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Valdivia v. Smith

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 19, 2017

JESSE VALDVIA, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
Dr. SMITH, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE (DOC. 16) ORDER DIRECTING CLERK'S OFFICE TO CLOSE CASE

          SHEILA K. OBERTO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         A. Background

         Plaintiff, Jesse Validvia, Jr., is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Despite having been previously provided with the pleading requirements and legal standards applicable to his claims, Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983. The First Amended Complaint is, therefore, DISMISSED with prejudice and this case is closed.

         B. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous or malicious, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         DISCUSSION

         A. The First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility (“CVMCCF”) in McFarland, California, but attempts to state claims based on medical care that he received while he was housed at North Kern State Prison in Delano California. Plaintiff names David Smith, M.D., Delano Regional Medical Center (“DRMC”), “Manufacture of Medical Device (pin), ” and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) as defendants in this action. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and permanent access to pain medication.

         Plaintiff's allegations in the First Amended Complaint have changed little from those in the original Complaint. Plaintiff complains of events that occurred following a surgical repair of a broken clavicle. On October 23, 2014, Plaintiff allegedly submitted to surgical repair by Dr. Smith at DRMC, for a “grade III A/C separated clavicle.” Plaintiff alleges that six days after the surgery, he was on his bunk when he heard a loud pop and felt excruciating pain. X-rays revealed that the pin Dr. Smith used to repair his clavicle had snapped in half. Plaintiff alleges that he returned to DRMC on November 19, 2014, where Dr. Smith performed another surgery.

         All went well until physical therapy began. The physical therapist allegedly thought it was too soon for Plaintiff to begin therapy, but nonetheless initiated it because Dr. Smith had ordered it. Two weeks into therapy, Plaintiff was riding the stationary bike when another loud pop occurred, followed by excruciating pain. X-rays revealed that the pin in Plaintiff's clavicle had snapped in half. Upon waking from the repair surgery, C/O Chavez (who escorted Plaintiff to his surgeries) told Plaintiff that Dr. Smith stated that “even if the sales rep comes 1000 times, he'll never buy that product again.”

         As discussed in greater detail below, these allegations do not state a cognizable claim against any of the Defendants upon which Plaintiff may proceed.

         1. CDCR

         The Eleventh Amendment prohibits federal courts from hearing suits brought against an un-consenting state. Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991); see also Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 1122 (1996); Puerto Rico Aqueduct Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 144 (1993); Austin v. State Indus. Ins. Sys., 939 F.2d 676, 677 (9th Cir. 1991). The Eleventh Amendment bars suits against state agencies as well as those where the state itself is named as a defendant. See Natural Resources Defense Council v. California Dep't of Tranp., 96 F.3d 420, 421 (9th Cir. 1996); Brooks v. Sulphur Springs Valley Elec. Co., 951 F.2d 1050, 1053 (9th Cir. 1991); Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (concluding that Nevada Department of Prisons was a state agency entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity); Mitchell v. Los Angeles Community College Dist., 861 F.2d 198, 201 (9th Cir. 1989). ''Though its language might suggest otherwise, the Eleventh Amendment has long been construed to extend to suits brought against a state by its own citizens, as well as by citizens of other states.'' Brooks, 951 F.2d at 1053 (citations omitted). ''The Eleventh Amendment's jurisdictional bar covers suits naming state agencies and ...


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