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Castaneda v. Foston

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 13, 2014

D. FOSTON, et al., Defendants.


BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.

I. Screening Requirement and Standard

Plaintiff Jesus B. Castaneda ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On April 17, 2014, the Court granted Plaintiff's request for leave to file a second amended complaint. On May 19, 2014, Plaintiff's second amended complaint was lodged with the Court. Consistent with the Court's order of April 17, 2014, the Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to file the second amended complaint. In the interests of judicial economy, the Court now screens the second amended complaint.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 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, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service , 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss , 572 F.3d at 969.

II. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California. The events in the second amended complaint allegedly occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Pleasant Valley State Prison. Plaintiff names fourteen separate defendants.

Plaintiff alleges as follows: On February 7, 2010, Plaintiff and his cellmate were assaulted by Correctional Officer Burns. Responding staff also joined in the assault. Thereafter, Plaintiff was placed in the Administrative Segregation Unit ("Ad-Seg") and his cellmate was airlifted to the Fresno Regional Medical Center. The following day, Defendants Quezada and Lopez photographed, inventoried and boxed all of Plaintiff's personal property, including Plaintiff's PARASTEP I system, which is a microcomputer controlled functional neuromuscular stimulation system that enables independent, un-braced ambulation by people with a spinal cord injury.

On February 23, 2010, Plaintiff was interviewed by Defendants Reeves and J. Brown. During the interview, Plaintiff requested return of the PARASTEP. Plaintiff advised them of the physiological damage that would occur if he was denied access to the PARASTEP. Defendants Reeves and J. Brown refused to provide Plaintiff with the PARASTEP. Plaintiff suffered pressure sores and muscle atrophy. Plaintiff made multiple requests to medical personnel, but was told that custody personnel had taken steps to ensure that he was denied access.

On August 30, 2010, Plaintiff was transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison. On September 26, 2010, he submitted an appeal regarding denial of the PARASTEP, which was denied at all levels.

On June 21, 2011, Plaintiff was transferred back to Pleasant Valley State Prison. On June 22, 2011, Plaintiff submitted appeals to recover the PARASTEP. Plaintiff's appeal was improperly screened, delayed, screened out and not responded to by Defendants Foreman and A. Nesbit.

On August 4, 2011, Defendant Duenas, a licensed physician, was aware that custody was interfering with Plaintiff's prescribed medical treatment-the PARASTEP-for over 17 months, that this denial endangered Plaintiff's life, that he was still in need of the treatment and that prison officials were refusing to provide it.

On July 19, 2011, Plaintiff saw Dr. Rowe in the satellite clinic. Plaintiff showed Dr. Rowe documentation regarding the PARASTEP and Dr. Rowe accessed Plaintiff's medical records. Dr. Rowe noted that the PARASTEP was currently a prescribed course of treatment and that Plaintiff had medical authorization to possess and use the PARASTEP. Dr. Rowe called Defendant Martinez to the clinic and asked why Plaintiff was being denied access to the PARASTEP. After consulting with Defendant Nelson, Defendant Martinez told Dr. Rowe that Plaintiff was being denied access to the PARASTEP by custody because he had filed multiple appeals against staff. Dr. Rowe informed Defendant Martinez of the physiological damage that would ...

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