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Rudy Gonzales v. Dr. Rummel

April 26, 2012


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



Plaintiff Rudy Gonzales ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. No other parties have appeared in this action.

Plaintiff initiated this action on January 18, 2011. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) The Court screened Plaintiff's original Complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend. (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff's filed his First Amended Complaint on March 12, 2012. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is now before the Court for screening.


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).

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, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim that is plausible on its face.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 1949-50.


Plaintiff is a prisoner currently housed at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility - Corcoran ("CSATF"). (Am. Compl. at 1.) Plaintiff names Dr. Rummel as the only Defendant in this action. He alleges that Dr. Rummel denied him adequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment and violated his right to Equal Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorney fees, declaratory relief, and a trial by jury. (Am. Compl. at 3.)

More specifically, Plaintiff alleges as follows: In 2007 or 2008, Plaintiff's eyesight was poor and he required prescription eyeglasses. (Am. Compl. at 3.) Sometime before September 2008, Plaintiff needed and ordered a stronger pair of eyeglasses, but when he received them, they were broken. (Id.) Plaintiff saw Defendant Rummel around September 12, 2009, and Defendant Rummel repaired Plaintiff's second pair of eyeglasses that day. (Id. at 4.) Defendant Rummel asked Plaintiff to pay fifteen dollars for repairing the eye glasses. (Id.) Plaintiff told Defendant Rummel that the second pair of eyeglasses were new and were already damaged when he received them. (Id.) When Plaintiff refused to sign a consent slip to withdraw the fifteen dollars from his trust account, Defendant Rummel refused to give him his second pair of eyeglasses. (Id.) From September 2008 to 2011, Defendant Rummel refused to give Plaintiff his second pair of eyeglasses. (Id.) During the time Plaintiff did not have his new eyeglasses, his eyes were in pain and he could not read or write. (Id.)


A. Section 1983 Claims

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).

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. ...

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