United States District Court, E.D. California
M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is
plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 11). Plaintiff's
original complaint was dismissed, with leave to amend, for
failure to state a claim due to vague allegations.
plaintiff was previously informed, the court is required to
screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against
a governmental entity or officer or employee of a
governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it:
(1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Moreover, the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This means that claims must be stated
simply, concisely, and directly. See McHenry v.
Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) (referring to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are satisfied if the
complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the
plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests.
See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th Cir.
1996). Because plaintiff must allege with at least some
degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants
which support the claims, vague and conclusory allegations
fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is impossible
for the court to conduct the screening required by law when
the allegations are vague and conclusory.
amended complaint expounds some upon the allegations set
forth in his original complaint. The basic claim remains the
same, that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by the
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for
failure to provide sex offender treatment while he was
incarcerated. In his amended complaint, he alleges he sought
treatment from staff at Avenal State Prison, including Dr.
Smith, but was denied as no such programs existed. He has
named as defendants the California Department of Corrections,
the Warden of Avenal State Prison, the Director of the
Department of Corrections, and Dr. Smith.
plaintiff was informed that the treatment a prisoner receives
in prison and the conditions under which the prisoner is
confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment,
which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. See Helling
v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993); Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Eighth Amendment
“embodies broad and idealistic concepts of dignity,
civilized standards, humanity, and decency.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976).
Conditions of confinement may, however, be harsh and
restrictive. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
347 (1981). Nonetheless, prison officials must provide
prisoners with “food, clothing, shelter, sanitation,
medical care, and personal safety.” Toussaint v.
McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1107 (9th Cir. 1986). A prison
official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two
requirements are met: (1) objectively, the official's act
or omission must be so serious such that it results in the
denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities; and (2) subjectively, the prison official must
have acted unnecessarily and wantonly for the purpose of
inflicting harm. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Thus,
to violate the Eighth Amendment, a prison official must have
a “sufficiently culpable mind.” See id.
indifference to a prisoner's serious illness or injury,
or risks of serious injury or illness, gives rise to a claim
under the Eighth Amendment. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at
105; see also Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. This applies
to physical as well as dental and mental health needs.
See Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1253 (9th Cir.
1982). An injury or illness is sufficiently serious if the
failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in
further significant injury or the “. . . unnecessary
and wanton infliction of pain.” McGuckin v.
Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992); see also
Doty v. County of Lassen, 37 F.3d 540, 546 (9th Cir.
1994). Factors indicating seriousness are: (1) whether a
reasonable doctor would think that the condition is worthy of
comment; (2) whether the condition significantly impacts the
prisoner's daily activities; and (3) whether the
condition is chronic and accompanied by substantial pain.
See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131-32 (9th Cir.
2000) (en banc).
requirement of deliberate indifference is less stringent in
medical needs cases than in other Eighth Amendment contexts
because the responsibility to provide inmates with medical
care does not generally conflict with competing penological
concerns. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060. Thus,
deference need not be given to the judgment of prison
officials as to decisions concerning medical needs. See
Hunt v. Dental Dep't, 865 F.2d 198, 200 (9th Cir.
1989). The complete denial of medical attention may
constitute deliberate indifference. See Toussaint v.
McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1111 (9th Cir. 1986). Delay in
providing medical treatment, or interference with medical
treatment, may also constitute deliberate indifference.
See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131. Where delay is alleged,
however, the prisoner must also demonstrate that the delay
led to further injury. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at
in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not,
however, give rise to a claim under the Eighth Amendment.
See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. Moreover, a difference
of opinion between the prisoner and medical providers
concerning the appropriate course of treatment does not give
rise to an Eighth Amendment claim. See Jackson v.
McIntosh, 90 F.3d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1996).
plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to provide him sex
offender treatment. He claims he sought sex offender
treatment, but was told no such treatment was offered despite
offering psychological treatment to every other psychological
disorder. However, he fails to allege he suffered from a
psychological disorder necessitating treatment. It appears he
was convicted of some type of sex crime, but a conviction
does not equate to a psychological disorder. Without a
diagnosis of a psychological disorder, there can be no
showing that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's medical needs. Only failure to treat an
illness that is sufficiently serious can give rise to a claim
under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff fails to allege he
suffered from any serious mental illness requiring treatment.
it is possible that the deficiencies identified in this order
may be cured by amending the complaint, plaintiff will be
provided one more opportunity to file an amend complaint
prior to the dismissal of the entire action. See Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en
banc). Plaintiff is informed that, as a general rule, an
amended complaint supersedes the original complaint. See
Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th Cir. 1992).
Thus, following dismissal with leave to amend, all claims and
defendants alleged in the original complaint which are not
alleged in the amended complaint are waived. See King v.
Atiyeh, 814 F.2d 565, 567 (9th Cir. 1987). Therefore, if
plaintiff amends the complaint, the court cannot refer to the
prior pleading in order to make plaintiffs amended complaint
complete. See Local Rule 220. An amended complaint
must be complete in itself without reference to any prior
pleading. See id.
plaintiff chooses to amend the complaint, plaintiff must
demonstrate how the conditions complained of have resulted in
a deprivation of plaintiff s constitutional rights. See
Ellis v. Cassidy, 625 F.2d 227 (9th Cir. 1980). The
complaint must allege in specific terms how each named
defendant is involved, and must set forth some affirmative
link or connection between each defendant's actions and
the claimed ...