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Dixon v. State

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 25, 2017

PAUL DIXON, Plaintiff,
v.
THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, DEPARTMENT OF STATE HOSPITALS, et al., Defendants.

         SCREENING ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, AND FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, FOR THE FAILURE TO STATE A COGNIZABLE CLAIM FOR RELIEF (ECF NOS. 1, 14) ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS REQUESTING APPOINTED COUNSEL (ECF NOS. 2, 6) ORDER DENYING MOTION TO REQUEST SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT, AS PREMATURE (ECF NO. 8)

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Paul Dixon is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge. (ECF No. 13); Local Rule 302.

         I. Relevant Background

         On March 8, 2017, Plaintiff initiated this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. (ECF No. 1.)

         On March 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting the Court consider granting him appointed counsel. (ECF No. 2.) On April 17, 2017, Plaintiff filed a second motion requesting the Court consider granting him appointed counsel. (ECF No. 6.)

         On April 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting the United States Marshal be ordered to serve the complaint and summons. (ECF No. 8.)

         On June 23, 2017, the District Court for the Northern District of California found that certain of Plaintiff's allegations challenged the conditions of confinement at Coalinga State Hospital. Thus, those allegations and Plaintiff's above-described pending motions were transferred to this Court. (ECF No. 11.)

         On July 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint in this action, (ECF No. 14), before the Court could screen Plaintiff's original complaint. Plaintiff's first amended complaint contains no allegations concerning the conditions of confinement at Coalinga State Hospital, which were the only allegations transferred to this Court in this action.

         In the interests of justice, the Court will now screen Plaintiff's original complaint allegations, and disregard the first amended complaint. The Court will also address Plaintiff's pending motions further below.

         II. Screening Requirement and Standard

         “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court 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).

         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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). The pleadings of detainees are construed liberally and are afforded the benefit of any doubt. Blaisdell v. Frappiea, 729 F.3d 1237, 1241 (9th Cir. 2013); 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), and “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)). Also, while a plaintiff's allegations are taken as true, 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).

         To survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. United States Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations[1]

         Plaintiff is currently detained at Coalinga State Hospital, where the events at issue occurred. Plaintiff names Coalinga State Hospital and Brandon Price, the Executive Director, as defendants.

         In pertinent part, Plaintiff alleges as follows: Plaintiff was prescribed medicine by Dr. Jarome Hamrick, a resident physician at Coalinga State Hospital. These include Tylenol for headaches and vitamins, and the prescription was written in September 2008. Dr. Hamrick informed Plaintiff ...


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