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Rios v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 9, 2014

RENO RIOS, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNIE GIPSON, et al., Defendants.

SECOND SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING ACTION, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM UPON WHICH RELIEF MAY BE GRANTED

SHEILA K. OBERTO, Magistrate Judge.

Second Screening Order

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Reno Rios, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 16, 2012. On March 28, 2013, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint, with leave to amend. On June 13, 2013, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that... the action or appeal... fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice, " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007)), and courts "are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences, " Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Discussion

Plaintiff, who was incarcerated at California State Prison-Corcoran ("CSP-Corcoran") in the Security Housing Unit ("SHU") during the events at issue, brings this action against Warden Connie Gipson; Chief Medical Officers J. Wong, E. Clark, and W. J. McGuinness; Chief Executive Officer T. Macias; Healthcare Manager J. Obaiza; Doctors J. Neubarth, J. Kim, Nereddy, Liberstein, Nguyen, Pringle, and Briggs; Family Nurse Practitioner P. Rouch; Physician Assistant Sisodia; and David Shampain. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.[1]

Plaintiff seeks redress for the alleged violation of his rights with respect to dental care and multiple medical issues. While Plaintiff packs many allegations into his twenty-five page amended complaint, the allegations amount to broad assertions of misconduct against many defendants. For the reasons which follow, the Court finds that Plaintiff's amended complaint, even liberally construed, does not demonstrate more than a mere possibility of misconduct, which does not suffice to support a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969; see also Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1122 (9th Cir. 2012) ("The deliberate indifference doctrine is limited in scope.").

B. Eighth Amendment Claims[2]

1. Legal Standard

Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2010); Ewing v. City of Stockton, 588 F.3d 1218, 1235 (9th Cir. 2009). Liability may not be imposed on supervisory personnel under the theory of respondeat superior, as each defendant is only liable for his or her own misconduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77, 129 S.Ct. at 1948-49; Ewing, 588 F.3d at 1235. Supervisory personnel may be liable only if (1) they are personally involved in the constitutional deprivation, or (2) there is a sufficient causal connection between the supervisors' wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation. Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977 (9th Cir. 2013) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

While the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution entitles Plaintiff to medical care, the Eighth Amendment is violated only when a prison official acts with deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical needs. Snow v. McDaniel, 681 F.3d 978, 985 (9th Cir. 2012), overruled in part on other grounds, Peralta v. Dillard, ___ F.3d ___, ___, No. 09-55907, 2014 WL 878830, at *3 (9th Cir. Mar. 6, 2014); Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1122; Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006). Negligent medical care does not support a claim for relief under section 1983. Snow, 681 F.3d at 987-88. Plaintiff "must show (1) a serious medical need by demonstrating that failure to treat [his] condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, " and (2) that "the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent." Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1122. Deliberate indifference is shown by "(a) a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or ...


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