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Jefferson v. Katavich

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 22, 2017

J. KATAVICH, et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's third amended complaint filed November 8, 2017.[1]


         The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or 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 on which relief may be granted, ” or that “seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         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)). Moreover, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of Plaintiff's rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir.2002).

         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. Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012)(citations 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 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully” is not sufficient, and “facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability” falls short of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.


         Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) at Soledad State Prison. Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Dr. Johal who treated him at Wasco State Prison, where the conduct at issue occurred.

         Plaintiff alleges that on September 21, 2015, he was being examined by Dr. Johal who left the examination room door open while indiscreetly going over Plaintiff's medical records. (Third Am. Comp. (“TAC”) 3, [2] ECF No. 12.) In doing so, Dr. Johal exposed Plaintiff's diseases and disorders without regard to the other individuals and inmates who were outside the door. (TAC 3.) Dr. Johal called another medical staff member and a correctional officer into the examination room. (TAC 3-4.) Dr. Johal left the examination room door open and directed Plaintiff to expose his genital area and examined him, blurting out her findings. (TAC 4.)

         Plaintiff alleges that by continuously leaving the examination room door open, Dr. Johal deprived him of the same right to privacy that other inmates being examined at the same time at the same facility were provided. (TAC 4.) These other inmates were bestowed the privacy of having the examination room door closed with no other staff present. (TAC 4-5.) Plaintiff contends that he never made any threatening gestures or gave Dr. Johal any cause to warrant her treating him differently from other inmates who were being examined in the adjoining examination rooms. (TAC 5.)

         Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance and some of the individuals present were interviewed. (TAC 5.) However, registered nurse Bisby and correctional officer Marquez, who were summoned into the examination room, were not interviewed, and Plaintiff is sure that these interviews would establish that both of the staff members were not comfortable in partaking in Dr. Johal's actions. (TAC 5.)

         Plaintiff contends that by recklessly disclosing his personal history of diseases symptoms and conditions, Dr. Johal caused a serious risk to Plaintiff because he was housed with inmates who could continue to disclose his medical record and personal information among the prison population, potentially risking altercations due to his diseases. (TAC 6.) This was a CDCR Reception Center routine screening. (TAC 6.) Plaintiff did not request the examination and was not provided with the option of refusing the examination. (TAC 6.)


         A. Right to Privacy

         Plaintiff alleges that his right to medical privacy was violated when Dr. Johal did not close the door to his examination room and having other CDCR ...

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