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White v. Walker

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 17, 2015

DONNY WHITE, Plaintiff,
J. WALKER, et al., Defendants.


GARY S. AUSTIN, Magistrate Judge.

I. Screening Requirement

Plaintiff is a former state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious, " that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). "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).

"Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, " none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). Pursuant to Rule 8(a), 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). "Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. However, "the liberal pleading standard.... applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations." Nietze 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)).

II. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff, formerly an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran (SATF), brings this civil rights action against correctional officials employed by the CDCR at SATF. Plaintiff claims that he was subjected to inadequate medical care such that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff names the following individuals defendants: J. Walker, Chief of California Health Care Services; Registered Nurse (RN) S. Turner; Morris; Miller; Villasenor; Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Ervin; LVN Howard; Dr. Raman, M.D.; Dr. Rahimi, M.D.; Health Care Manager Martinez.

Plaintiff suffers from diabetes and was being treated with Metformin, which Plaintiff was allowed to keep on his person. During the week of July 13, 2008, Facility D, where Plaintiff was housed, was placed on lockdown restricting the movement of inmates, with the exception of emergencies and inmates assigned to work duties.

Plaintiff ran out of Metformin, and, as he was unable to go to the medical clinic because of the lockdown, he sought help from medical staff inside the housing unit. Each time medical staff visited Plaintiff's housing unit to administer medication, Plaintiff told them that he was out of medication, and "that he had not been able to obtain diabetes medication for X number of days and he was experiencing adverse symptoms as a result." Plaintiff requested that Defendants Turner, Morris, Villasenor and Miller to "take steps to obtain a new order, refill or bridge plaintiff's supply of diabetes medication right away." Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants" instructed him to submit a Health Care Services Request and told Plaintiff that he would have to wait until the lockdown was over before he could see a doctor.

Between July 8 and July 17, 2008, Plaintiff submitted "several" requests for health care, explaining that his diabetes medications were either running very low or had run out. Plaintiff requested that medical staff renew his supply. Plaintiff alleges that "for several days, " he did not receive any medication to treat his diabetes. On July 18, 2008, Plaintiff's "adverse diabetic symptoms" were such that he was taken to the medical clinic. Plaintiff was eventually hospitalized due to his diabetic condition.

After his hospitalization, Plaintiff began to receive regular insulin treatments to control his blood sugar levels. This treatment was at Plaintiff's request. Plaintiff requested this treatment instead of a Metformin prescription to ensure he would receive his medication during lockdowns.

On May 9, 2009, Dr. Raman discontinued Plaintiff's insulin treatments. Dr. Raman also doubled Plaintiff's prescription for Hydrochlorothiazide, which can increase blood sugar levels. Dr. Raman decreased Plaintiff's finger stick blood tests from daily to weekly, "and without insulin coverage so that medical staff would then be unable to closely monitor Plaintiff's diabetes after Raman's order." Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Raman "did not provide any medical treatment to substitute for the insulin he had discontinued."

The balance of Plaintiff's complaint includes a recitation of various medical issues and grievances that Plaintiff has suffered throughout his incarceration, including hypertension, fractured hips, torn tendons, asthma, diabetes, carpal tunnel ...

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