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Catchings v. Lewis

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 2, 2017

DENNIS DALE CATCHINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
J. LEWIS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF C.C.H.C.S., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          SUZANNE H. SEGAL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I.

         INTRODUCTION

         On May 2, 2017, Dennis Dale Catchings (“Plaintiff”), a California state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint alleging violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and 42 U.S.C. § 2000. (Complaint (“Compl.”), Dkt. No. 1).

         Congress mandates that district courts perform an initial screening of complaints in civil actions where a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). This Court may dismiss such a complaint, or any portion thereof, before service of process if the complaint (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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1-2); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 & n.7 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). For the reasons stated below, the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend.[1]

         II.

         ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff sues J. Lewis (“Defendant”), Deputy Director of Policy and Risk Management Services for California Correctional Health Care Services (“CCHCS”) in both his individual and official capacities. (Compl. At 3).[2]

         The substantive allegations of the Complaint allege that, as an inmate “in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, ” Plaintiff filed an ADA Reasonable Modification or Accommodation Request for a “walking cane, back brace, mattress supporter, mobility impaired vest, and a lower tier chrono [sic] to no avail.” (Id. at 6). The Complaint further states that Defendant denied Plaintiff's third level appeal. (Id.).

         Attachments to the Complaint provide further detail regarding Plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff was at all relevant times an inmate at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County (“CSP-LAC”). (Id. at 11). Plaintiff's initial Reasonable Accommodation Request, dated September 13, 2016, stated that he had “a physical disability due to lower back pain” and was “having difficulty walking distances, climbing stairs/sitting and laying down.” (Id.). On September 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed an appeal, stating that the prison denied his accommodation request “without having [him] examined by a doctor, discriminating against [him].” (Id. at 10).

         On February 15, 2017, Defendant, on behalf of CCHCS, denied Plaintiff's third level appeal because there was “no documentation that [Plaintiff's] primary care provider determined [that there was] a medical necessity for a lower tier [sic], mattress supporter, mobility vest, back brace and walking cane.” (Id. at 8). Defendant also wrote that on October 24, 2016, Plaintiff attended a follow-up primary care physician evaluation and received an x-ray showing mild degenerative changes of the lumbar spine, noting that there was a plan of care in place that Plaintiff's doctor had discussed with him. (Id.).

         Plaintiff seeks $10, 000 in compensatory damages for “pain and suffering” and injunctive relief ordering CCHCS to accommodate his request for the following “medical necessities: (1) [a] walking cane, (2) [a] back brace. (3) [a] mattress, (4) [a] mobility impaired vest, [and] (5) [a] lower tier chrono.” (Id. at 7).

         III.

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