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Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez v. James Tilton

March 19, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Allison Claire United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is a motion to sever (titled "motion to dismiss misjoined defendants and claims") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20(a) and (b). This motion is filed by defendants Storey, Galloway, Davis, Valavia, Peiri, Smith, Zeibert, Duclos, Hamilton, Santos, Chavez, Linde, Bueno, Wholler, Brimhall, Johnson, Powell, Taylor, Rodgers, Molin (sued as "Mullen"), Ayers (sued as "Tucker"), and Reyes (collectively, "the moving defendants"). Plaintiff opposes the motion. On review of the motion, the documents filed in support and opposition, and good cause appearing therefor, THE COURT FINDS AS FOLLOWS:


The operative 55-page third amended complaint ("TAC") spans a period of three years and names in excess of forty defendants. On review, the court has filtered the factual allegations*fn1 down to the following discrete events:

A. Onset of Plaintiff's Illness and Subsequent Diagnosis On August 28, 2006, while housed in the Administration Segregation Unit ("Ad- Seg") at Mule Creek State Prison ("MCSP"), plaintiff fell ill and sought medical attention from defendants Medical Technical Assistants ("MTA") Santos and Pieri. TAC ¶¶ 20-22. Despite numerous requests to these MTAs for medical attention and despite a continuing deterioration of his symptoms, Santos and Peiri acted only by directing plaintiff to fill out a medical request slip. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. After plaintiff filled out the medical request slip, he reported to the MTA clinic door in the hopes of receiving medical attention, but was again turned away by Santos and Pieri, who informed plaintiff that he was not yet scheduled to be seen. Id. ¶¶ 25-26. Plaintiff's symptoms worsened daily, and he repeatedly asked Santos and Pieri to be seen by a doctor, but each time his request was denied. Id. ¶¶ 27-28.

In the evening of August 31, 2006, Santos and defendant RN Tucker arrived at plaintiff's cell to deliver his heart and blood pressure medication. TAC ¶ 31. When plaintiff complained of extreme pain, Santos and RN Tucker said they could not do anything for plaintiff other than ensure that he would be on the RN list for the next morning. Id. ¶ 32. Relying on the statements of Santos and RN Tucker, plaintiff went to the MTA clinic door the next morning only to find that his name was not on the RN list; he was turned away. Id. ¶ 33.

Plaintiff returned to the MTA clinic door the following day, September 1, 2006, only to be turned away again. TAC ¶ 34. Plaintiff, however, refused to leave because of spreading pain and paralysis. Id. ¶¶ 35-38. He was eventually seen by defendant RN Taylor, whom plaintiff accuses of failing to examine him properly, misdiagnosing him with a neck sprain, and giving him unnecessary medication. Id. ¶¶ 38-45.

On the evening of September 4, 2006, plaintiff went "man-down." TAC ¶ 47. Plaintiff was taken to the prison infirmary where he was seen be RN Tucker. Id. Following examination, RN Tucker stated that she could only give him a shot of "toridol" and provide him with a ducat to see a doctor the following morning. Id. ¶ 48.

The next morning, on September 5, 2006, plaintiff attempted to return to the MTA clinic to be seen by a doctor, but went "man-down" on the way there. TAC ¶¶ 51-55. Prison personnel refused to assist him, so plaintiff was assisted by other inmates and finally made it to his appointment. Id. At the MTA clinic, plaintiff was seen by defendant Dr. Galloway, who informed plaintiff that he was at "a point of life or death" and that he "could die at any moment." Id. ¶¶ 56-57. Plaintiff was immediately transported to Doctor's Hospital in Manteca ("DHM"). Id. ¶ 59.

B. Outside Treatment and Rehabilitation

While at DHM, plaintiff was diagnosed with a staphyloccocus aureus bacteria infection in his blood, which created an epidural abscess along plaintiff's lower spine and spinal cord. TAC ¶ 60. Plaintiff was transferred to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center ("UCSFMC") where he underwent extensive emergency surgery. Id. ¶¶ 61, 66-71. Because of the extent of damage caused by the bacterial infection to plaintiff's spine and nerves, he underwent two months of rehabilitation to learn to walk again at Kentfield Hospital. Id. ¶ 71. Plaintiff also lost permanent control of his bowel and urinary processes. Id. ¶ 72.

While at Kentfield Hospital, plaintiff was informed by a social worker that arrangements were being made to release plaintiff back to MCSP. TAC ¶ 94. The social worker spoke with defendant Jeannie Rodgers at MCSP to facilitate a "smooth transition back into the prison setting via a prison infirmary." Id.

C. Return to MCSP

1. Transfer to MCSP

On an unspecified date, plaintiff was released into the custody of defendant MCSP Officer Valavia, who transported plaintiff in a sitting position in the back seat of a regular transport car. TAC ¶¶ 95-96. This cause plaintiff great pain and discomfort and exacerbated the swelling in his lower limbs. Id.

2. Temporary Placement in Ad-Seg

When plaintiff arrived at MCSP, he was informed that there were no available spaces for him at the prison infirmary. TAC ΒΆ 97. Instead, plaintiff was placed in an unsanitary cell in Ad-Seg despite directives from Kentfield Hospital that plaintiff be released to the prison ...

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