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Martinez v. Toor

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 22, 2017

Dr. TOOR, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff apparently seeks to proceed in this action on claims of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. However, because he fails to state a cognizable claim, the Complaint is DISMISSED with leave to amend.

         A. 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). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally frivolous, malicious, 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); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).

         B. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges that, on March 6, 2015, he was seen by Dr. Ghotra. At that time, he told her that his left top tooth had been hurting for two weeks. (Doc. 1, p. 3.) Dr. Ghotra took x-rays and told Plaintiff nothing was wrong and that the pain would go away. (Id.) Plaintiff saw Dr. Luga about a month later, on April 7, 2015, and Dr. Luga told him that Dr. Ghotra misread the x-rays and that he needed a root canal or the tooth pulled. (Id.) Dr. Luga gave Plaintiff prescribed amoxicillin and clindamycin, which were too potent and killed the good bacteria in Plaintiff's stomach. (Id.) Plaintiff “had to advocate” for himself as Dr. Toor (his primary care physician “PCP”) ignored him. (Id.) Five months later, on September 7, 2015, Plaintiff was diagnosed with clostridium difficile (“C.Diff”). (Id., p. 8.) Plaintiff thereafter lists various of his medical records which reflect or lack notation of his allergies to omeprazole, sulfa, and trimethoprim which were apparently, initially noted by Plaintiff's previous PCP back in 2014. (Id.)

         It appears that Plaintiff intends to allege that Dr. Toor, Dr. Ghotra, and Dr. Luga were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. However, at most, his allegations may amount to medical negligence, which as discussed below is not actionable under § 1983. Thus, Plaintiff is provided the pleading requirements, the legal standards for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, and leave to file a first amended complaint.

         C. Pleading Requirements

         1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)

         “Rule 8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil actions, with limited exceptions, ” none of which applies to section 1983 actions. Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002); Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief . . . .” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 8(a). “Such a statement must simply give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512.

         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), quoting 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 that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Factual allegations are accepted as true, but legal conclusions are not. Iqbal. at 678; see also Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-557.

         While “plaintiffs [now] face a higher burden of pleadings facts . . ., ” Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d 949, 977 (9th Cir. 2009), the pleadings of pro se prisoners are still construed liberally and are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations, ” Neitze v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989), “a liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not initially pled, ” Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) quoting Ivey v. Bd. of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982), and courts are not required to indulge unwarranted inferences, Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677, 681 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” fall short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         If he chooses to file a first amended complaint, Plaintiff should make it as concise as possible. He should simply state which of his constitutional rights he feels were violated by each Defendant and its factual basis. The amended complaint should be clearly legible (see Local Rule 130(b)), and double-spaced pursuant to Local Rule 130(c).

         2. ...

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