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Flowers v. Cryer

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 12, 2017

RUBEN FLOWERS, Plaintiff,
v.
C. CRYER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF No. 12)

          MICHAEL J. SENG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 7, 2017, the Court screened Plaintiff's original complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend. (ECF No. 6.)

         Plaintiff's first amended complaint (“FAC”) is now before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 12.)

         I. Screening Requirement

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). A court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally “frivolous, malicious, ” or that fail to state a claim on 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 cour t 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).

         II. Pleading Standard

         Section 1983 “provides a cause of action for the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Section 1983 is not itself a source of substantive rights, but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 393-94 (1989).

         To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) That a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and (2) That the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Ketchum v. Alameda Cty., 811 F.2d 1243, 1245 (9th Cir. 1987).

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Detailed factual allegations are not required, but “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. Facial plausibility demands more than the mere possibility that a defendant committed misconduct and, while factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Id. at 677-78.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”). He complains of acts that occurred at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (“SATF”), California Correctional Institution (“CCI”), and SVSP. He names the following Defendants: (1) C. Cryer, Medical CEO at SATF; (2) M. Frite, Medical CEO at SATF; (3) M. Carrasquillo, R.N. at SATF; and (4) “et al.” All Defendants are sued in their individual capacities.

         The FAC does not set forth chronological facts. Rather, Plaintiff sets forth allegations against each Defendant separately. His allegations may be summarized essentially as follows:

         Plaintiff suffers from severe neck and back pain.

         As to Defendant Cryer, Plaintiff alleges Cryer was “well aware of [Plaintiff's] pain and suffering” given that Plaintiff had submitted a 602 appeal on March 20, 2016 seeking medical care. Plaintiff alleges, however, that Defendant Cryer did nothing to ensure that Plaintiff was provided with adequate medical care, “leaving him in severe pain.” As a result of Defendant Cryer's negligence, delay, and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need, the pain in Plaintiff's neck and back has worsened. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Cryer, “through his medical expertise and training, knew or should have known” that his delay in providing Plaintiff medical care would cause Plaintiff “serious harm.” As to Defendant Frite, Plaintiff alleges that, starting on March 20, 2016, Frite was aware that Plaintiff suffered from “severe pain.” Plaintiff alleges that Frite refused “to act upon [his] training” to prevent Plaintiff from suffering “irrepairable [sic] harm.” Plaintiff alleges he “continuously sought medical attention, ” but was turned away with “excuses.” Most of these excuses were budgetary in nature. Plaintiff alleges Frite was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need and that, as a result, Plaintiff now suffers from extreme pain in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.

         Finally, as to Defendant Carrasquillo, Plaintiff alleges Carrasquillo also “did nothing to treat or assist” Plaintiff. He alleges that Carrasquillo falsely claims to have interviewed him on two occasions, but that she did not provide him with treatment. Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights were violated as a result of Carrasquillo's negligence, delay, and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical need.

         Plaintiff claims violations of his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care, his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process, and his Fourteenth Amendment right to ...


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