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Aaron Wayne Gatti v. P.D. Brazelton

October 31, 2012


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




Plaintiff Aaron Wayne Gatti is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed September 6, 2012 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has declined Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (Decline Jurisdiction, ECF No. 6.) 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).


Plaintiff complains Defendants were deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs relating to his surgically reconstructed right heel and improperly denied his related prison grievances, in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights (Compl. at 19-21), California Constitution Article I Section 17 (Id. at 11), and California Code of Regulations Title 15 Section 3271. (Id.)

In 2007, prior to his incarceration Plaintiff's right heel was surgically reconstructed using internal hardware. (Id. at 43-47.) In early November 2011, while incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP"), Plaintiff's right heel/ankle became swollen. (Id. at 11.) He saw the PVSP triage nurse, and then on November 21, 2011 saw his prison primary care physician, Defendant Dr. Chokatos, who advised he would consult with another doctor and see Plaintiff in a week. (Id.) Defendant Chokatos did not see Plaintiff during the following week. (Id. at 11, 15). Plaintiff then filed the first of several prison grievances seeking medical care. (Id.)

During the following months, Plaintiff repeatedly visited the prison medical clinic because his right foot remained painful and swollen and he had difficulty walking. (Id. at 12-15.) He received pain medication and a medical "lay-in" chrono, and was told he needed to see a specialist. (Id.) He claims that during this time Defendant Chokatos sometimes refused to see him, and refused his requests for an MRI and/or xray. (Id.).

On February 10, 2012, Plaintiff was seen by a neuro-surgeon, who according to Plaintiff ordered a bone scan and blood test because his foot was infected. (Id. at 15-16.)

On April 3, 2012 and again on April 10, 2012, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Chokatos, who refused definitive treatment telling Plaintiff "there was not enough to go on". (Id. at 16.) Defendant Chokatos also refused Plaintiff's request for a cell feeding chrono. (Id.) Plaintiff was given a cane by prison medical on April 12, 2012. (Id.)

On June 6, 2012 and again on June 14, 2012, Plaintiff traveled to San Joaquin Hospital for bone scans which revealed possible osteomyelitis. (Id. at 17, 68-73.)

In early July 2012, Plaintiff had consults with two specialist physicians who, according to Plaintiff, indicated they were going to recommend surgery to clean and scrape infection. (Id. at 18.)

On July 18, 2012, Plaintiff saw Dr. Chokatos, who ordered another type of scan of his foot and advised against surgery telling him "there was nothing wrong with his foot." (Id. at 18-19.) On July 30, 2012, Plaintiff had a further imaging scan of his right foot in the prison infirmary. (Id. at 19.)

Plaintiff has not received surgery and claims Defendant Chokatos and the medical and corrections staff at PVSP conspired in denying him treatment (Id. at 13, 19) because he was too close to parole to spend money on treatment and because his foot problem was related to Valley Fever "that PVSP is responsible for him contracting." (Id. at 17, 19-20.)

His related prison grievances and staff complaint*fn1 were reviewed by Defendants Martinez*fn2 and Zamora, who failed to investigate, ignored facts, failed to follow (unspecified) procedures and denied his grievances and staff complaint (Id. at 15) saying he had received appropriate treatment and that inmates had no right to demand particular evaluation, treatment, or medication. (Id. at 25-27, 49-50.)

Plaintiff names as Defendants (1) Brazelton, PVSP Warden, (2) Zamora, PVSP Chief of Inmate Appeals, (3) Scott, PVSP Health Care Manager, (4) ...

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