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Hagiwara v. Rao

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 2, 2019

EDELTRAUD HAGIWARA, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. RAVI D. RAO, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE A RESPONSE (DOC. 1.)

          JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff has filed a complaint asserting constitutional claims against governmental employees and/or entities. (Doc. 1.) Generally, the Court is required to screen complaints brought by inmates seeking relief against a governmental entity or an 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).

         I. Pleading Standard

         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 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), and 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Prisoners may bring § 1983 claims against individuals acting “under color of state law.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2)(B)(ii). Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff is a state inmate housed at Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, California. Plaintiff brings this action against Dr. Ravi D. Rao, a CCWF contracted surgeon; Warden J. Espinosa; and John Doe, CCWF Chief Medical Officer. Plaintiff seeks damages, declaratory relief, and injunctive relief.

         Plaintiff's allegations may be fairly summarized as follows:

         On February 12, 2018, Dr. Rao performed a surgical procedure on Plaintiff's head and forehead. During the procedure, Dr. Rao made three cuts and sent tissue samples to a nearby lab while Plaintiff remained in the examination room with the instruments. After the lab confirmed that they had what they needed, Dr. Rao returned to the operating room to complete the procedure. However, he did not sterilize the instruments or use new ones.

         On February 16, 2018, Plaintiff experienced a severe migraine, her temperature rose, and the wound on her head opened. She was admitted to the hospital for sepsis where she was given increased fluids and Rocephin. There, her temperature returned to normal, and hospital staff changed her dressing every four hours. On February 18, 2018, Plaintiff was returned to her housing unit and continued the prescribed regiment. The wound finally closed in July 2018.

         Plaintiff continues to suffer daily headaches, which she reported to her primary care provider, Dr. Loadlholt. When Dr. Loadlholt contacted Dr. Rao to state how “unhappy” she was and asked what happened to Plaintiff, Dr. Rao's office hung up on Dr. Loadlholt.

         Plaintiff brings this suit for negligence and violation of her Eighth Amendment rights based on Dr. Rao's performance of a procedure in an unsterile environment with unsterile instruments.

         III. Discussion

         A. ...


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