United States District Court, E.D. California
ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested leave to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Plaintiff
alleges violations of his rights under the First, Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States
Constitution. ECF No. 1 at 4. Plaintiff is seeking
compensatory damages, punitive damages, and expungement of
false rules violation reports (RVRs). Id.
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required
by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). ECF No. 3. Accordingly, the
request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.
is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for
this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By
this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial
filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct
the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing
fee from plaintiff's trust account and forward it to the
Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated
for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding
month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust
account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate
agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in
plaintiff's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee
is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints
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
or malicious, ” that 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. §
“is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable
basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v.
Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984).
“[A] judge may dismiss [in forma pauperis] claims which
are ‘based on indisputably meritless legal
theories' or whose ‘factual contentions are clearly
baseless.'” Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d
639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S.
at 327), superseded by statute on other grounds as stated
in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir.
2000). The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional
claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and
factual basis. Id.
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, ' in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (alteration in
original) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (citations omitted). “[T]he
pleading must contain something more . . . than . . . a
statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a
legally cognizable right of action.” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright &
Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure
' 1216 (3d ed. 2004)).
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a
complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true
the allegations of the complaint in question, Hosp. Bldg.
Co. v. Trs. of Rex Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), as
well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's
favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421
complaint, plaintiff alleges medical deliberate indifference,
retaliation, denial of access to the courts, violation of the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and supervisor
liability against defendants Clark-Barlow, Lizarraga, Davis,
Cantu, Murphy, O'Connor, Moeckly, Green, Beasley,
Sepulveda, Sisneroz, Guzman, Ramm, Saechao, Ball, Lee, and
Collins. ECF No. 1 at 6-15.
Claims for Which a Response Will Be Required
Medical Deliberate Indifference
maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical
treatment, an inmate must show ‘deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs.'” Jett v.
Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). This
requires plaintiff to show (1) “a ‘serious
medical need' by demonstrating that ‘failure to
treat a prisoner's condition could result in further
significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain, '” and (2) “the defendant's
response to the need was deliberately indifferent.”
Id. (some internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting
McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059-60 (9th Cir.
indifference is established only where the defendant
subjectively “knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health and safety.”
Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir.
2004) (emphasis added) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted). Deliberate indifference can be established
“by showing (a) a purposeful act or failure to respond
to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need and (b)
harm caused by the indifference.” Jett, 439
F.3d at 1096 (citation omitted). Civil recklessness (failure
“to act in the face of an unjustifiably high risk of
harm that is either known or so obvious that it should be
known”) is insufficient to establish an Eighth
Amendment violation. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 836-37 & n.5 (1994) (citations omitted).
difference of opinion between an inmate and prison medical
personnel-or between medical professionals-regarding
appropriate medical diagnosis and treatment is not enough to
establish a deliberate indifference claim. Sanchez v.
Vild, 891 F.2d 240, 242 (9th Cir. 1989);
Toguchi, 391 F.3d at 1058. Additionally, “a
complaint that a physician has been negligent in diagnosing
or treating a medical condition does not state a valid claim
of medical mistreatment under the Eighth Amendment. Medical
malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely
because the victim is a prisoner.” Estelle,
429 U.S. at 106.
to plaintiff's complaint, defendant Nurse Practitioner
Clark-Barlow allegedly falsified information to disrupt
medical care plaintiff was receiving from another physician.
ECF No. 1 at 6. She also instigated the confiscation of
plaintiff's medication from his cell and plaintiff
subsequently did not have any medicine to alleviate his
severe pain while at Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP).
Id. at 6.
plaintiff has allegedly experienced severe and unnecessary
pain without medication. Id. Clark-Barlow allegedly
provided falsified information, which constituted a
purposeful act, and her act of indifference harmed plaintiff
and exacerbated his health. Id. As a nurse
practitioner, Clark-Barlow presumably knew, and then
disregarded, the risk to plaintiff's health and wellbeing
that would result if he was taken off his medication. Because
harm was caused by this purposeful act of indifference,
plaintiff has a viable claim against defendant Clark-Barlow
for medical deliberate indifference and she will be required
to respond to the claim.