Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Vargas v. Prince

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 6, 2017

ANTHONY VARGAS
v.
JOHN C. PRINCE, ET AL.

          PRESENT: THE HONORABLE KAREN E. SCOTT. U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         PROCEEDINGS (IN CHAMBERS): Screening Order re Complaint (Dkt. 1)

         On October 14, 2017, Plaintiff Anthony Vargas ("Plaintiff) constructively filed a pro se verified civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (the "Complaint"). (Dkt. 1.) Plaintiff is in custody at the California Institution for Men in Chino, California. (Li at 2.) He seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this action. (Dkt. 2.) Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), the Court is required to screen the Complaint to determine whether the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A(b).

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS.

         The Complaint asserts claims against defendants John C. Prince, M.D., Noel T. Hul, M.D., and an unnamed "John Doe" ("Defendants"), each in their individual and official capacities. (Dkt. 1 at 4.) Plaintiff alleges that Drs. Prince and Hul are urologists at the Riverside County Regional Medical Center (the "Center"). (Id. at 5, 8.) Plaintiff asserts that "John Doe" is Chief of Urology at the Center. (Li at 11.) He claims that the Center "maintains contractual arrangements" with the California Institution for Men, and that each of Defendants "was employed by, or under contract with, the State of California" at all relevant times. (Id. at 4, 5.)[1]

         According to the Complaint, Plaintiff was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010. (Dkt. 1 at 6.) He elected radiation treatment, which he received from February to March 2012. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Drs. Prince and Hul told him that injections of the drug Lupron would be "added to the radiation treatments" and would be given once every six months for two years. (Li at 6, 9.) Plaintiff was told that Lupron would "lower his testosterone levels" to facilitate treatment. (Id. at 6, 9.) Plaintiff asserts that Drs. Prince and Hul "[a]t no time" informed him of the "adverse side effects of Lupron, " despite that fact that they are "well-known and well-documented." (Li at 5, 6, 9.)

         Plaintiff alleges that in July 2016, he noticed that he had developed "female breasts, " and in August 2016, was diagnosed with gynecomastia, i.e., enlarged male breasts. (Dkt. 1 at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that he continues to suffer from this condition, and will "ad infinitum." (Id.) He asserts that this outcome was a "direct result" of the Lupron injections, and that, had he been warned that of the risk of developing enlarged breasts, "his choice of medical treatment for prostate cancer would have been much different." (Id.) "If nothing else, " Plaintiff claims, he "would have adamantly refused the Lupron injections." (Id.) The Complaint further alleges that John Doe, as Chief of Urology, failed to "ensure adequate training and supervision of urologists" at the Center. (Id. at 11.)

         Based on these allegations, Plaintiff contends that Defendants' actions constitute deliberate indifference and cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Dkt. 1 at 7, 10, 12.) As to Drs. Prince and Hul, he also alleges "medical malpractice." (Id. at 7, 10.) Plaintiff seeks relief including (1) declaratory judgment; (2) compensatory damages of $250, 000 against each Defendant; and (3) punitive damage of $1, 750, 000 against each Defendant. (Id. at 13.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD.

         "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (citations omitted). A pro se complaint "must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). At the pleadings stage, "[t]he court 'accept[s] the plaintiffs' allegations as true and construe[s] them in the light most favorable to plaintiffs.'" Metzler Inv. GMBH v. Corinthian Colls.. Inc.. 540 F.3d 1049, 1061 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Gompper v. VISX, Inc.. 298 F.3d 893, 895 (9th Cir. 2002)). A pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless it is "absolutely clear" that the complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. Nordstrom v. Ryan. 762 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2014).

         III. DISCUSSION.

         A. "Under Color of State Law."

         "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff. . . must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). In West, the United States Supreme Court addressed whether a private physician under contract with a state to provide medical service to prison inmates acted under "color of state law" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. at 43. It concluded that where the state "employs physicians ... and defers to their professional judgment" in order to fulfill its obligation to provide medical care to its prison inmates, those physicians are "clothed with the authority of state law" and "may fairly be said to be a state actor." Id. at 55; see also Alexander v. Bay, 06-cv-8257-JVS (JEM), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74636, at *38 (CD. Cal. June 14, 2010) (citing West, 487 U.S. at 55) ("[I]t is only those physicians authorized by the State to whom the inmate may turn.").

         Here, Plaintiff claims that Defendants work at the Center. (Dkt. 1 at 4.) He further alleges that the Center maintains "contractual arrangements" with the California Institution for Men, and that each of the Defendants was "employed by" or "under contract with" California. (Id. at 4, 5.) Without determining the truth of these allegations, the Complaint asserts ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.