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Jason Deaver v. Margaret Mims

May 14, 2012

JASON DEAVER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARGARET MIMS, 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, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (Doc. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE

First Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Jason Deaver, an inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 17, 2011. 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, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (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).

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, but 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 678 (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 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Complaint

A. Allegations

Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at the Fresno County Jail, brings this action against Sheriff Margaret Mims and Dr. P. Narayan, a psychiatrist. Plaintiff alleges that he is bipolar and pre-detention, Plaintiff's condition was successfully treated with lithium, which is the only medication that helps him. Plaintiff has been at the jail for thirteen months and he has been denied lithium. Plaintiff has requested psychiatric attention several times and expressed his concern over his medication, but his requests have been ignored.

B. Medical Care Claim

1. Legal Standard

Assuming Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee rather than a convicted prisoner, Plaintiff is protected from conditions of confinement which amount to punishment.*fn1 Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535-36, 99 S.Ct. 1861 (1979); Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017-18 (9th Cir. 2010); Clouthier v. County of Contra Costa, 591 F.3d 1232, 1244 (9th Cir. 2010). While pretrial detainees' rights are protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the standard for claims brought under the Eighth Amendment has long been used to analyze pretrial detainees' conditions of confinement claims, which includes medical care. Simmons, 609 F.3d at 1017-18; Clouthier, 591 F.3d at 1242; Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998).

An inmate's claim of inadequate medical care does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation unless (1) the jail official deprived the inmate of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, and (2) the jail official acted with deliberate indifference in doing so. Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks and citation omitted). A jail official does not act in a deliberately indifferent manner unless he or she knows of and disregards an excessive risk to the inmate's health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837, 114 S.Ct. 1970 (1994) (quotation marks omitted). Deliberate indifference may be manifested when jail officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or in the manner in which jail physicians ...


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