United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE
DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
March 14, 2017, Niyatti Winters (“Plaintiff”),
then a state prisoner at Wasco State Prison-Reception Center
in Kern County, California, filed a pro se civil rights
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. 1
(“Complaint”). The Complaint arises out of
Plaintiff's attempts to obtain medical care for injuries
he sustained at the Southwest Detention Center
(“SWDC”) in Murrieta, California. Plaintiff sues
the following Defendants in their individual capacity: (1)
Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff; (2) Dr. Saweris, a
physician for Corrections Health Services
(“CHS”); (3) John/Jane Doe, the Medical Director
of CHS; (4) Jane Doe, a nurse for CHS; and (5) Deputy
Barrios. Complaint at 3-4.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court must
screen the Complaint to determine whether the action is
frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim on which
relief might be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS
the allegations of the Complaint as true, Plaintiff received
inadequate medical care after he was attacked by other
inmates with whom he was jailed. Prison officials
subsequently reassigned Plaintiff to the same
“pod” where he had been attacked, even though he
had alerted them to the danger to his safety.
Plaintiff's Injuries and Treatment
11, 2015, Plaintiff was assaulted in “Epod Dayroom
1” at the SWDC by inmates Erik Godina and Edgar Silva,
validated members of the Independent Riders gang. Complaint
at 11; see id. at 28-29. During the assault,
Plaintiff was sprayed with a “deter[r]ent agent.”
Id. at 11. He sustained two injuries-a cut above his
right eye and a broken arm. Id. Plaintiff was
immediately seen by Dr. Saweris, who told two deputies that
Plaintiff did not need to go to the emergency room.
Id. Even though his wrist was “grotesquely
swollen, ” Dr. Saweris only gave Plaintiff an icepack
and an ACE bandage. Id. The cut above his eye was
never treated. Id. Plaintiff, who was barefoot and
still “saturated in the deter[r]ent agent, ” was
sent to “F pods programs room” to wait for the
gang unit to interview him. Id. When Plaintiff
arrived, he asked for Tylenol. Id. He was not given
any medication because he “was not housed in that part
of the jail.” Id. Deputy Barrios was present
when Plaintiff told the attending nurse that he thought his
wrist was broken. Id. The nurse examined
Plaintiff's wrist and told him that his tendons were
swollen, which was “common with that type of
injury.” Id. After the gang unit interviewed
Plaintiff, he “asked to use the restroom on the
recreation yard where [he] was left in excruciating pain for
6 hours.” Id. Plaintiff was then
“escorted barefoot back to Epod Dayroom 2” and
prescribed 4 Tylenol per day. Id.
Tylenol “did nothing” because of “bone on
bone contact, ” and Plaintiff was in
“excruciating pain” for 12 days. Id. On
June 23, 2015, he was taken to the SWDC's x-ray suite.
Id. X-rays of Plaintiff's hand, arm, and wrist
were taken, but the x-ray technician refused to give
Plaintiff the results. Id. On June 24, 2015, a CHS
nurse was “vague about the prognosis” and told a
deputy sheriff, “He needs to go out.”
Id.; see id. at 18. Plaintiff was then
taken to the Riverside University Health Systems
(“RUHS”) emergency room in Moreno Valley,
California. Id. at 11; see id. at 15-16. A
physician told Plaintiff that his arm was broken and his
“arm and hand had started mending offset at the wrist
joint” due to the delay in treatment. Id. at
11-12. Plaintiff's arm was splinted. Id. at 12;
see id. at 19.
his return to the SWDC, Plaintiff filed a grievance, which
appears to have been reviewed by Deputy Barrios. Id.
at 12; id. at 6. On July 10, 2015, a judge issued an
order to expedite Plaintiff's treatment. Id. at
On July 27, 2015, Plaintiff was taken to the RUHS's
orthopedic clinic. Id. His splint was removed and
x-rays, “pre-op, ” and a CT scan were performed.
Id. Dr. Kaputo explained that Plaintiff would need
surgery, including re-breaking and resetting his arm,
removing a piece of bone and adding a plate and screws, and
performing a performing a partial wrist fusion with pins.
Id. When Plaintiff arrived back at the SWDC, the
deputies “working the transport area” put him in
a holding cell with Godina and Silva. Id. at 31, 35.
That day, they were indicted for assaulting Plaintiff;
however, he had not been made aware that charges were being
brought. Id. Godina and Silva threatened, but did
not physically harm Plaintiff, probably because they sensed
it was a setup. Id. Even after prison officials were
made aware of this incident, no steps were taken to ensure
his safety. Id.
September 16, 2015, the managing attorney for the Prison Law
Office sent Sheriff Sniff a letter “making him
aware” of Plaintiff's condition, the impact it was
having on Plaintiff's “day to day functions,
” and the need to have the surgery scheduled
“forthwith.” Id. at 12; see id.
at 30, 34.
September 24, 2015, Plaintiff returned to the RUHS's
orthopedic clinic for another consultation “due to so
much time passing.” Id. at 12. Additional
x-rays were taken and a different surgeon informed Plaintiff
that the longer he waited to have the surgery, the more
cartilage deterioration would occur. Id. Plaintiff
was also told that he would have severe arthritis and would
never regain “full function of [his] hand/wrist
surgery was performed on October 18, 2015. Id. While
he was still recovering, Plaintiff was taken to the Riverside
County Jail in Indio, California. Id. at 31, 35. In
April 2016, he was taken back to the SWDC, where he was
placed in temporary housing for 48 hours. Id.
Plaintiff was then told that he was going back to the same
unit where he had been assaulted, which was designated
housing for validated members of the Independent Riders gang.
Id. Plaintiff voiced his concerns to a
“supervisor from classification, ” who told that
nothing could be done. Id. Plaintiff “was
forced to stay there under fear of constant threat, ”
until he was sent to prison. Id.
after the surgery, Plaintiff is “considerably”
limited and in constant pain. Id. at 12. He is
paranoid that Independent Riders members will retaliate
against him or his loved ones for Godina's and
Silva's convictions. Id. at 32, 36. He suffers
from anxiety because he knows that the RCSD will not protect
them. Id. He also has “bouts of severe
depression” from “contemplating a future in which
[he] will not be able to provide for [his] family or
[him]self, due to [his] injury.” Id. Because
Plaintiff is unable to “enjoy everyday activities,
” he has feelings of stress, frustration, and
on the foregoing, the Complaint raises three claims against
Defendants: (1) deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs (“Claim One”); (2) negligence (“Claim
Two”); and (3) intentional infliction of emotional
defense (“Claim Three”). Id. at 5,
31-32, 35-36. ...