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Ontiveors v. Clair

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 1, 2016

ST. CLAIR, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Martin Ontiveors, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 6, 2015. Plaintiff has consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 11.) No other parties have appeared.

         On April 25, 2016, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and found it did not state any cognizable claims. (ECF No. 26.) Plaintiff was granted thirty days to file an amended complaint to cure the identified deficiencies. Plaintiff's May 19, 2016 first amended complaint is before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 27.) On June 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed additional exhibits to his first amended complaint entitled “Exhibits to Complaint.” (ECF No. 28.)

         I. Screening Requirement

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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 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). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         II. Pleading Standard

         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)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Under section 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners 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), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         III. Plaintiffs Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at High Desert State Prison but complains of acts that occurred at Sierra Conservation Center (“SCC”), a state prison in Jamestown, California.[1] Plaintiff brings this action against Defendants Chief Medical Officer J. St. Clair of SCC; Chief Executive Officer R. Duncan of SCC; Deputy Director J. Lewis of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; and Nurse Clegg and Drs. Ridge, Smith, and Savage of SCC. He alleges Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care, and seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages in the amount of seven million dollars.

         Plaintiff's allegations within his first civil rights complaint were buried within a plethora of prison medical documents and appeals forms assembled in no discernible order. The Court informed Plaintiff that it would not sort through these documents to try to identify claims Plaintiff wanted to make and advised Plaintiff he had to plainly state his claims while adhering to the legal standards set forth in the Court's order. (ECF No. 26.) Rather than follow the Court's directive, Plaintiff attached even more appeals forms and medical documents to his first amended complaint. Plaintiff's first amended complaint spans 79 pages. On June 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed 79 additional pages of supporting documentation. (ECF No. 28.)

         Plaintiff states the documents “speak for themselves.” (ECF No. 27 at 4.) They do not. Plaintiff is admonished one last time: it is not the Court's responsibility to sort through documents to try to parse his allegations and identify cognizable claims. While the Court indulged Plaintiff in screening his first complaint, it will not do so again. The following summary of Plaintiff's allegations is taken from the body of Plaintiffs first amended complaint without reference to Plaintiff's supporting documentation:

         Plaintiff suffers from a severely painful disk protrusion in his back. Defendant J. Lewis outright denied Plaintiff medical treatment that Plaintiff had been receiving for years at Centinela State Prison. Defendant R. Duncan was aware of Plaintiff's severe back pain, and did nothing to treat it. Dr. Smith tried to cut Plaintiff off all medication, and said Plaintiff was “faking [his] back pain.” Plaintiff states Drs. Ridge and Savage and Nurse Clegg were also aware of Plaintiff's back pain, but did nothing.

         Plaintiff states he was forced to suffer in pain as a result of Defendants' disregard.

         IV. Discussion

         Plaintiff's first amended complaint will be dismissed. The allegations in the body of his complaint are too general, too conclusory, to state a claim for relief. He will be given leave to amend. Should Plaintiff choose to file an amended complaint, he must not attach medical and appeals records with the expectation that they will “speak for themselves.” He must present his claims in plain and direct language, and state how each Defendant personally violated his constitutional rights. His amended complaint must be complete within itself. Plaintiff is reminded that all factual allegations are accepted as true, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. ...

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