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Ratcliff v. Akanno

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 21, 2016

WILLIAM RATCLIFF, Plaintiff,
v.
J. AKANNO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, WITH LEAVE TO AMEND, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM FOR RELIEF [ECF No. 1]

         Plaintiff William Ratcliff is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge on May 5, 2016. Local Rule 302.

         Plaintiff filed the instant complaint on April 26, 2016.

         I. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         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, but the pleading standard is now higher, Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted), and 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.

         II. COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff names M. Spaeth (Chief Physician and Surgeon), Ogun Omolade (medical examiner for the health care department), A. Rangel (Registered Nurse), A. Manasrah (Primary Care Physician), and J. Akanno (Medical Doctor), as Defendants. Plaintiff contends that each Defendant was deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         In April 2010, Plaintiff suffered from severe ulnar neuropathy at the wrist, soft tissue inflammation, tendon swelling with inflammation, unusual weakness and numbness. Plaintiff was under treatment by prison health staff for this serious medical condition, and Plaintiff was informed by Physician Dennis G. Patterson that he would need surgery. Plaintiff was issued a lower bunk chrono by Dennis G. Patterson.

         On December 8, 2012, while housed at Calipatria State Prison, Plaintiff sustained trauma during an assault and was air lifted to Desert Regional Medical Center. Plaintiff suffered multiple contusions and fractures to his lower back and left shoulder.

         On November 23, 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). While housed at KVSP, Defendant Ogun Omolade took Plaintiff's lower bunk chrono without Plaintiff's knowledge and without contacting Plaintiff to explain why the chrono was no longer necessary.

         On December 16, 2014, Plaintiff filed an administrative appeal complaining about his injuries and lower bunk chrono. The appeal was answered at the Director's Level on July 9, 2015, Log # KVSP HC 14035850. The response stated that after review, no intervention at the Director's Level was necessary as Plaintiff's medical condition was evaluated and he was receiving the treatment deemed medically necessary.

         On May 22, 2015, while trying to climb into the upper bunk, Plaintiff slipped and fell off the desk stool and sustained an injury to the back of his head requiring stitches. Plaintiff re-injured his lower back and upper left shoulder. On this same date, Plaintiff completed a health care service request form complaining about the injury to Plaintiff's shoulder and back. Plaintiff was experiencing excruciating an agonizing pain.

         On May 26, 2015, Plaintiff went to the drop-in clinic and explained to the Medical Technician Assistant (MTA) A. Rangel that Plaintiff re-injured his lower back and shoulder and would like to see a doctor. Plaintiff knew his injuries were serious because he could barely walk. Plaintiff explained that there was no way he could climb or reach the upper bunk without some sort of help. Plaintiff demanded that his lower bunk chrono be reinstated even if it was temporally

         Defendant Rangel stated that these injuries normally go away after several months, and suggested that Plaintiff exercise and try not to bend too much. Rather than arranging a visit to see the doctor, Defendant Rangel declined to ...


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