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Robert Lewis Smith v. S. Pina

May 24, 2012

ROBERT LEWIS SMITH,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. PINA, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FINDING THAT PLAINTIFF STATES A COGNIZABLECLAIMAND RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF No. 17) OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN THIRTY DAYS

Plaintiff Robert Lewis Smith ("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 initiated this action on September 29, 2011. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) No other parties have appeared in this action. The Court screened Plaintiff's initial Complaint and dismissed it for failure to state a claim, but Plaintiff was given leave to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 14.)

Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on May 3, 2012. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 17.) Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is currently before the Court for screening.

I. 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).

II. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento. He was previously incarcerated at California State Prison, Corcoran ("CSP-COR"), where the events alleged in the Complaint occurred. Plaintiff alleges that the following individuals violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment: 1) S. Pina, Lieutenant, 2) H. Sumaya, Correctional Officer ("C/O") at CSP-COR, 3) P. Munoz, C/O at CSP-COR, and 4) Estrada, C/O at CSP-COR.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory damages, nominal damages of $1, punitive damages of $50,000 from each Defendant, and a jury trial. (Am. Compl. at 2.) Plaintiff also asks for $150,000 in compensatory damages from each Defendant. (Am. Compl. at 7.)

Plaintiff's allegations revolve around Defendants' disregard of a medical chrono recommending Plaintiff not be placed on a top tier or upstairs bunk, and injuries Plaintiff suffered when he was placed in an upstairs bunk. (Am. Compl. at 3-8.)

In 2007, Plaintiff was diagnosed with a heart condition that could lead to fainting. (Am. Compl. at 7.) Due to this condition, Plaintiff needed to be housed in a bottom bunk on the downstairs tier, so that if he fainted he would not injure himself when he fell. (Id.)

During the summer of 2010, Defendant Munoz tried to have Plaintiff transferred to an upstairs housing assignment. (Am. Compl. at 2.) Plaintiff informed Defendants Munoz and Sumaya and Defendant Pina, the supervising officer, about his medical chrono. (Id. at 4-6.)

On October 2, 2010, while Plaintiff was escorted up a set of stairs by Defendant Estrada to his upstairs bunk, Plaintiff suffered from a fainting spell, fell down the stairs, and injured ...


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