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Ronald E. Tate v. Fresno County Jail

March 26, 2012

RONALD E. TATE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRESNO COUNTY JAIL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 1)

AMENDED COMPLAINT DUE WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS SCREENING ORDER

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On June 21, 2010, Plaintiff Ronald E. Tate, 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. 5.) Plaintiff's 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 Complaint identifies the Fresno County Jail and its Medical Staff as the Defendants in this action. Plaintiff alleges the following:

On approximately June 1, 2010, Plaintiff attempted to enter the middle bunk in his cell at Fresno County Jail. (Compl. at 4.) Plaintiff lost his footing and fell backwards "hitting [his] neck and back on the steel table before [he] landed on the concrete floor." (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff called for help, and correctional officers summoned medical staff. (Id. at 4.) A female medical technician responded with a wheelchair. (Id. at 5, 7.) Plaintiff explained what happened and told the technician about a recent injury Plaintiff sustained in a car accident. The technician gave Plaintiff "the third degree," asked him to remove his shirt, and examined his body. She found no visible signs of injury. (Id. at 5.)

Plaintiff also stated that he was in pain and could not stand on his own. At times Plaintiff struggled to effectively communicate because he is bipolar. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff was wheeled into the infirmary "where [he] was then questioned again." (Id. at 9.) The medical technician expressed her belief that Plaintiff was fabricating or exaggerating his injury in order to see a doctor. The technician examined Plaintiff again after Plaintiff removed his shirt and jumpsuit, and determined that Plaintiff had no visible injury from the fall. (Id.) Plaintiff was given an ice pack, but was not referred to a doctor. Plaintiff was transferred to Wasco State Prison (Wasco) shortly thereafter. (Id. at 10.)

Plaintiff informed a doctor at Wasco that he had been experiencing severe neck and back pain, dizziness, and black out spells since the fall. (Id. at 11.) The doctor examined Plaintiff and sent Plaintiff to a local hospital for further testing. An MRI, cat scan, and x-rays reportedly revealed no fractures. (Id. at 12.) The attending physician surmised that Plaintiff's pain could come from nerve damage. He recommended that Plaintiff seek out a nerve specialist upon his release. (Id. at 13.)

On June 16, 2010, Plaintiff was again seen by a doctor. The doctor "was concerned about [Plaintiff's] seizure disorder which Fresno should have been treating me for . . . ." Plaintiff was given a prescription for his seizures (id. at 14) and pain medication for residual pain from the fall (id. at 15).

Given Plaintiff's ongoing symptoms and the fact doctors have found his condition cause for extensive testing and pain medication, Plaintiff alleges his initial injury should have been treated by someone ...


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