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Stevens v. Beard

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 2, 2018

LYRALISA LAVENA STEVENS, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS THE COMPLAINT [ECF NO. 23]

         Plaintiff Lyralisa Lavena Stevens is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss, filed January 11, 2018.

         I. RELEVANT HISTORY

         This action is proceeding against Defendants Jeffrey Beard, Christopher Podratz, Godwin Ugwueze, John Choy, Kim Cornish, Clarence Cryer, Felix Igbinosa, Anthony Enenmoh, Trachelle Hurtado, Renee Kanan, Jeffrey Carrick, Scott Kernan, J. Lewis, and R. Coffin for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need for failure to provide transgender surgery.

         As previously stated, on January 11, 2018, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, along with a separate request for judicial notice. (ECF Nos. 23, 24.) Plaintiff did not file an opposition and the time to do so has expired. Therefore, Defendants' motion is deemed submitted for review without oral argument. Local Rule 230(1).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss, based on res judicata grounds, is properly made under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Gupta v. Thai Airways Intern., Ltd., 487 F.3d 759, 763 (9th Cir. 2007). However, the court applies California law on claim preclusion to cases brought in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “Congress has specifically required all federal courts to give preclusive effect to state-court judgments whenever the courts of the State from which the judgments emerged would do so.” Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 96 (1980).

         A motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a claim, and dismissal is proper if there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1241-42 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks and citations omitted). In resolving a 12(b)(6) motion, a court's review is generally limited to the operative pleading. Daniels-Hall v. National Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010); Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007); Schneider v. California Dept. of Corr., 151 F.3d 1194, 1197 n.1 (9th Cir. 1998).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (quotation marks omitted); Conservation Force, 646 F.3d at 1242; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The Court must accept the factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Daniels-Hall, 629 F.3d at 998; Sanders, 504 F.3d at 910; Morales v. City of Los Angeles, 214 F.3d 1151, 1153 (9th Cir. 2000).

         Pro se litigants 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); Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012); Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1101 (9th Cir. 2011); Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff is a male-to-female transgender inmate who alleges and contends that she was denied sex-reassignment surgery in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Plaintiff has repeatedly received recommendations for sexual reassignment surgery from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) doctors, psychologists, and state appointed specialists. In spite of such recommendations, between 2007 and 2016 the Defendants have repeatedly created dilatory hormonal therapy programs that provide only hormones without the medically necessary surgery.

         Plaintiff contends that her doctors warned Defendants that her brain tumor will return if she does not receive sex-reassignment surgery.

         On October 3, 2016, Defendant Dr. Carrick (Deputy Medical Executive of Utilization Management at California Correctional Health Care Services) sent Defendants Podratz, Ugwueze, Choy, Cornish, Cryer, Igbinosa, Enenmoh, Hurtado, and Kanan, the Headquarters Utilization Management Committee determination letter which denied Plaintiff's request for sex-reassignment surgery because her current treatment for gender dysphoria provided significant relief and were adequate to treat her condition.

         B. Request for Judicial Notice

         Defendants request the Court take judicial notice of the following records and documents:

1. Stevens v. Cate, No. 2:12-cv-0239 KJN P (E.D. Cal.), Amended Complaint, April 6, 2012, ECF No. 10 (Defs.' Ex. A);
2. In re Lyralisa Lavena Stevens, California Court of Appeals First Appellate District Division Two, No. A126466, Order, September 21, 2011 (Defs.' Ex. B);
3. In re Lyralisa Lavena Stevens, Supreme Court of California, No. S196925, Order, December 14, 2011 ...

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