United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITH LEAVE TO AMEND
MARIA-ELENA JAMES United States Magistrate Judge
an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”)
in Soledad, California, filed this pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court
dismissed his complaint with leave to amend. Dkt. No. 6. His
amended complaint (Dkt. No. 9) is now before the Court for
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Standard of Review
federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any
case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court
must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims
which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings
must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need
only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . .
. claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'”
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)
(citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to
provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment]
to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and
a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and
(2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under
the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
complaint makes the following allegations.
8, 2011, named defendant Dr. Thomas Zewart performed an
arthroscopic meniscectomy on Plaintiff's right medial
meniscus which failed because it was “not adequately
performed at the prevailing medical standards” because
Dr. Zewart was hampered by economic restrictions. Dkt. No. 9
at 8, 10.
February 4, 2015, named defendant Dr. Marshall Lewis
performed a second arthroscopic meniscectomy on
Plaintiff's right medial meniscus, “which was done
below the professional norm” because Dr. Lewis was
hampered by economic restrictions. Dkt. No. 9 at 8, 10. The
failure to adequately perform this second arthroscopic
meniscectomy exacerbated Plaintiff's pain and suffering.
20, 2015, named defendant Dr. Tuvera met with Plaintiff in
response to his complaint of severe pain in his right knee
which Plaintiff attributed to his failed February 2015
arthroscopic meniscectomy. Dkt. No. 9 at 17-18. Despite
Plaintiff's complaints, Dr. Tuvera never examined
Plaintiff's right knee; declared that Plaintiff was not
in pain; and denied Plaintiff further healthcare.
26, 2015, Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding Dr.
Tuvera's failure to treat him on May 20, 2015, which was
assigned the number HC-15-05392. Dkt. No. 9 at 18. Dr. Tuvera
denied Plaintiff's grievance to cover up his negligence.
Id. Named defendant Dr. Gamboa contributed to
Plaintiff's pain and suffering by affirming Dr.
Tuvera's denial. Id. Named defendant Dr. Kumar
intentionally contributed to the denial of adequate medical
care by affirming Dr. Tuvera and Dr. Gamboa's denial of
Plaintiff's grievance, in violation of Plaintiff's
due process rights. Id. Named defendant J. Lewis
contributed to the denial of adequate medical care and pain
management by affirming Dr. Tuvera's, Dr. Gamboa's,
and Dr. Kumar's denial of Plaintiff's grievance, in
violation of Plaintiff's due process rights.
also alleges generally that defendants Bourne, Birdsong, Law
San Fu, Lott, Tuvera, Gamboa, and Kumar failed to provide
Plaintiff with adequate medical care and were deliberately
indifferent. Dkt. No. 9 at 8-9. Plaintiff further alleges
that, as Deputy Director of Policy and Risk Management,
Defendant J. Lewis is required to properly execute prison
regulations, and Deputy Director Lewis failed to properly
execute prison regulations, thereby denying Plaintiff
adequate health care and pain management. Id. at 9.
Plaintiff also alleges that he, and other prisoners, receive
medical care that is lesser in quality than the medical care
received by non-inmates. Id. at 10-11, 15.
also names the following correctional officials as
defendants: CDCR Secretary of Operations J.A. Beard; Steven
Kernan; J. Solis; SVSP Warden and SVSP Medical Committee
member R.T.C. Grounds; SVSP Warden and SVSP Medical Committee
member W. L. Muniz; and Does 1-50. Dkt. No. 9 at 9. Plaintiff
alleges that defendants Grounds, Muniz and Beard are
responsible for enforcing prison regulations and ensuring
that prison employees adhere to prison regulations.
Id. at 9.
Defendants Beard, Grounds, and Muniz
respect to named defendants SVSP Warden Grounds, SVSP Warden
Muniz, and CDCR Secretary Beard, Plaintiff's claim
against these defendants fails for the same reason as noted
in the initial screening order. In the initial screening
order, the claims against SVSP Warden Grounds, SVSP Warden
Muniz, and CDCR Secretary Beard were dismissed because
Plaintiff sought to hold them liable under a theory of
supervisory liability. Dkt. No. 6 at 6-7.
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that SVSP Warden
Grounds, SVSP Warden Muniz, and CDCR Secretary Beard are
liable under § 1983 for the following reasons: (1) SVSP
Warden Grounds, SVSP Warden Muniz, and CDCR Secretary Beard
are responsible for enforcing prison regulations and ensuring
that prison employees adhere to prison regulations, and that
their failure to do so resulted in inadequate medical care,
Dkt. No. 9 at 9; (2) as members of SVSP's Medical
Committee, SVSP Warden Grounds and SVSP Warden Muniz review
medical decisions and have “final say on health care
policy, procedure, practice, and the authorization of
treatment, ” and, in this context, contributed to the
inadequate medical care received by Plaintiff, id.
at 12; and (3) SVSP Warden Grounds, SVSP Warden Muniz, and
CDCR Secretary Beard creating a grievance system that does
not provide a remedy, in violation of the Fourteenth
Amendment, when they received grievances and letters from
Plaintiff and from the Prison Law Office, but returned these
grievances to the SVSP medical personnel named in the
grievances and letters without instructing the named SVSP
medical personnel how to address Plaintiff's concerns.
Plaintiff's first two arguments seek to again hold SVSP
Warden Grounds, SVSP Warden Muniz, and CDCR Secretary Beard
liable in their capacity as supervisors and therefore do not
state § 1983 liability. See Taylor v. List, 880
F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989) (holding that there is no
respondeat superior liability under § 1983). Knowledge
and acquiescence of a subordinate's misconduct is
insufficient to establish liability; each government official
is only liable for his or her own misconduct. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009). However, as
discussed in the earlier screening order, a supervisor may be
liable for a subordinate's actions in certain specific
circumstances. To state a claim for relief under §1983
based on a theory of supervisory liability, Plaintiff must
allege some facts that would support a claim that (1) each of
these supervisory defendants proximately caused the
deprivation of rights of which Plaintiff complains, see
Harris v. City of Roseburg, 664 F.2d 1121, 1125 (9th
Cir. 1981); or (2) each of these supervisory defendants
failed to properly train or supervise personnel resulting in
the alleged deprivation, Ybarra v. Reno Thunderbird
Mobile Home Village, 723 F.2d 675, 680 (9th Cir. 1984);
(3) the alleged deprivation resulted from custom or policy
for which each of the supervisory defendants was responsible,
see id.; or (4) each of the supervisory defendants
knew of the alleged ...