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Phillippi v. Kelso

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 8, 2016

BRUCE PHILLIPPI, Plaintiff,
v.
J. CLARK KELSO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          DONNA M. RYU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the security housing unit at Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), has filed a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, stemming from alleged constitutional violations at PBSP. Dkt. 1. He names the following Defendants: California Correctional Health Care Services (“CCHCS”) Receiver J. Clarke Kelso; PBSP Chief Medical Executive J. Bal; PBSP Chief Executive Officer Maureen McLean; PBSP Physicians M. Sayre and Nancy Adams; and PBSP Nurse Practitioner Laurie Thomas. Plaintiff alleges that the named Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Id. at 3-9. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief as well as monetary damages. Id. at 10.

         This matter has been assigned to the undersigned Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff has consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. Dkt. 4.

         Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted in a separate written Order.

         Venue is proper because the events giving rise to the claims are alleged to have occurred at PBSP, which is located in this judicial district. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). 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 essential 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 (1988).

         B. Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs

         Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment’s proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc); Jones v. Johnson, 781 F.2d 769, 771 (9th Cir. 1986). A determination of “deliberate indifference” involves an examination of two elements: the seriousness of the prisoner’s medical need and the nature of the defendant’s response to that need. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059. A “serious” medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner’s condition could result in further significant injury or the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Id. (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. at 104). A prison official is deliberately indifferent if he or she knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). Here, when liberally construed, Plaintiff’s allegations state cognizable claims that the named Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

         III. ...


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