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Ira Green v. John Chakotos

August 20, 2012

IRA GREEN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN CHAKOTOS, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF No. 1) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN FOURTEEN DAYS

I. Background

Plaintiff Ira Green ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department

of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding against Defendants John Chakotos and Igbinosa for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and state law claims of negligence and intentional tort. Plaintiff filed this action in Fresno County Superior Court on June 27, 2011. Defendants removed the action to this Court on September 22, 2011. On July 30, 2012, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and found that it stated cognizable claims against Defendant Chakotos, but failed to state a claim against Defendant Igbinosa. Plaintiff was offered the opportunity to amend his complaint or to proceed only against Defendant Chakotos. On August 15, 2012, Plaintiff notified the Court that he did not wish to amend, and would proceed against Defendant Chakotos.

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).

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 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.

II. Summary of Complaint

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California, where the events giving rise to this action occurred. Plaintiff names as Defendants doctor John Chakotos and chief medical officer Igbinosa.

Plaintiff alleges the following. On August 10, 2010, Defendant Chakotos examined Plaintiff and informed him that he would be renewing Plaintiff's pain medication, morphine and nuerrodins, and gave Plaintiff a pain questionnaire to bring back within thirty days, when he would talk about raising the dosage. Plaintiff however was cut off from the morphine without first tapering Plaintiff off the medication by Defendant Chakotos. Defendant Chakotos was aware that Plaintiff suffered chronic pain and required a knee replacement, and was aware that he should have weaned Plaintiff off the medication instead of cutting Plaintiff off "cold turkey." On September 2, 2010, Plaintiff awoke and could not move, as his body started shaking and trembling uncontrollably. Plaintiff went to healthcare, and was told to fill out a sick call request.

On September 14, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Chakotos, and complained that he endured chronic pain and had a seizure experience. Defendant Chakotos examined Plaintiff and informed him that he would not be renewing Plaintiff's pain medication. Defendant Chakotos told Plaintiff that he would be prescribing Tylenol 3 for Plaintiff, but he lied and never prescribed anything. On October 9, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by another doctor who renewed Plaintiff's medication at a lesser dosage of 15 milligrams of morphine in the morning and the evening. Plaintiff later put in a medical request slip, complaining that the pain medication was not "sustaining" the pain. Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Chakotos a week later. Defendant Chakotos was upset and asked who had renewed Plaintiff's pain medication because he had cut Plaintiff off. He then informed Plaintiff that he would taper Plaintiff off the morphine.

Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages as relief.*fn1

III. Analysis

A.Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. "The Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons." Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (quotation and citation omitted). A prisoner's claim of inadequate medical care does not rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation unless (1) "the prison official deprived the prisoner of the 'minimal civilized measure of life's necessities,'" and (2) "the prison official 'acted with deliberate indifference in doing so.'" Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Hallett v. Morgan, 296 F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted)). The deliberate indifference standard involves an objective and a subjective prong. First, the alleged deprivation must be, in objective terms, "sufficiently serious . . . ." ...


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