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Villegas v. C.C.H.C.S.

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 16, 2017

Luis Villegas, Plaintiff,
C.C.H.C.S., et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's original complaint (ECF No. 1) was stricken because it was submitted unsigned. (ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff complied with the Court's Order to file a signed complaint within thirty days. (ECF No. 7.) Plaintiff's October 23, 2017 complaint is before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 7.)

         I. Screening Requirement

         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by inmates seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “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).

         II. Pleading Standard

         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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Prisoners may bring § 1983 claims against individuals acting “under color of state law.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2)(B)(ii). Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). 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), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (“CSATF”), in Corcoran, California, where his claims arose. He brings this action against California Correctional Health Care Services (“CCHCS”); C. Cyer, CEO at CSATF; D. Roberts, a registered nurse at CSATF; J. Lewis, Deputy Director of CCHCS; John Does 1, 2, and 3, the doctors who examined Plaintiff at CSATF; and E. Madina, a correctional officer at CSATF.

         Plaintiff's allegations in the October 23, 2017 complaint (ECF No. 7) are summarized as follows:

         Five years before filing his complaint, Plaintiff was diagnosed with torn cartilage in his knee, a torn rotator cuff, and tendinitis in his shoulders, knees, and elbows. The symptoms from these conditions were not so bad as to interfere with Plaintiff's daily life, but they are not self-correcting (and apparently they are progressively worsening), so on January 3, 2017, Plaintiff sought follow up treatment.

         During this follow up, Plaintiff was given only a cursory examination and rudimentary treatment. Medical staff did not review medical records or reports of his prior rotator cuff surgery. They denied his request for MRI of his shoulder, knees, and elbows. These medical problems have now worsened to the point that Plaintiff is in constant pain and surgery is the only solution Additionally, because he filed a grievance about his medical treatment, he was retaliated against by being moved to a top bunk. When he refused to move, prison staff issued a rules violation report (“RVR”).

         Plaintiff asserts three claims:

(1) “Cruel and unusual punishment, medical malpractice, equal protection, due process of law” (ECF No. 7 at 4);
(2) Retaliation for being moved to a top bunk after he filed a medical grievance and then being issued an RVR when he refused to move (Id. at 5-6); and
(3) Medical Malpractice or deliberate indifference to a serious medical need (Id. at 7).

         IV. Discussion

         A. ...

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