United States District Court, E.D. California
M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to
Magistrate Judge jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(c) and no other party has been served or appeared in the
action. Pending before the court is plaintiff's complaint
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.
complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant Ramirez ignored
his request to be allowed to go to the medical clinic to get
a new oxygen tank when his ran out. He alleges he had to bang
on the yard door to get another officer to allow him out to
the clinic, which delayed getting his oxygen tank refill for
10 to 15 minutes. He further alleges that he reported this
incident to Ramirez's supervisor, defendant Seali, who
never addressed his complaint.
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
plaintiff alleges he was delayed in getting to the clinic for
10 to 15 minutes. He states his oxygen tank was registering
empty, and he needed a new tank. However, there is no
indication that a slight delay in obtaining a new tank was a
significant risk to plaintiff's immediate health.
Plaintiff fails to set forth sufficient facts to state a
claim, such as the reason the oxygen is necessary and what
happens if he goes without oxygen for a short amount of time.
The court finds there is simply not enough facts alleged to
find plaintiff has stated a claim against defendant Ramirez.
Plaintiff will be provided an opportunity to file an amended
complaint in order try to cure the defects in his claim.
defendant Seali, the only allegation is that defendant Seali
failed to act upon plaintiff's complaint about
Ramirez's behavior. There is no indication that defendant
Seali was involved in the incident at all.
personnel are generally not liable under § 1983 for the
actions of their employees. See Taylor v. List, 880
F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (holding that there is no
respondeat superior liability under § 1983). A
supervisor is only liable for the constitutional violations
of subordinates if the supervisor participated in or directed
the violations. See id. The Supreme Court has
rejected the notion that a supervisory defendant can be
liable based on knowledge and acquiescence in a
subordinate's unconstitutional conduct because government
officials, regardless of their title, can only be held liable
under § 1983 for his or her own conduct and not the
conduct of others. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 676 (2009). Supervisory personnel who implement a policy
so deficient that the policy itself is a repudiation of
constitutional rights and the moving force behind a
constitutional violation may, however, be liable even where
such personnel do not overtly participate in the offensive
act. See Redman v. Cnty of San Diego, 942 F.2d 1435,
1446 (9th Cir. 1991) (en banc).
defendant holds a supervisory position, the causal link
between such defendant and the claimed constitutional
violation must be specifically alleged. See Fayle v.
Stapley, 607 F.2d 858, 862 (9th Cir. 1979); Mosher
v. Saalfeld, 589 F.2d 438, 441 (9th Cir. 1978). Vague
and conclusory allegations concerning the involvement of
supervisory personnel in civil rights violations are not
sufficient. See Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d
266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). “[A] plaintiff must plead
that each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has violated the
constitution.” Iqbal, 662 U.S. at 676.
there are no allegations to indicate defendant Seali was
personally involved, defendant Seali ...