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Klein v. Conanan

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 3, 2014

CONANAN, Defendant.


GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.


Michael Klein ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds on the initial Complaint, filed by Plaintiff on April 25, 2013, against defendant Dr. Conanan ("Defendant") for inadequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 1.)

The parties to this action have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), to conduct all further proceedings in this case. (Docs. 5, 15.)

On March 13, 2014, Defendant filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss this action as barred by the applicable statute of limitations, together with a request for judicial notice. (Docs. 13, 14.) On May 27, 2014, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion. (Doc. 22.) On May 30, 2014, Defendant filed a reply to the opposition. (Doc. 23.) Defendant's motion to dismiss is now before the court.


Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Avenal State Prison (ASP), in Avenal, California, brings this civil rights action against Defendant Dr. Conanan, M.D., an employee of the CDCR at ASP. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Conanan was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, resulting in injury.

Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that when he was transferred to ASP from the Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) in Tracy, California, he was in possession of his medical records, which indicated that he had Hepatitis C, "with a genome-type disease." (Complaint at 3 ¶IV.) Plaintiff alleges that he requested a liver biopsy at DVI, which was denied. Upon his arrival at ASP, Plaintiff again requested a liver biopsy, which was denied by Dr. Conanan. Dr. Conanan explained that "my enzyme level and viral load" did not warrant it. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that he was not prescribed "any medication whatsoever." (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that "this failure drastically increased the risk for expidited [ sic ] and irreversible damage being done to my liver. This did in fact occur and now resulted in Petitioner's condition being untreatable."[1] (Id. at 4:2-5.)


A. Rule 12(b)(6) Motion To Dismiss For Failure To State A Claim

In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all allegations of material fact in the complaint as true. Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 93-94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007); Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trustees , 425 U.S. 738, 740, 96 S.Ct. 1848, 48 L.Ed.2d 338 (1976). The court must also construe the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes , 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974), overruled on other grounds by Davis v. Scherer , 468 U.S. 183, 104 S.Ct. 3012, 82 L.Ed.2d 139 (1984); Barnett v. Centoni , 31 F.3d 813, 816 (9th Cir.1994) (per curiam). All ambiguities or doubts must also be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. See Jenkins v. McKeithen , 395 U.S. 411, 421, 89 S.Ct. 1843, 23 L.Ed.2d 404 (1969). However, legally conclusory statements, not supported by actual factual allegations, need not be accepted. Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972). "The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Scheuer , 416 U.S. at 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974),

Rule 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain more than "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555-56. The complaint must contain "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. "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 679 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility for entitlement to relief." Id. at 680 (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 557).

In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court generally may not consider materials outside the complaint and pleadings. Cooper v. Pickett , 137 F.3d 616, 622 (9th Cir. 1998); Branch v. Tunnell , 14 F.3d 449, 453 (9th Cir. 1994). The court may, however, consider: (1) documents whose contents are alleged in or attached to the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, see id. at 454; (2) documents whose authenticity is not in question, and upon which the complaint necessarily relies, but which are not attached to the complaint, see Lee v. City of Los Angeles , 250 F.3d 668, 688 ...

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