United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IFP AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH
LEAVE TO AMEND PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. § 1915A
F. BRENNAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state prisoner proceeding without counsel in an action
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, has filed an application
to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court
directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and
forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee
as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).
Screening Requirement and Standards
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The court must identify cognizable claims or
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id. § 1915A(b).
se plaintiff, like other litigants, must satisfy the pleading
requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 8(a)(2) “requires a complaint to
include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554, 562-563 (2007) (citing
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). While the
complaint must comply with the “short and plaint
statement” requirements of Rule 8, its allegations must
also include the specificity required by Twombly and
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim a complaint must
contain more than “naked assertions, ”
“labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557. In other words,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
a claim upon which the court can grant relief must have
facial plausibility. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
When considering whether a complaint states a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the court must accept the
allegations as true, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89
(2007), and construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, see Scheuer v. Rhodes,
416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).
a prisoner at the California Health Care Facility, alleges he
was inadvertently overmedicated for 30 days. Dr. Maan
allegedly prescribed plaintiff a psychiatric medication
called sertraline and allowed plaintiff to keep it on his
person and take it every morning. At the same time, plaintiff
was getting the same medication through the morning pill
cart. According to plaintiff, Dr. Maan's negligence
caused him to be overmedicated and posed a risk to his health
as a diabetic inmate with liver issues. See ECF No.
1, § IV.
characterizes his claim as sounding in negligence, but
negligence will not support a cause of action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. In order to state a claim under §
1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the violation of a federal
constitutional or statutory right; and (2) that the violation
was committed by a person acting under the color of state
law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir.
2002). Even if the court construes plaintiff's
allegations as an Eighth Amendment claim, the defendant's
actions do not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation. To succeed on an Eighth Amendment claim predicated
on the denial of medical care, a plaintiff must establish
that he had a serious medical need and that the
defendant's response to that need was deliberately
indifferent. Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096
(9th Cir. 2006); see also Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976). To act with deliberate indifference, a
prison official must both be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, and he must also draw the inference. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). Here, the
allegations do not show that Dr. Maan knowingly caused
plaintiff to be overmedicated, or that he disregarded that
risk by failing to take corrective measures. It is important
to differentiate common law negligence claims of malpractice
from claims predicated on violations of the Eight
Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
In asserting the latter, “[m]ere ‘indifference,
' ‘negligence, ' or ‘medical
malpractice' will not support this cause of
action.” Broughton v. Cutter Laboratories, 622
F.2d 458, 460 (9th Cir. 1980) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-106 (1976); see also
Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004).
Leave to Amend
may choose to file an amended complaint which states a
cognizable claim. Any amended complaint must identify as a
defendant only persons who personally participated in a
substantial way in depriving him of a federal constitutional
right. Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir.
1978) (a person subjects another to the deprivation of a
constitutional right if he does an act, participates ...