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Garrison S. Johnson v. Matthew Cate

March 29, 2012

GARRISON S. JOHNSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW CATE, 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 May 10, 2010, Plaintiff Garrison S. Johnson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) 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 following individuals and county as Defendants in this action: (1) Matthew Cate, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR); (2) John Doe*fn1 , Director, CDCR; (3) K. Harrington, Warden, Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP); and (4) Kern County.

Plaintiff alleges the following:

On February 9, 2009, Plaintiff was sent to KVSP, where he presently remains. During his incarceration at KVSP, "[P]laintiff has been subjected to high levels of arsenic as a result of consuming the drinking water at KVSP." (Compl. at 6.)

Sometime in 2001, the "Environmental Protection Agency ordered a reduction in the maximum level of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion to 10." (Id. at 7.) The deadline for the reduction was January 23, 2006. The Defendants commissioned a filtration system in order to meet the new standard but decided not to build it. (Id.) Plaintiff learned that the current arsenic level at KVSP was 22 parts per billion and requested a remedy via an inmate appeal which was denied by the Defendants. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff also discovered that Kern County has a policy to permit the building of prisons where the water contains impermissible levels of arsenic. (Id.)

"[D]ue to high levels of arsenic exposure [P]laintiff's injuries consist of: Shortness of Breath, Chronic Arsenic Toxicity, Nerve Damage, Stomach Pain. Also, Plaintiff is at risk of developing" various cancers ...


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