing Shapely v. Nevada Bd. of State Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir. 1985)).

1. John Doe*fn1

As to Defendant Dr. John Doe, Plaintiff has clearly alleged that he caused harm to Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant John Doe pulled his wisdom teeth, and as a result, Plaintiff suffers from permanent nerve damage. Plaintiff's allegations, however, do not state a claim for deliberate indifference. The facts alleged by Plaintiff indicate, at most, negligence. Mere 'indifference,' 'negligence,' or 'medical malpractice' will not support this cause of action." Broughton v. Cutter Laboratories, 622 F.2d 458, 460 (9th Cir.1980) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06). See also Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1060 (9th Cir.2004). Plaintiff's ...


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