United States District Court, C.D. California
PRESENT: THE HONORABLE KAREN E. SCOTT. U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
(IN CHAMBERS): Screening Order re Complaint (Dkt. 1)
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).
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.
"Under Color of State Law."
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
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 ...