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Dougal Samuels v. Pam Ahlin

July 26, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge


Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by detainees 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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions," none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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).

"Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff is a civil detainee housed at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH). Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against the following defendants: The Department of Mental Health; CSH Executive Director Pam Ahlin; Dr. Peter Bresler.

Plaintiff claims that he was denied adequate medical care. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants failed to adequately treat him for valley fever.

Plaintiff's complaint sets forth allegations regarding the conduct of Defendants in general regarding health care at CSH. Plaintiff alleges that CSH's "supports and services" are not within the generally accepted professional standards of care in certain respects, that Defendants have failed to adequately assess individuals housed at CSH to ensure that they are receiving adequate treatment, that Defendants generally are deliberately indifferent to the medical treatment of CSH inmates, and that Defendants generally discriminate against residents with disabilities in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the California Disabled Person's Act.

Regarding Plaintiff in particular, Plaintiff alleges that in April of 2006, two months after he was transferred to CSH, he experienced coughing, appetite loss, and chills. Plaintiff alleges that he complained to Dr. Bresler, but "was ignored." Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Bresler in August of 2006. Plaintiff was treated for inflammation of the chest. Plaintiff's symptoms persisted, and Dr. Bresler eventually diagnosed Plaintiff with Valley Fever. Plaintiff was placed in isolation for 12 days. During that time, Plaintiff was diagnosed with pneumonia, and an x-ray revealed a mass in his right lung. Further testing indicated that Plaintiff had valley fever. Plaintiff was prescribed Flucomazone, an anti-fungal medication.

Plaintiff had an allergic reaction to Flucomazone. Plaintiff told Dr. Bresler about the allergic reaction, which included burning on the hands and arms, itching, leg rashes and blisters on the bottom of Plaintiff's feet. An MRI was ordered, but not completed, because CSH "was not paying its bills, so the MRI facility denied any further testing." Plaintiff advised Dr. Bresler that it was "impossible" to continue taking Flucomazone. Dr. Bresler told Plaintiff that "there was no other medications available to treat his bacterial condition."

Plaintiff continued to lose weight and suffered from cold sweats, lower back pain and "sciatic nerves." Plaintiff alleges that "the doctor" prescribed pain pills, but the pain worsened, and Plaintiff could not get a physician to see him. In April 2007, Plaintiff, without an appointment, went to the clinic, laid down on ...

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