United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
A. WESTMORE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James Maurice Duckett, a state prisoner incarcerated at Santa
Rita County Jail (“SRCJ”), has filed a pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging the violation of his constitutional rights by
SRCJ and Corizon PHS. Plaintiff has consented to the
jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge over this action. Plaintiff’s motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis is granted in a separate
order. The Court now reviews Plaintiff’s complaint.
Preliminary Review of Complaint
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).
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).
may be imposed on an individual defendant under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 if the plaintiff can show that the
defendant’s actions both actually and proximately
caused the deprivation of a federally protected right.
Lemire v. Cal. Dept. Corrections &
Rehabilitation, 756 F.3d 1062, 1074 (9th Cir. 2013);
Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988);
Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 F.2d 1121, 1125 (9th
Cir. 1981). A person deprives another of a constitutional
right within the meaning of section 1983 if he does an
affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative
act or omits to perform an act which he is legally required
to do, that causes the deprivation of which the plaintiff
complains. Leer, 844 F.2d at 633.
no circumstances is there respondeat superior liability under
§ 1983. Lemire, 756 F.3d at 1074. Or, in
layman's terms, under no circumstances is there liability
under section 1983 solely because one is responsible for the
actions or omissions of another. Taylor v. List, 880
F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989); Ybarra v. Reno
Thunderbird Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680-81
(9th Cir. 1984). A supervisor may be liable under § 1983
upon a showing of (1) personal involvement in the
constitutional deprivation or (2) a sufficient causal
connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and
the constitutional violation. Henry A. v. Willden,
678 F.3d 991, 1003-04 (9th Cir. 2012) (citing Starr v.
Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1207 (9th Cir. 2011)). It is
insufficient for a plaintiff only to allege that supervisors
knew about the constitutional violation and that they
generally created policies and procedures that led to the
violation, without alleging “a specific policy”
or “a specific event” instigated by them that led
to the constitutional violations. Hydrick v. Hunter,
669 F.3d 937, 942 (9th Cir. 2012).
complaint alleges that Plaintiff has a long history of
glaucoma and has pain in both eyes and vision problems. He
needs eye drops and eye glasses. He has requested to be seen
by an optometrist, but was only put on a list. Finally, he
saw an optometrist at Corizon Health Care. The optometrist
diagnosed his glaucoma but denied Plaintiff the eye drops he
allegations indicate that Plaintiff is attempting to state an
Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his
serious medical need.
indifference to a prisoner’s serious medical needs
violates the Eighth Amendment. 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). A prison official violates the
Eighth Amendment when two requirements are met: (1) the
deprivation alleged is, objectively, sufficiently serious,
and (2) the official is, subjectively, deliberately
indifferent to the inmate’s health or safety.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). 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.” McGuckin, 974 F.2d at
1059. A prison official exhibits deliberate indifference when
he knows of and disregards a substantial risk of serious harm
to inmate health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.
Such indifference may appear when prison officials deny,
delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or
it may be shown in the way in which prison officials provide
medical care. McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1062.
allegations appear to meet the objective prong of the
Farmer test in that his glaucoma appears to be a
serious medical need. However, even liberally construed, the
allegations do not meet Farmer’s subjective
prong because they do not indicate that any individual knew
of Plaintiff’s glaucoma and delayed or denied him
treatment for it. Plaintiff states that the Corizon
optometrist diagnosed his glaucoma and did not prescribe the
necessary eye drops. If Plaintiff named this optometrist as a
defendant, the allegations, liberally construed, would appear
to state a claim against her. However, the allegations do not
state a claim against SRCJ or Corizon Health Care because
there is no supervisorial liability under § 1983.
the claims against SRCJ and Corizon are dismissed. However,
Plaintiff is granted leave to amend to name as defendants the
individual or individuals who denied, delayed ...