United States District Court, E.D. California
Lawrence J. O’Neill United States Chief District Judge
in the Eastern District of California carry the heaviest
caseloads in the nation, and this Court is unable to devote
inordinate time and resources to individual cases and
matters. Given the shortage of district judges and staff,
this Court addresses only the arguments, evidence, and
matters necessary to reach the decision in this order. The
parties and counsel are encouraged to contact the offices of
United States Senators Feinstein and Boxer to address this
Court’s inability to accommodate the parties and this
action. The parties are required to reconsider consent to
conduct all further proceedings before a Magistrate Judge,
whose schedules are far more realistic and accommodating to
parties than that of U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence J.
O'Neill, who must prioritize criminal and older civil
trials set before Chief Judge O'Neill trail until he
becomes available and are subject to suspension mid-trial to
accommodate criminal matters. Civil trials are no longer
reset to a later date if Chief Judge O'Neill is
unavailable on the original date set for trial. Moreover,
this Court's Fresno Division randomly and without advance
notice reassigns civil actions to U.S. District Judges
throughout the nation to serve as visiting judges. In the
absence of Magistrate Judge consent, this action is subject
to reassignment to a U.S. District Judge from inside or
outside the Eastern District of California.
Screening requirement and standard.
David Crew is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff’s complaint, filed on April 26, 2016,
is currently before the Court for screening.
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,
malicious, 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);
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). If an action is
dismissed on one of these three basis, a strike is imposed
per 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). An inmate who has had three or
more prior actions or appeals dismissed as frivolous,
malicious, or for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, and has not alleged imminent danger of
serious physical injury does not qualify to proceed in
forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);
Richey v. Dahne, 807 F.3d 1201, 1208 (9th Cir.
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
mereconclusory 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)). While a plaintiff’s allegations are taken as
true, courts “are not required to indulge unwarranted
inferences.” Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted).
proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to
have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any
doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627
F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (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 (quotation marks omitted). The sheer possibility that
a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere
consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the
plausibility standard. Id.
Plaintiff’s allegations. 
complaint outlines a series of events concerning his medical
history around August and September 2015. It is difficult to
understand the relevance of most of the allegations given the
limited basis for his claims, discussed in more detail below.
Around August 30, 2015, Plaintiff was seen by an unnamed
registered nurse (“RN”), who informed Plaintiff
that he had a metallic object in his stomach. The RN insisted
that the object was a razor. Later, an unnamed doctor and an
unnamed Supervising Nurse saw Plaintiff and confirmed that he
had something in his stomach. Though they did not know what
it was, they did not think it was a razor.
returned to Kern Valley State Prison (“KVSP”),
where he was placed on suicide watch by order of an unnamed
psychiatrist. “KVSP medical” allegedly
“tried to talk to the psychiatrist who refused to
listen.” On Septmeber 1, 2015, Plaintiff was placed
under suicide restraints in a holding cage. The psychiatrist
visited with Plaintiff and stated that Plaintiff knew he had
staples in his stomach. Plaintiff alleges that while on
suicide watch he was denied his “C-pap machine, ”
which helps him breathe at night.
claims he was not aware of having staples in his stomach,
that no medical professional had informed him of the staples,
and that there is no medical documentation of them. He argues
this amounts to medical malpractice. Plaintiff further argues
the medical care the KVSP psychiatrist provided,
specifically, placing Plaintiff on suicide watch and ignoring
his serious medical condition and needs, was “grossly
incompetent and inadequately excessive.”
Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a claim.
noted, the basis for Plaintiff’s claims is not clear.
It appears that Plaintiff asserts solely Eighth Amendment
medical claims. Under the Eighth Amendment, the government
has an obligation to provide medical care to those who are
incarcerated. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122,
1131 (9th Cir. 2000). “In order to violate the Eighth
Amendment proscription against cruel and unusual punishment,
there must be a ‘deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs of prisoners.’” Id.
(quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976)). Lopez takes a two-prong approach to
evaluating whether medical care, or lack thereof, rises to
the level of “deliberate indifference.” First, a
Court must examine whether the plaintiff’s medical
needs were serious. See Id. Second, a Court must
determine whether “officials intentionally interfered
with [the plaintiff's] medical treatment.”
Id. at 1132. “The indifference to his medical
needs must be substantial. Mere ‘indifference, ’