United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS (ECF No. 1) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE (ECF No. 5)
BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Archie Cranford ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Plaintiff complaint, filed on July 14, 2014, is currently before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to consolidate this matter with Cranford v. Ahlin, et al., 1:14-cv-01131-MJS and Cranford v. Seats, et al., 1:14-cv-01102-MJS.
I. Screening Requirement
"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, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id . (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id.
II. Allegations in Complaint
Plaintiff names Teressita Dirige, Jessice C., Jeassinica Seats, and Brian Martinez as defendants. Plaintiff alleges that on July 5, 2014, he approached defendants about an extremely painful bunion that was bleeding and causing pain. Defendants refused to summon medical aid for two days.
Plaintiff also alleges that he is forced to sleep in a dorm where he is assaulted on a daily basis and that his HIPAA rights have been violated by the dissemination of confidential medical information.
A. Medical Care & Failure to Protect
As a civil detainee, Plaintiff's rights to medical care and personal safety are protected by the substantive component of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Youngberg v. Romeo , 457 U.S. 307, 315 (1982). Under this provision of the Constitution, Plaintiff is "entitled to more considerate treatment and conditions of confinement than criminals whose conditions of confinement are designed to punish." Jones v. Blanas , 393 F.3d 918, 931 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Youngberg , 457 U.S. at 321-22); cf. Clouthier v. County of Contra Costa , 591 F.3d 1232, 1243-44 (9th Cir. 2010) (pretrial detainees, who are confined to ensure their presence at trial, are afforded only those protections provided by the Eighth Amendment). Thus, to avoid liability, Defendants' decisions must be supported by "professional judgment." Youngberg , 457 U.S. at 323. A defendant fails to use professional judgment when his or her decision is "such a substantial departure from accepted professional judgment, practice, or standards as to demonstrate that [he or she] did not base the decision on such a judgment." Youngberg , 457 U.S. at 323.
Here, Plaintiff's allegations fail to state a claim under this standard for his medical care or for his claim of failure to protect. With regard to medical care, at best Plaintiff has alleged that he complained of a painful bunion, but he has not identified any resulting harm or consequences resulting from the pain or from Defendants' purported failure to summon medical assistance for two days. In the absence of any such allegations, Defendants' conduct appears to be supported by professional judgment that Plaintiff did not require any treatment. The absence of any apparent consequence or harm also suggests that Plaintiff was treated within accepted standards of professional judgment.
With regard to his allegation that he is required to sleep in a dorm and is subjected to repeated assaults, this is insufficient to state a constitutional claim based on a failure to protect. The allegations do not identify any threatened acts that Defendants could or should have acted to prevent. While Plaintiff has a liberty interest in safe conditions of confinement, Youngberg , 457 U.S. at 315, and care that is ...