United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, Magistrate Judge.
On January 15, 2015, Plaintiff Jesus Casares-Alvarado, who is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute Victorville Medium I ("FCI Victorville"), filed a pro se civil rights complaint. Dkt. 1 ("Complaint"). Plaintiff names Warden Randy L. Tews, Dr. Ross Quinn, and Physician Assistant ("PA") Victoria Malingkas as Defendants. Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by their deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs while incarcerated at FCI Victorville. Complaint at 2-3.
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court must screen the Complaint before ordering service for purposes of determining whether the action is frivolous or malicious; or fails to state a claim on which relief might be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
SUMMARY OF PLAINTIFFS ALLEGATIONS
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by failing to provide adequate care for his hernia problems. Plaintiff alleges that he had two "failed" hernia operations, on February 11, 2008 and in September 2010. Complaint at 2. Plaintiff alleges that he is in "constant pain" due to the two unsuccessful operations. Id. Approximately six months after the second hernia repair operation, Plaintiff was apparently released from prison and deported to Mexico. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was released from prison while still healing from the second hernia operation, and that he was not given any medical instructions or care upon his release from prison. Id. Plaintiff eventually returned to custody at FCI Victorville, where he continues to suffer from the same hernia problems. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the medical staff at FCI Victorville is aware of his medical problems but fails "to provide any aid or assistance." Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court's screening of the Complaint under the foregoing statutes is governed by the following standards. A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to state a claim for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory; or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't. , 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, its allegations of material fact must be taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Love v. United States , 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). Further, since Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court must construe the allegations of the complaint liberally and must afford Plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. See Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Pep't , 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). However, "the liberal pleading standard... applies only to a plaintiffs factual allegations." Neitze v. Williams , 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). "[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled." Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin. , 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents 673 F.2d 266 , 268 (9th Cir. 1982)). Moreover, with respect to Plaintiffs pleading burden, the Supreme Court has held that "a plaintiffs obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.... Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level... on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted, alteration in original); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (holding that to avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' 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." (internal citation omitted)).
If the Court finds that a complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, the Court has discretion to dismiss with or without leave to amend. Lopez v. Smith , 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-30 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). Leave to amend should be granted if it appears possible that the defects in the complaint could be corrected, especially if a plaintiff is pro se. Id. at 1130-31; see also Cato v. United States , 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995) (noting that "[a] pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her complaint, and some notice of its deficiencies, unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment") (citing Noll v. Carlson , 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987)). However, if, after careful consideration, it is clear that a complaint cannot be cured by amendment, the Court may dismiss without leave to amend. Cato , 70 F.3d at 1105-06; see, e.g., Chaset v. Fleer/Skvbox Int'l , 300 F.3d 1083, 1088 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that "there is no need to prolong the litigation by permitting further amendment" where the "basic flaw" in the pleading cannot be cured by amendment); Lipton v. Pathogenesis Corp. , 284 F.3d 1027, 1039 (9th Cir. 2002) (holding that "[b]ecause any amendment would be futile, there was no need to prolong the litigation by permitting further amendment").