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Yocom v. Grounds

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 6, 2013

MICHAEL ALAN YOCOM, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN RANDY GROUNDS et al, Defendant.

ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS IN AMENDMENT TO THE COMPLAINT

SAUNDRA BROWN ARMSTRONG, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, a former inmate at the California Correctional Training Facility (CTF), filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights while he was housed at CTF in 2010. In his complaint, Plaintiff named the following Defendants, all of whom are all prison officials at CTF: Warden Randy Grounds; Facility Captain Silva; Lieutenant Whisenhunt; Facility Lieutenant Holman; Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) Gerald A. Ellis and M. Sepulveda; Physician Rosana Lim Javate; Nurse Practitioner Saathoff; Supervising Registered Nurse Lauber; Sgt. Verdesoto; Correctional Officer Leo Amaya; and "1-50 John or Jane Does."

On June 15, 2012, the Court issued an order serving cognizable claims and dismissing with leave to amend: (1) the claim that Defendants Silva, Whisenhunt, Holman, Javate, Saathoff, Lauber, Amaya, and Verdesoto conspired to subject Plaintiff to cruel and unusual punishment; and (2) the claim that Defendants Grounds, Ellis, and Sepulveda were liable as supervisors. Dkt. 15.

On July 2, 2012, Plaintiff timely filed an amendment to the complaint (Dkt. 23), which is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

BACKGROUND

In its June 15, 2012 Order, the Court determined that Plaintiff's allegations that Defendants Javate and Saathoff terminated Plaintiff's prescription for "narcotic" medicine causing him to experience extreme withdrawal symptoms and that they deprived him of proper medication for his severe neck and knee pain stated a cognizable claim for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. June 15, 2012 Order at 3. However, the Court concluded that Plaintiff's allegations that Defendants Silva, Whisenhunt, Holman, Javate, Saathoff, Lauber, Amaya, and Verdesoto conspired to terminate his "narcotic" medication in order to subject him to cruel and unusual punishment were conclusory and, thus, did not state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Also, in the June 15, 2012 Order, the Court determined that Plaintiff had failed to allege how Defendants Grounds, Ellis, and Sepulveda were liable on the basis of their positions as supervisors.

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff makes the following allegations outlined below.

On September 11, 2010, Officer Amaya stated that Plaintiff liked to file lawsuits and then "found" a mysterious "residue" on four items inside Plaintiff's locker. Am. Comp. at 5. On September 13, 2010, "custody" ordered Plaintiff to take a urine test for screening for narcotics. Id. at 2.

On September 15, 2010, Plaintiff received an informational chrono created by Sgt. Verdesoto describing the probable cause that motivated the order for Plaintiff to provide a urine sample for testing. Id. at 6. The chrono stated that Officer Amaya had discovered "a pen cap housing being used as a straw'" and drug paraphernalia in Plaintiff's locker. Id.

Plaintiff filed an administrative complaint alleging a conspiracy claim against Sgt. Verdesoto. Id . Lt. Whisenhunt reviewed and denied the claim. Id . On September 21, 2010, Institutional Security Unit (ISU) Officer Dogletto "creat[ed] a presumptive test result of the four items confiscated by Officer Amaya... Mysteriously it's a confirmed positive for a Morphine Residue.'" Id. at 7.

A September 22, 2010 memorandum authored by Lt. Holman indicated that the test results of Plaintiff's urine sample were "positive" for "morphine." Id. at 2, 7. Lt. Holman placed the memorandum into Plaintiff's confidential records to confirm whether he was prescribed any medication that might have caused the "positive" result. Id . Nurse Lauber wrote back creating an "informational chrono" confirming that Plaintiff was prescribed morphine, which would have caused the positive test results. Id.

On September 27, 2010, a National Laboratory document was "supposedly" faxed to the prison's ISU showing that Plaintiff's September 13 urine sample was "negative." Id. at 3. The ISU used the "negative result to circumstantially find plaintiff guilty of possession of plaintiff's own controlled medication.'" Id . As a result, "[a] 130-day conduct credit forfeiture was imposed or inflicted with full suspended rights and privileges." Id . Plaintiff ...


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