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Wooten v. California Dep't of Corrections

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 26, 2013

GREGORY E. WOOTEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEP'T OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING THE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (Doc. 12)

JENNIFER L. THURSTON, Magistrate Judge.

Gregory E. Wooten is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 12). As required, the Court screens Plaintiff's second amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the following reasons, the Court DISMISSES the second amended complaint, but grants Plaintiff leave to amend.

I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

Because Plaintiff seeks redress from governmental employees in a civil action, the Court is required to screen his complaint in order to identify cognizable claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a)-(b). The Court shall "dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

II. PLEADING STANDARDS

A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)

"Pro se documents are to be liberally construed" and "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Estelle v. Gamble , 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) ( quoting Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)). "[They] can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Id . Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), "[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain: (1) a short and plaint statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, ...; (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). While a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).

In analyzing a pleading, the Court sets conclusory factual allegations aside, accepts all non-conclusory factual allegations as true, and determines whether those non-conclusory factual allegations accepted as true state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 676-684 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. at 678 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). In determining plausibility, the Court is permitted "to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679.

B. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

In order to sustain a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show (i) that he suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (ii) that the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton v. Gates , 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The causation requirement of § 1983 is satisfied only if a plaintiff demonstrates that a defendant did an affirmative act, participated in another's affirmative act, or omitted to perform an act which he was legally required to do that caused the deprivation complained of. Arnold v. IBM , 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981) ( quoting Johnson v. Duffy , 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978)).

III. COMPLAINT

Plaintiff's cause of action arose while he was incarcerated at the California Correctional Center ("CCC") located in Susanville, California. (Doc. 12 at 3). Plaintiff seeks $5, 000, 000.00 in recompense from Dr. Fredrickson, a senior psychologist at CCC. Id. at 2-3.

On March 7, 2013, Plaintiff experienced "(vivid) bad dreams" that disturbed his mental health. (Doc. 12 at 3). Plaintiff sought treatment from Dr. Fredrickson, but the therapy sessions left Plaintiff in "worse mental shape." Id . While Plaintiff expressed his "somber thinking" and requested help, Dr. Fredrickson responded "not by me" and refused to treat Plaintiff. Id.

On July 25, 2012, Plaintiff informed Dr. Fredrickson of his "self-harmful mindset." (Doc. 12 at 3). He requested to see a specialist and to be placed on suicide watch, but Dr. Fredrickson refused his requests. Id . The following day, Plaintiff harmed himself, ...


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