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Martinez v. McConnell

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 7, 2018

JOSE ANTONIO MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBIN MCCONNELL, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION THAT THIS CASE BE DISMISSED, WITH PREJUDICE, FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (ECF NO. 1) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS

         I. BACKGROUND

         Jose Antonio Martinez (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 12, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action by the filing of a Complaint alleging that he was denied timely treatment of a back injury in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         On March 26, 2018, the Court screened the Complaint and concluded that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (ECF No. 6). Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff failed to allege that any of the defendants knew he had a medical need and purposefully failed to treat him. Id.

         The screening order directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint or to notify the Court that he wishes to stand on the Complaint, subject to the issuance of findings and recommendations to the assigned district judge. Id. On April 23, 2018, Plaintiff notified the Court that he wishes to stand on the Complaint. (ECF No. 9).

         For the reasons described below, the Court recommends that this action be dismissed, with prejudice, for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff may file objections within twenty-one days of the date of service of these findings and recommendations.

         II. SCREENING REQUIREMENT

         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 upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that the action or appeal fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         A complaint is required to 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)). 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 state a viable claim, Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. The mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting this plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678- 79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         III. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is an inmate at Corcoran State Prison (“Corcoran”). He alleges that he has a serious medical condition, and the failure to treat that condition has caused him serious injury.

         Plaintiff had surgery on his right knee on November 30, 2016, to repair a torn meniscus. Plaintiff had complications with the healing process. Plaintiff alerted Defendant Robin McConnell about his knee pain. Plaintiff told her that his back had given out and that he had fallen more than once. Defendant McConnell responded that there was nothing wrong with Plaintiff's back and that his knee was fine. She then told Plaintiff that he was faking his symptoms. The surgeon who performed his surgery prescribed T#3[1] for pain, which Plaintiff did not get. Instead, Plaintiff got Motrin for pain. Defendant McConnell also put in a report that Plaintiff's issues with his back may be the source of his knee pain. She told Plaintiff, “As I said I think you are faking and that is that.” She also told Plaintiff that she would give him Magnetic Resonance Imaging (“MRI”) “to prove that he was faking symptoms.”

         Plaintiff had the MRI on September 18, 2017. It showed a re-torn meniscus and herniated disc in Plaintiff's back. This revealed that Plaintiff was correct about his injury for the 10 months before the MRI.

         Also, on August 31, 2017, Plaintiff told Defendant Nguyen that his lower back was hurting “really bad” and when he tries to straighten his legs, they go numb. Defendant Nguyen told Plaintiff there was nothing wrong with him, and to go back to his cell. About an hour or so later, his back and knee gave out, causing Plaintiff to fall and hurt himself.

         Defendant Clark gave Plaintiff a muscle relaxer because he thought Plaintiff had a severe muscle spasm, which later turned out to ...


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