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Oswald v. Haga

United States District Court, C.D. California, Eastern Division

May 7, 2018

LARRY GENE OSWALD, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFERY HAGA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DISMISSING FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

          DOUGLAS F. McCORMICK, United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2016, Larry Gene Oswald, Jr. (“Plaintiff”), a pretrial detainee at the West Valley Detention Center (“WVDC”) in Rancho Cucamonga, California, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Dkt. 1 (“Complaint”). The Complaint named Jeffery Haga, WVDC's Chief Medical Officer, as the sole defendant in both his individual and official capacity. See id. at 3. The Court granted Plaintiff's request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. See Dkt. 4. After he was served, see Dkt. 22, Dr. Haga moved to dismiss the Complaint. See Dkt. 26. Near the same time, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, which was essentially a proposed First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). See Dkt. 32. The Court granted Plaintiff's motion and accepted the proposed FAC as the operative complaint in the case. See Dkt. 33.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court must screen the FAC for purposes of determining whether the action is frivolous or malicious; or fails to state a claim on which relief might be granted; or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         II.

         ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS

         Plaintiff names as defendants: (1) Dr. Haga, in his individual and official capacity; (2) Dr. Wendalee Rivera Pacheco, in her individual and official capacity; (3) the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department; and (4) various John and Jane Does. See FAC at 3-4.

         According to the SAC, WVDC contracts with Arrowhead Medical Center in Colton, California to provide medical services to its inmates and detainees. See id. at 5.

         Plaintiff has Hepatitis C and “other medical issues” that Dr. Haga has been aware of since Plaintiff's booking at WVDC on July 15, 2014, because Plaintiff told a nurse about his “health issues” during intake. See id. On August 2, 2014, Plaintiff signed a form to release his medical records to WVDC medical staff and gave them information for both of his treating doctors. See id. On October 27, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Haga for lower back pain and sciatic pain. See id. Dr. Haga did not recommend X-Rays, CT Scans, or MRIs. See id.

         On March 23, 2015, Plaintiff's liver was swollen. See id. On April 3, 2015, a nurse told Plaintiff that Hepatitis C treatment was not available at WVDC. See id. at 6. On March 24, 2015, Plaintiff was seen by John Doe of the medical staff who stated he would tell Dr. Haga to refer Plaintiff to a G.I. specialist for possible Hepatitis C treatment. See id. The referral was made on April 16, 2015. See id. Dr. Haga denied the referral on April 21, 2015, despite knowing that Plaintiff suffered from chronic Hepatitis C. See id. Plaintiff notes that Dr. Haga requested and obtained blood reports showing that Plaintiff had Hepatitis C. See id.

         Dr. Pacheco has also treated Plaintiff during his detention and prescribed medication to him, but she never referred him for any therapy, X-Rays, or to a “back doctor” or neurologist. See id.

         Plaintiff also alleges that deputies were present in the exam room during Plaintiff's medical examinations, which violates “HEPA” and is embarrassing to Plaintiff. See id. at 7.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A complaint may be dismissed as a matter of law for failure to state a claim for two reasons: (1) lack of a cognizable legal theory; or (2) insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). In determining whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, its allegations of material fact must be taken as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Love v. United States, 915 F.2d 1242, 1245 (9th Cir. 1989). Since Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court must construe the allegations of the complaint liberally and must afford Plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. See Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988). However, “the liberal pleading standard . . . applies only to a plaintiff's factual allegations.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). ‘“[A] liberal interpretation of a ...


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