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Jones v. Sadeghi

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 8, 2013

ARTHUR RAY JONES, D-53008, Plaintiff(s),
v.
J. SADEGHI, M.D., et al., Defendant(s)

ORDER OF SERVICE

CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff, a prisoner at San Quentin State Prison (SQSP), has filed a pro se complaint for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Dr. J. Sadeghi was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical needs when he operated on plaintiff's left eye and left him blind, and when he ignored plaintiff's post-surgery complaints. Plaintiff also names as defendants SQSP's Chief Medical Officer E. Tootell and former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Director M. Cate.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

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). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint "is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, " or "seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id . § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. 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 essential 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).

B. Legal Claims

Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. See Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). Such indifference may appear when prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or it may be shown in the way in which prison officials provide medical care. See McGuckin v. Smith , 974 F.2d 1050, 1062 (9th Cir. 1992) (delay of seven months in providing medical care during which medical condition was left virtually untreated and plaintiff was forced to endure "unnecessary pain" sufficient to present colorable § 1983 claim), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller , 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc).

Liberally construed, plaintiff's allegations that Dr. J. Sadeghi was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical needs when he operated on plaintiff's left eye and left him blind, and when he ignored plaintiff's post-surgery complaints, present an arguably cognizable claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs under § 1983 and will be served on Dr. Sadeghi. See id.

But SQSP's Chief Medical Officer E. Tootell and former CDCR Director M. Cate are dismissed because they are named on the theory that they are liable for the actions of their former subordinates and it is well established that there is no § 1983 liability under such a theory, i.e., a theory of respondeat superior liability. See Taylor v. List , 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (under no circumstances is there liability under § 1983 solely because one is responsible for the actions or omissions of another).[1]

CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons and for good cause shown,

1. The clerk shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, copies of the complaint in this matter, all attachments thereto, and ...


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