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Johnson v. Kramer

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 22, 2017

LAMAR JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NORM KRAMER, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT THIS CASE BE DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 12.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN 30 DAYS

          GARY S. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Lamar Johnson (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On January 8, 2015, Plaintiff and a co-plaintiff, William Stafford, filed the Complaint commencing this action. (ECF No. 1.) On September 2, 2015, the court dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim, severed Plaintiffs' claims, and directed the Clerk to open a new case for Plaintiff. (ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff was ordered to file an amended complaint in his new case. (Id.)

         On October 13, 2015, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 8.) On June 24, 2016, the court dismissed the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. (ECF No. 11.)

         On July 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint, which is now before the court for screening. (ECF No. 12.)

         II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         The in forma pauperis statute provides that “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). “Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, ” none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). 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). “Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512. 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (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. However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations.” Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). “[A] liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled.” Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982)).

         III. SUMMARY OF SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is a civilly detained patient held under the Sexually Violent Predator Act at Coalinga State Hospital (CSH) in Coalinga, California, in the custody of the California Department of State Hospitals (CDSH), where the events at issue in the Second Amended Complaint allegedly occurred. Plaintiff names one defendant, Pam Ahlin (“Defendant”).

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations. Plaintiff, an African-American male, has resided at CSH since 2011. Plaintiff is housed at CSH for the purpose of receiving psychiatric care and treatment for a mental disorder. CSH is located in Fresno County, an area known to harbor the fungus Coccidiodomycosis in the soil, which can cause the disease known as Valley Fever in individuals residing, visiting, or even passing through an endemic area.

         Defendant Pam Ahlin is and was the Executive Director of CSH, and she is now the Executive Director of CDSH. At all times relevant to Plaintiff's complaint defendant Ahlin was in the seat of authority in Sacramento. Defendant Ahlin arranged for Plaintiff to be sent to CSH for involuntary mental health treatment.

         Plaintiff holds Defendant responsible for placing him in danger of exposure to Valley Fever, with intent to harm. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant had direct and specific scientific and medical health knowledge of the dangers of Valley Fever from studies done at nearby Pleasant Valley State Prison. CSH's policies, practice, and the acts of Defendant constitute deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's constitutional and statutory rights to be free of exposure to Valley Fever and to be protected against windblown spores. Valley Fever is a serious threat to the health of African-Americans. As the result of negligence in Defendant's decision-making, Plaintiff is held in an environment that could potentially cause him to experience a permanent crippling physical injury if he becomes infected. Plaintiff is not responsible for his placement in the dangerous and threatening environment that harbors Valley Fever spores.

         Plaintiff requests monetary damages, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, costs of suit, and attorney's fees.

         IV. ...


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