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Vera v. Gipson

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 24, 2014

CONNIE GIPSON, Warden, Defendant.


MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff initiated this action by filing pro se a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The Court directed the habeas proceeding be converted to a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action and that Plaintiff proceed in forma pauperis. The First Amended Complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Before the Court are (1) Plaintiff's motion for transfer to another facility, and (2) the Second Amended Complaint for screening.


The Court must dismiss an in forma pauperis action at any time if the Court determines that the allegation of poverty is untrue, the action is frivolous or malicious, the action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).


Section 1983 "provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990), quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

To state a claim under § 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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

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 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 667-68.

Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).


Plaintiff's allegations can be summarized essentially as follows:

Plaintiff suffers unspecified lower body mobility problems and chronic pain. He was evaluated and treated by Defendant Reno Orthopedic Clinic ("ROC"). Later while incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP"), he requested but did not receive his ROC medical records or continuation of the ROC treatment plan.

He filed a prison appeal which was denied.

He claims CSP medical staff provided negligent care and denied accommodation appliances and medical follow-up. He also asserts that they retaliated against him by denying him medication to deliberately inflict cardiovascular disease and by transferring him to a facility not suited to his medical needs.

Defendant Warden Gipson knew of these violations but took no action.

Defendant DeGuchi falsified a diagnosis.

The "corporation" fraudulently denied a second MRI.

Plaintiff requests the Court order proper medical treatment, delivery to him of his medical records, and an end to the retaliation against him. He also seeks monetary damages.


A. Linking Defendants to Violations

A § 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). There must be an actual connection or link between the actions of the defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered by the plaintiff. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).

Defendant warden Gipson cannot be held liable under § 1983 solely because of her status as warden. There is no respondeat superior liability under § 1983. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). "Liability under [§] 1983 arises only upon a showing of personal participation by the defendant. A supervisor is only liable for the constitutional violations of... subordinates if the supervisor participated in or directed the violations, or knew of the ...

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