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McCoy v. Kelso

United States District Court, E.D. California

February 5, 2015

JOSEPH RAYMOND McCOY, Plaintiff,
v.
J. CLARK KELSO, Receiver, et al., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

RALPH R. BEISTLINE, District Judge.

Joseph Raymond McCoy, a state prisoner appearing pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several officials of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.[1] McCoy is incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility-Corcoran.

I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

This Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.[2] This Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that "fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, " or that "seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief."[3] Likewise, a prisoner must exhaust all administrative remedies as may be available, [4] irrespective of whether those administrative remedies provide for monetary relief.[5]

In determining whether a complaint states a claim, the Court looks to the pleading standard under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). Under Rule 8(a), a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."[6] "[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation."[7] Failure to state a claim under § 1915A incorporates the familiar standard applied in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), including the rule that complaints filed by pro se prisoners are to be liberally construed, affording the prisoner the benefit of any doubt, and dismissal should be granted only where it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can plead no facts in support of his claim that would entitle him or her to relief.[8]

This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief.[9] "[A] complaint [that] pleads facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability... stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'"[10] Further, although a court must accept as true all factual allegations contained in a complaint, a court need not accept a plaintiff's legal conclusions as true.[11] "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."[12]

II. GRAVAMEN OF COMPLAINT

McCoy, describing himself as having been diagnosed as "terminally ill, " alleges that on June 14, 2009, he was transported to the Fresno Community Hospital for treatment of serious complications, i.e., inflamation with the discharge of puss and blood from his right foot with an attendant temperature of 101.9 degrees. After placing his foot in a splint, prescribing oral antibiotics and a wheelchair, McCoy was discharged the following day and returned to prison. On June 23, 2009, McCoy's wheelchair was taken away, substituting crutches. Subsequently, McCoy was denied soft "specialized" footwear, instead being prescribed "ace-wraps." McCoy's Complaint asserts a claim of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs divided into three sets of "Factual Allegations."

Also interspersed throughout his Complaint are allegations concerning mishandling or improper processing of his internal grievances and inappropriate disciplinary actions. It also appears that McCoy sought relief vis-a-vis his medical indifference claim in a habeas corpus proceeding in the California Superior Court, Kings County.

The Court also notes that in numerous instances McCoy refers to documentation concerning internal grievances and disciplinary actions without attaching copies of the documentation as exhibits to and incorporating them in his Complaint. Finally, nowhere in his Complaint does McCoy specify the relief he requests.

III. DISCUSSION

To the extent that McCoy raises the internal prison disciplinary actions their relevance to his deliberate indifference claim is unclear. Furthermore, McCoy's allegations with respect to the disciplinary proceedings to the extent that he alleges a loss of good-time credits do not constitute a viable civil rights claim under § 1983.[13]

Section 1983 suits do not support vicarious liability, a plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his or her rights.[14] To impose liability on a supervisor, the supervisor's wrongful conduct must be sufficiently causally connected to the constitutional violation.[15] That is, the official must "implement a policy so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights and is the moving force of the constitutional violation."[16]

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 acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which [the plaintiff complains]." Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir.1978) ( Johnson ) (emphasis added). The inquiry into causation must be individualized and focus on the duties and responsibilities of each ...

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