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Jones v. Grounds

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

May 1, 2013

ANDRE JONES, Plaintiff,
GROUNDS, Warden, et al., Defendants.


JEFFREY S. WHITE, District Judge.


Plaintiff, a California prisoner at the California Training Facility ("CTF"), filed this pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His application to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. The complaint is served upon certain defendants based upon the claims found cognizable below. The remaining claims are dismissed.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." "Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the.... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."'" Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer "enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 1974. Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).


Plaintiff claims that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated based upon defendants' deliberate indifference to his medical needs in two instances: he was not provided a gurney for transportation when he had a medical emergency based on severe back pain, and he was denied a two day "lay-in" following that emergency. These allegations, when liberally construed, state cognizable claims for relief against Defendants Grounds, Chudy, Walker, Childers, Hall and Arvin for their involvement in his medical care. Plaintiff names two additional defendants, Jacobson and Nixion, but does not allege that they participated in the medical care of Plaintiff or that they were involved in denying him the care he needed. Rather, he simply alleges in conclusory terms that they were supervisors who were generally responsible for the medical care of all inmates, which is not sufficient to state a "plausible" claim for relief against them. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 675-84 (2009); Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012).

Plaintiff also claims that Defendants Dixon, Grounds, Walker and Ellis improperly processed and denied his administrative grievances. Such claims are not cognizable because there is no constitutional right to a grievance procedure in prison. See Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003); Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff also claims that these actions violated his constitutional right to access the courts. Plaintiff was not denied access to the courts because he has not alleged that he was prevented from pursuing his claims in court and indeed he has done so in the instant action. See Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 354-55 (1996) (access to courts claim requires showing that prison officials hindered plaintiff's efforts to pursue a non-frivolous claim in federal court). Consequently, the claims regarding the improper processing of administrative appeals and for denial of access to the courts will be dismissed.


For the reasons set out above, the Court orders as follows:

1. The claims under the Eighth Amendment for the deprivation of medical care against Defendants R. Grounds, Dr. M.J. Chudy, J. Walker, Registered Nurse Hall, Arvin, and Childers are, when liberally construed, cognizable. The remaining claims are DISMISSED.

2. The Clerk of the Court shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the complaint and all attachments thereto, and a copy of this order upon Defendants Warden R. Grounds, Chief Medical> Officer Dr. M.J. Chudy, Registered Nurse Hall, Correctional Officer Arvin, and Correctional Officer Childers at the California Training Facility in Soledad, California, and upon Defendant J. Walker at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Sacramento, California.

The Clerk shall also mail a courtesy copy of the complaint with all attachments thereto, and this order to the ...

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