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Buckins v. McCoy

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 11, 2017

BRENDA MCCOY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE Re: Dkt. No. 11

          SUSAN ILLSTON United States District Judge

         Darrell Edward Buckins, Jr., formerly an inmate at the Glenn Dyer Jail in Alameda County and now an inmate at the San Francisco County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaining of conditions of confinement at the Glenn Dyer Jail. The court reviewed his complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend. His amended complaint is now before the court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.


         Buckins alleges the following in his amended complaint about responses to his medical needs at Glenn Dyer Jail during the period December 2014 through August 2015:

         In December 2014, Buckins submitted a medical request form complaining of pain in his abdominal area and “constant urination problems.” Docket No. 11 at 5. He eventually was seen by Dr. Brenda McCoy, a staff member at Corizon Health Services, Inc., the medical care provider for the jail. Lab tests were ordered.

         After not hearing the results of the lab tests and still being in pain, Buckins submitted another medical request form on January 28, 2015. Dr. McCoy and Debra Walker, a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), explained to Buckins that the lab tests were “negative to any abnormalities” and failed to treat him adequately. Id. at 6. In fact, the lab test results were abnormal, and the abnormal results “were obvious to any trained professional physician” and to an L.V.N. Id. at 5-6.

         Over the next six months, Buckins complained to the County through the grievance system and made requests for medical care regarding his increasing pain and dehydration. Id. at 6. He also complained to deputies about the quality of his medical care and they told him to stop complaining. Id. at 7.

         On May 8, 2015, Buckins passed a kidney stone and complained to medical staff of having blood in his urine, a burning sensation upon urination, and abdominal pain. Id. at 7-8. On May 11, 2015, Dr. McCoy ordered more lab tests of Buckins' urine. Id. at 8. The lab tests showed abnormal results. An ultrasound was done on May 19, 2015; the ultrasound report stated that Buckins' kidneys were “at the lower limits of normal in size” and had abnormal findings. Id.

         On May 27, 2015, Buckins was treated by Jeffrey Cooper, who was a physician's assistant or possibly a physician. See Id. at 3, 8. Mr. Cooper explained that Dr. McCoy was no longer Buckins' doctor. Some of Dr. McCoy's notes had been erased from the file on the computer. Mr. Cooper ordered antibiotics based on the lab results earlier ordered by Dr. McCoy.

         At some time before his August 20, 2015 release from Glenn Dyer Jail, Buckins was taken to Highland Hospital for a urology appointment. He was not seen by a doctor; instead, an x-ray was taken and he was returned to jail. Id. at 9. Buckins was never seen by a urologist while at Glen Dyer Jail.

         Buckins was “released” to the San Francisco County Jail on August 20, 2015, after spending a few days at Santa Rita Jail. Id. Buckins was interviewed at San Francisco County Jail, but someone at the Glenn Dyer Jail had not sent his medical records with full information about his kidney-related condition. The failure to inform San Francisco County Jail about Plaintiff's condition caused a delay in starting plaintiff's treatment. 9.

         Dr. McCoy refused to give adequately strong pain medication to address Buckins' kidney-related pain. Id. at 6.

         The amended complaint alleges claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and several state law claims. In addition to claims against Dr. McCoy, Mr. Cooper, and LVN Walker regarding their care for his kidney problems, Buckins asserts claims against several other defendants for their alleged shortcomings in the medical care for his kidney-related problems. Corizon Health, Inc., allegedly provided the medical and nursing care for inmates at the jail pursuant to contract with Alameda County. Dr. Harold Orr allegedly was an employee and/or agent of Corizon, and worked as the medical director of the County Jail. Dr. Maria Magat allegedly was an employee and/or agent of Corizon; she “was the site medical care director who supervised” and consulted with Dr. McCoy in the latter's care of Buckins. Id. at 3. Alameda County allegedly contracted with Corizon to provide the medical care for inmates at the county jail, and Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern was in charge of the jail. The allegations against these defendants are contained primarily at pages 10-13 of the amended complaint, although there are allegations throughout the amended complaint against these defendants attempting to tie them to Buckins' several claims.


         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Id. at § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under ...

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