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Valdez v. Larranga

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 10, 2017

JOSE VALDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
LISA LARRANGA, et al., Defendants.

          SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NO. 1)

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Jose Valdez (“Plaintiff”), a former Stanislaus County Jail inmate, proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed a consent to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction on May 11, 2016. (ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff's complaint, filed on April 20, 2016, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 1.)

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         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); 28 U.S.C. § 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff's allegations concern events that transpired while he was detained in the Stanislaus County Jail. As defendants, Plaintiff names Lisa Larranaga, a Medical Program Manager, and Adam Christianson, Stanislaus County Sheriff. In summary, Plaintiff alleges that he involved in a fight on June 5, 2015, and was struck by a Rapid Containment Baton twice, once on the back of his left arm and once on his left thumb joint. Plaintiff contends that his left thumb joint was fractured and healed improperly. Plaintiff complains that he was denied necessary medical treatment for his injuries by various nurses, including LVN Lenette and LVN Francesca. As a result, Plaintiff filed a grievance, and was interviewed on September 11, 2015 by RN Nadaline Bergman. Nurse Bergman ordered an x-ray and prescribed physical therapy. Plaintiff was x-rayed on September 12, 2015, and received a response to his grievance on September 16, 2015. According to the response, the x-ray showed a healed fracture at the location of Plaintiff's concern, which had been missed in the first x-ray, but the grievance was denied.

         On September 20, 2015, Plaintiff appealed to Defendant Larranaga, the Medical Program Manager. Plaintiff received a denial of his grievance on November 9, 2015. In the interim, on October 7, 2015, Nurse Bergman took photos of Plaintiff's joint for referral to orthopaedic. On November 2, 2015, Nurse Bergman informed Plaintiff that orthopaedic was happy with how Plaintiff's joint had healed, but a third x-ray was taken on November 10, 2015. The x-ray technician informed Plaintiff that the broken hand had been missed.

         Plaintiff asserts claims for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs and excessive force in the use of the baton by Deputy Beard.

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim against the two named defendants in this action. As Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he will be given leave to amend his complaint to cure the identified deficiencies. To assist Plaintiff, he will be provided with the relevant pleading and legal standards that appear applicable to his claims.

         A. Supervisory Liability

         Plaintiff names Adam Christianson, Stanislaus County Sheriff, as a defendant in this action. However, Plaintiff has not alleged that Sheriff Christianson was personally involved in any constitutional deprivation. To the extent Plaintiff seeks to hold Sheriff Christianson (or any other defendant) liable based upon their supervisory positions, he may not do so. Liability may not be imposed on supervisory personnel for the actions or omissions of their subordinates under the theory of respondeat superior. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676-77; Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 ...


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