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Holmes v. Sepulveda

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 3, 2013

ROCKY HOLMES, Plaintiff,


WILLIAM ALSUP, District Judge.


Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, filed this case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California ("Eastern District") on November 7, 2011. Plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on inadequate medical care he received at Tehachapi State Prison and Salinas Valley State Prison. On April 19, 2013, the Eastern District reviewed the complaint for the first time and "severed" the claims about plaintiff's medical care at Salinas Valley from the claims about his care at Tehachapi. The Eastern District transferred the Salinas Valley claims to this court for venue reasons, but kept the Tehachapi claims, which were dismissed with leave to amend. After a review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a), it is ordered served upon the two defendants at Salinas Valley, Dr. Rhoads and Dr. Sepulveda, and dismissed as to the remaining defendants.



Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

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.

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


As noted above, the claims against the defendants at Tehachapi, Dr. Grim, Dr. Clark, Cr. Nisanni, are Dr. Campbell, based on the medical care that plaintiff received there were not transferred here, and are presently and properly pending in the Eastern District of California. Consequently those claims will be dismissed from this action.

Plaintiff alleges that when he was transferred from Tehachapi to Salinas Valley in September 2009, he was continuing to suffer a great deal of pain in his right shoulder even after receiving shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He was seen by Dr. Rhoads upon his arrival at Salinas Valley, and every few months thereafter until February 2011. He alleges that he informed Dr. Rhoads that the pain medication was not sufficient to alleviate his "debilitating" pain in his right shoulder, but Dr. Rhoads failed to redress that problem. He alleges that in May 2010, Dr. Rhoads told him that plaintiff would be sent to an orthopedist and given an MRI, but neither was provided to him. In March 2011, Dr. Sepulveda allegedly denied his request for an MRI and pain medication in an administrative grievance. According to plaintiff, his medical records showed that an MRI had been recommended by an orthopedist in March 2009 to see if there were further tears in his rotator cuff that had not been addressed in surgery. When liberally construed, these allegations state cognizable claims against Dr. Rhoads and Dr. Sepulveda for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.


For the reasons set out above, Accordingly, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1. The claims against Dr. Grim, Dr. Nassani, Dr. Clark and Dr. ...

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