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De La Cruz v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 24, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.


STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Juan Carlos De La Cruz is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which provides a remedy for violation of civil rights by federal actors. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's complaint, filed April 9, 2015.



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 "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." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must demonstrate that each named defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-677; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1020-1021 (9th Cir. 2010).

Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are still entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The "sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully" is not sufficient, and "facts that are merely consistent with' a defendant's liability" falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.



Plaintiff is housed at the Taft Correctional Institution which is managed by Management and Training Corporation ("MTC") under a contract with the Bureau of Prisons. (Compl. ¶¶ 9, 18, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff suffers from an enlarged prostrate and has been proscribed pain medication and a catheter. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff claims that his prostrate problem has worsened due to the negligent treatment he has received while incarcerated at MTC. (Id. at ¶ 1.) Plaintiff brings this action alleging deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment and state law claims seeking monetary damages and injunctive and declaratory relief against the United States of America, Federal Bureau of Prisons, MTC and three of MTC's employees, Michael L. Benov, Dale Patrick, and Lauri Watts.

A. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Claims Against Defendants MTC and its Employees

Plaintiff brings this action against Defendants MTC, Benov, Patrick, and Watts for deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In Bivens the Supreme Court recognized that in limited circumstances there is a claim for damages against federal officers who abuse their constitutional authority. 403 U.S. at 397. However, the Supreme Court has held that the implied right of action recognized in Bivens does not extend to allow recovery against a private corporation operating under contract with the Bureau of Prisons. Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 63 (2001). Recently, in a case where a prisoner was alleging inadequate medical care, the Supreme Court held that Bivens did not extend to imply the existence of an Eighth Amendment based damages action against employees of a privately operated federal prison. Minneci v. Pollard, 123 S.Ct. 617, 620, 626 (2012). Accordingly, Plaintiff cannot state a claim under the Eighth Amendment against MTC or any of its employees based upon the medical care he received while housed at Taft Correctional Institution.

Courts "need not grant leave to amend where the amendment: (1) prejudices the opposing party; (2) is sought in bad faith; (3) produces an undue delay in the litigation; or (4) is futile." Amerisource Bergen Corp. v. Dialysis West, Inc., 465 F.3d 946, 951 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)). In this case, it would be futile to allow Plaintiff to amend his complaint to state an Eighth Amendment claim against these defendants. The Court recommends ...

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