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Jeremy Hollis v. Enenmoh

July 30, 2012


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



On July 13, 2011, Plaintiff Jeremy Hollis, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff's 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, 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).


The Complaint names the following officials at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran (CSATF) as Defendants in this action: (1) Enenmoh, Chief Medical Officer (CMO); (2) Metts, M.D.; (3) Beregovskaya, Chief Physician and Surgeon; (4) G. Martinez, Health Care Manager; (5) S. Skalisky, Pharmacist in Chief; (6) B. Haugu, Senior Registered Nurse II; (7) M. Crum, Appeals Coordinator; and (8) S. Umi, Appeals Coordinator.

Plaintiff alleges the following:

On September 8, 2009, Plaintiff entered CSATF with an existing shoulder injury. (Compl. at 4.) On December 10, 2009, Plaintiff submitted a health care service request seeking treatment for his shoulder. At an appointment on February 1, 2010, officials prescribed the muscle relaxer and anti-inflammatory drug Indomethacin, "which has horrible side effects and is actually a medication made to treat 'Gout', a condition fo the feet and ankles, not a shoulder." (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff's shoulder was not x-rayed, no M.R.I. was scheduled, and Plaintiff was not referred to a specialist. (Id.)

On March 6, 2010, the Indomethacin prescription was replaced with the psychological drug Elovil. The new medication "inflicts overwhelming side effects of the mind and body" and, like Indomethacin, was not designed for pain relief. (Id.) By March 30, 2010, Plaintiff had "frantically" sought alternative treatment without success; health care officials refused to listen. (Id.) On July 1, 2010, an M.R.I. was conducted and showed substantial damage in Plaintiff's shoulder. However, the M.R.I. results were not reported to a doctor for a month. Plaintiff was prescribed Neurontin, but never received the medication and was not prescribed a pain reliever. (Id. at 8.)

Plaintiff still had not seen a doctor by July 28, 2010. A nurse informed Plaintiff that he would see a doctor in ten days. On September 4, 2010, Plaintiff saw Dr. Metts who forwarded Plaintiff to a "'Board'" to approve the administration of pain medication. Three days later Plaintiff was approved to receive morphine. Plaintiff was also referred to a neurologist even though he should have been sent to an orthopedic specialist. (Id.)

By September 14, 2010, Plaintiff had still not received his approved pain medication. Nurse Page discovered Plaintiff's approval forms unprocessed on Dr. Metts' desk along with other patients' prescription documentation. (Id. at 8, 9.) Nurse Page then sent Plaintiff's prescription to be precessed. As of July 13, 2011, the date the Complaint was filed, Plaintiff had not seen a specialist. Officials have refused to accommodate Plaintiff's medical authorization for a lower bunk. (Id. at 9.)

Medical care at CSATF is generally slow and substandard. The medical appeal process invariably results in inmate complaints being screened out. Plaintiff's experiences are consistent with the general condition of medical services at CSATF. (Id. at 4-7.)

Plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment claims based on delayed and denied medical care and the prescription of inappropriate medication, violation of his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act, denial of his rights to due process and access to the courts in the medical appeal process, and, lastly, that the aforementioned constitutes negligence and medical malpractice under California law. (Id. at 9, 10.)


A. Section 1983

To state a claim under Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements:

(1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United ...

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