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Lewis v. Ogbeuhi

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 3, 2017

ASAD LEWIS, Plaintiff,
I. OGBEUHI, Defendants.



         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         Plaintiff Asad Lewis (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. (ECF No. 5.) On January 17, 2017, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint with leave to amend. (ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on March 2, 2017, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 9.)

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); Id. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         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)). While a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, California. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred while he was incarcerated at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff names the following defendants in their individual and official capacities: (1) Nurse Practitioner I. Ogbeuhi; (2) Sergeant J. Benavides; (3) Chief Physician A. Ola; and (4) Licensed Vocational Nurse R. Hanson.

         Plaintiff alleges the following:

         On May 23, 2014, Plaintiff submitted a CDCR Form 1824 Reasonable Modification or Accommodation Request in order to mitigate his lower back pain. On the same date, Plaintiff complained to Defendant I. Ogbeuhi that he had been and was still suffering from severe lower back pain, and requested a back brace. Defendant acknowledged his suffering and sent him to therapy for lower back pain. However, even after Plaintiff completed therapy, Defendant I. Ogbeuhi refused to issue Plaintiff a back brace despite telling Plaintiff to complete therapy first. Defendant I. Ogbeuhi became upset and hostile to Plaintiff for requesting that Defendant issue a back brace to lessen lower back pain.

         Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff submitted another request for medical attention. Plaintiff was seen by Defendant I. Ogbeuhi, who was hostile when Plaintiff continued to complain of lower back and needing a back brace. Defendant I. Ogbeuhi stated, “We don't give back braces, what we do is give pills!” As Plaintiff tried to inform Defendant I. Ogbeuhi of his pain and need, Defendant I. Ogbeuhi exclaimed, “I don't do that!” Defendant I. Ogbeuhi eventually approved a back brace for Plaintiff, but never issued it.

         Approximately four months later, Defendant I. Ogbeuhi sent Defendant Benevides to Plaintiff's cell to collect the back brace that was never issued. Defendant Benevides pressured Plaintiff to produce a back brace and threatened to search Plaintiff's cell. Defendant Benevides then ordered Plaintiff to remain standing in the dayroom as he left for the medical office. Plaintiff stood with a cane for approximately 30 minutes until Defendant Benevides returned. Plaintiff then was escorted to the medical office where a back brace was issued.

         On September 29, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant R. Hanson issued a back brace at the order of Defendant I. Ogbeuhi. Defendant Hanson asked Plaintiff to sign a receipt. As Plaintiff signed, Defendant Hanson stated, “This is to prove we complied and accommodated you.” On September 30, 2014, Defendant Hanson ...

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