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Lipsey v. Norum

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 1, 2014

CHRISTOPHER LIPSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. NORUM, et al., Defendants

Christopher Lipsey, Plaintiff, Pro se, Corcoran, CA.

ORDER SERVING COGNIZABLE CLAIMS; DENYING FIRST MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT; DIRECTING DEFENDANT TO RESPOND TO SECOND MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

VINCE CHHABRIA, United States District Judge.

Re: Dkt. Nos. 18 and 19

Christopher Lipsey, currently incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison, filed a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that employees of Pelican Bay State Prison, where Lipsey was previously incarcerated, violated his constitutional rights. Lipsey's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate order. The Court now addresses the claims asserted in Lipsey's complaint.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

A federal court must screen any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, to dismiss any claims that: (1) are frivolous or malicious; (2) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two 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. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 108 S.Ct. 2250, 101 L.Ed.2d 40 (1988).

Liability may be imposed on an individual defendant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the defendant's actions both actually and proximately caused the deprivation of a federally protected right. Lemire v. California Dep't of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 726 F.3d 1062, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013); Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988). A person deprives another of a constitutional right within the meaning of section 1983 if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative act or fails to perform an act which he is legally required to do, that causes the deprivation of which the plaintiff complains. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633.

But there is no respondeat superior liability under Section 1983. Lemire, 726 F.3d at 1074. That is, a supervisor is not liable merely because the supervisor is responsible, in general terms, for the actions of another. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989); Ybarra v. Reno Thunderbird Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680-81 (9th Cir. 1984). A supervisor may be liable only on a showing of (1) personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or (2) a sufficient causal connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and the constitutional violation. Henry A. v. Willden, 678 F.3d 991, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012). It is insufficient for a plaintiff to allege generally that supervisors knew about the constitutional violation or that they generally created policies and procedures that led to the violation, without alleging " a specific policy" or " a specific event" instigated by the supervisors that led to the constitutional violation. Hydrick v. Hunter, 669 F.3d 937, 942 (9th Cir. 2012).

II. Lipsey's Allegations

Lipsey's complaint alleges the following:

On December 18, 2013, Dr. Norum, Chief of Mental Health at Pelican Bay, without Lipsey's permission and without checking Lipsey's medical records for allergies, ordered that Lipsey be injected with a tranquilizer. When Lipsey asked Norum for something to stop the bad side effects of the tranquilizer, Norum replied, " Why aren't you suicidal anymore? Then I'll order you United States District Court Northern District of California something for the side effects." Then Norum walked away. Lipsey felt pain from the tranquilizer for days after he received the injection.

A new suicide prevention device was installed which beeps every fifteen minutes. The beeping makes it impossible for Lipsey to sleep. Even though Lipsey has complained that the device interferes with his sleep, it has not been removed. Lipsey alleges the lack of sleep is a violation ...


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