United States District Court, N.D. California
REGINALD A. GARY, Plaintiff,
DR. A. BRIGHT, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF SERVICE OF COGNIZABLE CLAIM; GRANTING, IN PART, PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR SERVICE
KANDIS A. WESTMORE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Reginald A. Gary, a state prisoner incarcerated at Deuel Vocational Institution, has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the violation of his constitutional rights by medical staff at the Correctional Training Facility ("CTF") in Soledad. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge over this action. Plaintiff has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") with a completed IFP application, which is granted in a separate order. Plaintiff has also filed motions for serving papers by United States Marshal, which the Court grants, in part. The Court now addresses the claims asserted in Plaintiff's complaint.
I. Standard of Review
A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks 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 that 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. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).
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).
Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the defendant's actions both actually and proximately caused the deprivation of a federally protected right. Lemire v. Caifornia Dep't of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 726 F.3d 1062, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013); Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988); Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 F.2d 1121, 1125 (9th Cir. 1981). A person deprives another of a constitutional right within the meaning of § 1983 if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative act or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do, that causes the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633. Under no circumstances is there respondeat superior liability under § 1983. Lemire, 726 F.3d at 1074. Or, in layman's terms, under no circumstances is there liability under § 1983 solely because one is responsible for the actions or omissions of another. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989); Ybarra v. Reno Thunderbird Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680-81 (9th Cir. 1984). A supervisor may be liable under § 1983 upon a showing of (1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or (2) a sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation. Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012). It is insufficient for a plaintiff only to allege that supervisors knew about the constitutional violation and that they generally created policies and procedures that led to the violation, without alleging "a specific policy" or "a specific event" instigated by them that led to the constitutional violation. Hydrick v. Hunter, 669 F.3d 937, 942 (9th Cir. 2012).
II. Plaintiff's Claims
Plaintiff sues Dr. A Bright, Dr. A. Adams and C. D. Zamora, Chief of Appeals. Plaintiff alleges that he has documented nerve damage in his right wrist so that he is a candidate for right wrist carpal tunnel syndrome ("CTS") surgery, which was denied by Dr. Bright because Plaintiff has "no physical exams related to CTS." Comp. at 11, 13. Apparently, Plaintiff sues Dr. Adams and Chief Zamora because they denied his administrative appeals.
Deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met: (1) the deprivation alleged is, objectively, sufficiently serious, and (2) the official is, subjectively, deliberately indifferent to the inmate's health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A "serious" medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059. A prison official exhibits deliberate indifference when he knows of and disregards a substantial risk of serious harm to inmate health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.
Liberally construed, Plaintiff's complaint states an Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Bright for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need for treatment of his CTS. However, claims against Dr. Adams and Chief Zamora on the ground that they denied his administrative appeals are not cognizable. See Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003) (because inmates lack a constitutional entitlement to a specific prison grievance procedure, actions of prison officials in reviewing internal appeals cannot create liabilty under § 1983) (citing Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988)). Therefore, the claims against Dr. Adams and Chief Zamora are dismissed with leave to amend, to add, if possible, allegations showing that their actions caused his constitutional deprivation. Plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended complaint to remedy this deficiency, if he truthfully can do so, within twenty-one days from the date of this Order.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows:
1. Plaintiff states a cognizable claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical ...