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Christopher Peterson v. James Yates

November 14, 2012

CHRISTOPHER PETERSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES YATES, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (ECF No. 1)

Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

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). "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, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) and Rehabilitation at Corcoran State Prison, brings this civil rights action against defendant correctional officials employed by the CDCR at Pleasant Valley State Prison. Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to inadequate medical care such that it violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff names the following individual defendants:

J. Yates, Warden at Pleasant Valley; J. Walker, Chief of Inmate Care; Correctional Counselor S. Torres; Chief Medical Officer Igbinosa; Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Clark.

Plaintiff suffers from severe back injuries, "which cause continuous pain." Plaintiff was prescribed morphine for his pain. Plaintiff alleges that in January of 2009, the medical staff at Pleasant Valley "began suffering adverse effects due to allegations by the Sacramento Medical head quarters that Pleasant Valley was 'over prescribing' pain medication, on or around January of 2009." In February of 2009, Plaintiff's pain medication was discontinued. As a result, Plaintiff "had to suffer severe withdraws [sic] from the pain medication as well as the unbearable pain caused from Plaintiff's back injuries."

Although Plaintiff alleges that his medication was discontinued in February of 2009, he also alleges that between February of 2009 and December of 2011, he "informed LVN Clark when Plaintiff's medication expired due to medical staff's negligence. Each time LVN Clark did nothing to get Plaintiff his medication or to deal with the issue."

Plaintiff alleges that, on two occasions, he was "written up" for attempting to address his medical needs. Plaintiff was charged with a disciplinary violation and, as a result, placed on restricted privilege status, severely limiting his privileges.*fn1 Plaintiff appealed the disciplinary charges via the inmate grievance process. Defendant Torres denied Plaintiff's grievance at the First Level. Defendant Yates denied the grievance at the Second Level.

Plaintiff alleges that "several times after the appeal issue in sections 24 through 33 Plaintiff was placed on his medication for pain management and removed due to staff negligence in re-newing it before it's expiration." Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Igbinosa, as the Chief Medical Officer, is liable for his failure to "correct the ...


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