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Curley v. Dutta

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 8, 2019

KEVIN CURLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
RAJA DUTTA, Defendant.

          ORDER

          ALLISON CLAIRE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and has requested leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

         I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Plaintiff has submitted a declaration that makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). ECF Nos. 2, 6. Accordingly, the request to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted.

         Plaintiff is required to pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00 for this action. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1914(a), 1915(b)(1). By this order, plaintiff will be assessed an initial partial filing fee in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). By separate order, the court will direct the appropriate agency to collect the initial partial filing fee from plaintiffs trust account and forward it to the Clerk of the Court. Thereafter, plaintiff will be obligated for monthly payments of twenty percent of the preceding month's income credited to plaintiff's prison trust account. These payments will be forwarded by the appropriate agency to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in plaintiffs account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is paid in full. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

         II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

         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. § l9l5A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are "frivolous, malicious, or 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. § l9l5A(b).

         A claim "is [legally] frivolous where it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams. 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); Franklin v. Murphy, 745 F.2d 1221, 1227-28 (9th Cir. 1984). "[A] judge may dismiss . . . claims which are 'based on indisputably meritless legal theories' or whose 'factual contentions are clearly baseless.'" Jackson v. Arizona, 885 F.2d 639, 640 (9th Cir. 1989) (quoting Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327), superseded by statute on other grounds as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000). The critical inquiry is whether a constitutional claim, however inartfully pleaded, has an arguable legal and factual basis. Franklin, 745 F.2d at 1227-28 (citations omitted).

         "Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only '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, 555 (2007) (alteration in original) (quoting Conlev v. Gibson. 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "Failure to state a claim under § 1915A incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)." Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain more than "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). '"[T]he pleading must contain something more . . . than ... a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.'" Id. (alteration in original) (quoting 5 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216 (3d ed. 2004)).

         "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting 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." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Trs. of the Rex Hosp., 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), as well as construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor, Jenkins v. McKeithen. 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969) (citations omitted).

         III. Complaint

         The complaint alleges that plaintiffs Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by defendant Raja Dutta, M.D. ECF No. 1. On July 19, 2016, defendant interviewed and diagnosed plaintiff with Bipolar Affective Disorder. Li at 3-4. Plaintiff claims that defendant asked him to sign a medication consent form to take Risperdal orally, but he disagreed with the new diagnosis and initially refused to sign. Li at 4. Upon plaintiffs refusal, defendant threatened to file for a Keyhea order[1] against plaintiff if he continued to refuse medication. Li Plaintiff signed the consent under duress in order to avoid being "forced to take any psychotic [sic] medication via 'hotshot.'" Id.

         The following day, despite plaintiff's written consent to take medication orally, plaintiff received an Involuntary Medication Notice. Id. at 5. In the form, defendant checked that plaintiff was a "Danger to Self and "Gravely Disabled and Lack[ed] Capacity to Refuse Treatment." Id. at 5, 23. Plaintiff claims defendant's finding was false and unnecessary because he was not a danger and had consented to taking the medication orally. Id. at 5-6. On August 4, 2016, plaintiff attended an involuntary medication hearing where an order was issued granting defendant's request to involuntary medicate plaintiff. Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges that defendant perjured himself during the hearing. Id. at 6. Approximately ten minutes after the hearing, defendant ordered that plaintiff receive "a Risperidal [sic] 'Hot Shot, '" which was given against his will. Li Plaintiff claims the "Hot Shot" left him in a "comatose-zombie like state." Li Defendant ordered that plaintiff be involuntarily medicated on four additional occasions, and each time he suffered from a "comatose-zombie like state." Li at 3, 6-7.

         IV. Substantive ...


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