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King v. Wang

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 31, 2017

DAVID KING, Plaintiff,
v.
WANG, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          DEBORAH BARNES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On February 26, 2016, defendant Nurse Wang's motion to dismiss was granted, and plaintiff's complaint was dismissed with leave to amend. (ECF No. 32.) Now pending is plaintiff's first amended complaint for screening.

         I. Screening Requirement

         The in forma pauperis statute provides, “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

         Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

         To state a claim under § 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. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cnty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

         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 set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         At all relevant times, plaintiff was an inmate housed at Folsom State Prison (“FSP”) in Folsom, California. He brings suit against Nurse Wang and the FSP Health Care Manager III.

         On August 17, 2013, plaintiff told Nurse Wang that his jaw is swollen, he has a toothache, and he is in terrible pain. Nurse Wang responded that there is nothing she can do and directed plaintiff to file a medical request. Plaintiff then suffered four days of pain, headaches and little sleep before he was treated for an abscessed tooth. Plaintiff claims dental emergencies require immediate care and not the submission of a medical request, and he accuses the Health Care Manager III of failing to properly supervise staff.

         Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $40, 000.

         IV. Discussion

         Where a prisoner's Eighth Amendment claims arise 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). An Eighth Amendment medical claim has two elements: “the seriousness of the prisoner's medical need and the nature of the defendant's response to that need.” McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d ...


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