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Simental v. Adams

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 11, 2017

RUDY SIMENTAL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY ADAMS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          MARIA-ELENA JAMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, a California state inmate, filed this pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On April 6, 2017, the Court reviewed his original complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend. Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint, which is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or “seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed, however. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal 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.” “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, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations omitted). Although in order to state a claim a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, . . . 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 1974.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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 the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Legal Claims

         In his amended complaint, plaintiff alleges that defendant prison officials and medical staff delayed in diagnosing and treating a cancerous tumor in his right leg. Even after he finally received surgery, plaintiff alleges, defendants failed to provide necessary pain relief and physical accommodations and failed to follow discharge orders from the outside hospitals that treated him. Plaintiff alleges that this deficient medical treatment began at Pelican Bay State Prison (“PBSP”), where we was incarcerated from 2013 to July 2015, and continued at California State Prison, Sacramento (“CSP-SAC”), where he was transferred in July 2015 so that he could be closer to his treatment facility.

         When liberally construed, the allegations state a cognizable claim for deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, as against the following defendants: Nancy Adam, Michael C. Sayre, Amanda Karanopoulos, Krystal Aubin, Jay Lian, J. Arriola, Heather McAlexander, Nipa Tran, I. Bal, D. Bodenhammer, J. Lewis, A. Richmond, Shaw, and Powers.

         The potential liability of defendants is under the Eighth Amendment, and is not under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. There is no constitutional right to a prison or jail administrative appeal or grievance system in California, and therefore no due process liability for failing to process or decide an inmate appeal properly. See Ramirez v. Galaza, 334 F.3d 850, 860 (9th Cir. 2003); Mann v. Adams, 855 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1988). It is alleged here, however, that by denying or improperly handling such appeals, defendants Bal, Sayre, Arriola, and Lewis denied medical care that plaintiff alleges was sorely needed. Thus, it is for the denial of medical care that these defendants may be held liable, not simply for denying administrative appeals.

         CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court ...


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