United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
CAROLYN K. DELANEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, has filed a motion for
leave to file an amended complaint, along with a copy of the
proposed amended complaint. (ECF Nos. 35, 36.) Defendants
have requested that the court screen the amended complaint
(ECF No. 37) and modify the current discovery and scheduling
order (ECF No. 38).
First Amended Complaint
Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1)(B) provides that “[a]
party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course
within . . . 21 days after service of a responsive
pleading.” Defendants answered the complaint on June
18, 2019 (ECF No. 33), and plaintiff's motion to amend
and proposed amended complaint were filed within twenty-one
days of service of the answer (ECF Nos. 35, 36). Accordingly,
plaintiff is entitled to amend the complaint as a matter of
course and his request to amend will be granted.
respect to defendants' request for screening of the
amended complaint, the court is required to screen complaints
brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, and
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.
§ 1915A(a), (b). Defendants' request for screening
will therefore be granted.
complaint alleges that defendants Acharya, Liu, Enriquez,
Limpiado, Salud, and Ladan,  who are all registered nurses,
were deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious
medical need on four separate occasions. (ECF No. 36 at 3-8.)
“[T]o maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on
prison medical treatment, an inmate must show
‘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)). This 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 and
wanton infliction of pain, '” and (2) “the
defendant's response to the need was deliberately
indifferent.” Id. (some internal quotation
marks omitted) (quoting McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d
1050, 1059-60 (9th Cir. 1992)).
alleges that due to his quadriplegia he is required to use a
catheter and, as a result, experiences autonomic dysreflexia
when his bladder is beyond capacity (90 cc). (ECF No. 36 at
3.) The symptoms include “Dry Sweats, Spasms, Shaking,
[and] Extremely High Blood Pressure, ” and are
alleviated when his catheter is flushed. (Id.) The
complaint asserts that defendants failed to properly respond
when plaintiff began to experience autonomic dysreflexia. In
addition to the two incidents described in the original
complaint, the amended complaint adds two additional
incidents and one additional defendant. Plaintiff's
allegations regarding the first two incidents, which occurred
on January 1, 2017, and February 11, 2017, are nearly
identical to the allegations in the original complaint
(compare ECF No. 1 at 6-10 with ECF No. 36
at 3-6) and state claims for deliberate indifference against
defendants Acharya, Liu, Enriquez, Limpiado, and Salud as
outlined in the January 3, 2019 screening order (ECF No. 10).
the third incident, which occurred on March 23, 2017,
plaintiff began experiencing symptoms of autonomic
dysreflexia and requested assistance via intercom.
(Id. at 6.) Defendant Limpiado refused to respond to
plaintiff's request and continued to refuse to flush his
catheter until over two hours later when ordered to do so by
a doctor. (Id.) These allegations are sufficient to
state a claim for relief against Limpiado.
fourth incident plaintiff alleges occurred on January 23,
2018, and involved newly added defendant Ladan. (Id.
at 8.) However, it will be recommended that these claims and
defendant Ladan be dismissed because they are improperly
joined. Multiple claims may be joined if they are all against
a single defendant, Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a), and joinder of
defendants is only permitted if “any right to relief is
asserted against them . . . with respect to or arising out of
the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions
or occurrences; and any question of law or fact common to all
defendants will arise in the action, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 20.
In other words, joining more than one claim is only proper
when it is against one defendant, and joining multiple
defendants in one complaint is only proper when the action is
based on the same facts. Here, the incident with defendant
Ladan occurred ten months after the last incident with the
other defendants and did not involve any of the other
defendants. Accordingly, there are no grounds on which to
join either the new claims or the defendant.
parties are misjoined, “the court may at any time, on
just terms, add or drop a party. The court may also sever any
claim against a party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 21.
“[D]istrict courts who dismiss rather than sever must
conduct a prejudice analysis, including ‘loss of
otherwise timely claims if new suits are blocked by statutes
of limitations.'” Rush v. Sport Chalet,
Inc., 779 F.3d 973, 975 (9th Cir. 2015) (citations
omitted). In this case, the court finds that dismissal of
defendant Ladan is appropriate. The incident involving Ladan
occurred on January 23, 2018, and the statute of limitations
for claims under § 1983 is two years, plus an additional
two years of tolling if plaintiff's sentence is for less
than life. Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 927 (9th
Cir. 2004); Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1; Cal. Civ.
Proc. Code § 352.1(a). Therefore, even if plaintiff is
serving a life sentence and is not entitled to the additional
two years of tolling, he has ample time to initiate a new
complaint against Ladan related to the January 23, 2018
incident, should he choose to do so. Accordingly, there is no
prejudice to plaintiff in dismissing the claims against Ladan
without prejudice to re-filing in a separate action.
Motion to Modify
have filed a motion to modify the discovery and scheduling
order and request that the court vacate the current deadlines
in light of the recently filed first amended complaint. (ECF
No. 38.) The motion will be granted and a new discovery and
scheduling order will issue once defendants have responded to
the first amended complaint.
Plain Language Summary of this Order for a Pro Se
complaint states claims against defendants Acharya, Liu,
Enriquez, Limpiado, and Salud and they will be required to
respond to the complaint. The claims against defendant Ladan
are not properly joined and it will be recommended that they