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Clayton v. Smith

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 8, 2017

STEVEN SMITH, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Blaine Clayton (“Plaintiff) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (ECF No. 9.)

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiffs first amended complaint, filed August 14, 2017. (ECF No. 13.)

         I. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiffs complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 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)). While a plaintiffs 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).

         Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted). To survive screening, Plaintiffs 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.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California State Prison, Corcoran in Corcoran, California. The events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred at the Sierra Conservation Center (“SCC”). Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Dr. Steven Smith, a physician at SCC; (2) Dr. W. Savage, a physician at SCC; (3) Dr. Lor, DDS, a dentist at SCC; and (4) Dr. T. McDow, a supervising dentist at SCC.

         Plaintiff alleges as follows: On May 30, 2014, Plaintiff was incarcerated at SCC and assigned to Facility “C” Plant Operations Maintenance Shop. During work hours, Plaintiff was surrounded by a group of inmates whom targeted him for his refusal to engage in Security Threat Group (STG) activities. Immediately after the inmates surrounded the Plaintiff, they began a vicious attack upon Plaintiffs person. After he heard a loud thud in the area of the inmate's restroom, Supervisor R. Alessio left his desk and entered the hallway and found a group of inmates gathered near the inmate restroom. Mr. Alessio observed Plaintiffs face was red in color around his nose area. Mr. Alessio summoned co-worker P. Brown and requested that he take Plaintiff back into the shop.

         Out of fear of further attacks, Plaintiff began rummaging through a scrap metal cart in search of a proper piece of stock metal to fashion it into a weapon to defend himself. Mr. Brown observed Plaintiff having a weapon and called Correctional Officer G. Dean. Officer Dean subsequently summoned all available Facility “C” staff to respond to the Maintenance Shop. Responding Officer J. Overton observed that Plaintiff had small cuts on his right forearm and blood on his neck. Officer Overton placed Plaintiff in restraints and escorted him to the medical facility for evaluation and treatment.

         As result of the discovery of metal stock, Plaintiff was subsequently rehoused in the Administrative Segregation Unit (Ad-Seg) and issued a CDC 115, Serious Rules Violation Report, Log #05-14-C-034 for violation of California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Section 3006(a), Contraband, Possession of an Inmate Manufactured Weapon.

         Immediately upon placement in the Ad-Seg, and with great efforts at speaking due to injuries, Plaintiff reported to the on-duty nurse that he experienced problems speaking, he was bleeding within the mouth, he had problems breathing due to loss of support to the tongue, teeth were not aligned, suffered significant pain all as a result of the assault said group of inmates, and requested that emergency measures and/or care be taken for immediate surgery without any further delays. The nurse immediately contacted Dr. Krpan and reported Plaintiffs injuries. Dr. Krpan scheduled an x-ray on June 2, 2014, and ordered a pureed diet for five (5) days. Dr. Krpan did not initiate emergency care or order immediate surgery taking into account Plaintiffs serious injuries.

         The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, section 3350(a) provides that the “department shall only provide medical services for inmates which are based on medical necessity and supported by outcome data as effective medical care. In the absence of available outcome data for a specific case, treatment will be based on the judgment of the physician that the treatment is considered effective for the purpose intended and is supported by diagnostic information and consultations with appropriate specialists. Treatments for conditions, which might otherwise be excluded, may be allowed to section 3350.l(d).” California Code of Regulations Title 15, section 3350(b) (1) defines “medically necessary” as “health care services that are determined by the attending physician to be reasonable and necessary to protect life, prevent significant illness or disability, or alleviate severe pain, and are supported by health outcome data as being effective medical care.”

         On information and belief, a fractured jaw is best evaluated at a hospital, at the emergency department where it is more likely to have specialists (oral surgeons) on call to help evaluate and treat Plaintiff if necessary. The fact that Plaintiff suffered ...

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