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Garcia v. Greenleaf

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 24, 2017

BRANDON MICHAEL GARCIA, Plaintiff,
v.
DELMAR GREENLEAF, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner, represented by counsel, who has filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's alleges defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. His complaint is before the court for screening. Also before the court is plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant the motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and finds the complaint states potentially cognizable claims against only defendants Greenleaf, AbdurRahman, and Jones. Plaintiff will be permitted to amend the complaint.

         IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

         Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

         SCREENING

         I. Legal Standards

         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 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).

         II. Allegations of the Complaint

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (“HDSP”) in Susanville, California. Plaintiff identifies the following defendants: (1) Dr. Delmar Greenleaf; (2) Dr. Randall Lankford; (3) Dr. Salahuddin Abdur-Rahman; (4) C. Lipton, R.N.; (5) L. Jones, R.N.; (6) Rouer, R.N.;[1](7) Woodward, R.N.; (8) Dr. Paul Ludlow; (9) “POC, ” an unknown medical provider; (10) “OT Smith, ” an unknown medical provider and/or employee; and (11) Does 1 through 20. All defendants are employees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) at HDSP, with the exception of Dr. Ludlow, who provides medical care as an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist (“ENT”) for prisoners at HDSP under contract with CDCR. (Compl. (ECF No. 1) ¶¶ 6-16.)

         Plaintiff alleges that on December 14, 2014, he was involved in an altercation on the yard at HDSP. As a result of the altercation, plaintiff suffered injury to the left side of his face. Plaintiff contends that due to delays by defendants in treating his injuries, he was unable to have surgery because his bones had started to heal in the wrong place. As a result, plaintiff has a permanent deformity to his face, nerve damage, migraines, and constant and chronic pain on the left side of his face and his left eye.

         III. Does Plaintiff state a Cognizable Eighth Amendment Claim?

         A. Eighth Amendment Standards

         In order to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment regarding medical care, plaintiff must allege and prove that he suffered a sufficiently serious deprivation (the objective prong of the claim) and that officials acted with deliberate indifference in allowing or causing the deprivation to occur (the subjective prong of the claim). Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298-99 (1991). Thus, when a prisoner's Eighth Amendment claim arises in the context of medical care, the prisoner must allege and prove “acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). A viable Eighth Amendment medical claim, then, states two elements: “the seriousness of the prisoner's medical need and the ...


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