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Rivera v. Relevante

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 4, 2018

RUBEN RIVERA, Plaintiff,
v.
C. RELEVANTE, Defendant.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN DISTRICT JUDGE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF ACTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 13) FOURTEEN-DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Ruben Rivera (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff initiated this action on December 5, 2017. (ECF No. 1.) On December 28, 2017, the then-assigned magistrate judge screened Plaintiff's complaint and granted him leave to amend. (ECF No. 12.) Plaintiff's first amended complaint, filed on January 16, 2018, is currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 13.)

         II. 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). Plaintiff's 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 plaintiff's 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).

         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, 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.

         A. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is confined at Kern Valley State Prison (“KVSP”), where the events in the complaint are alleged to have occurred. Plaintiff names C. Relevante, a physician's assistant at KVSP, as the sole defendant.

         Plaintiff asserts a violation of the Eighth Amendment for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges as follows:

I'm linking “Physician Assistant” C. Relevante to an affirmative act which caused me both physical and mental harm due to his “deliberate indifference” towards my serious medical need. On 2-6-17 C. Relevante performed an unsuccessfull [sic] surgical procedure on my head in an attempt to remove a 2-inch cyst. He was aware of the fact that prison does not have the equiptment [sic] necessary to perform the surgical procedure and that refferal [sic] to the hospital was necessary. He caused me uneccesary [sic] and wanton infliction of pain. Prior to the surgical procedure I advised C. Relevante to review my previous medical records which clearly state that the exact same surgical procedure had been unsuccessfully done to me at CCI back in 8-21-2013 but was unsuccessfull [sic] due to “too much bleeding” and lack of equiptment [sic]. However, C. Relevante conciously [sic] and maliciously insisted that referral to a hospital was not necessary and did the procedure himself putting my life at risk the surgical procedure once again turned out to be unsuccessfull [sic]. I was left with scars, physical pain, mental anguish and went through yet another unecessary [sic] recovery process due to the medical malpractice, my eighth amendment was violated.

(ECF No. 13 at 3-4.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, and possible revocation of Defendant Relevante's license.

         B. Discussion

         A prisoner's claim of inadequate medical care does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment unless the mistreatment rises to the level of “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). The two part test for deliberate indifference requires Plaintiff to show (1) “a ‘serious medical need' by demonstrating that failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the ‘unnecessary ...


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