United States District Court, E.D. California
SCREENING ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO AMEND
(ECF NO. 1) THIRTY-DAY DEADLINE
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James Paul Legare (“Plaintiff”) is a state
prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this
civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff's complaint, filed on October 24, 2018, is
currently before the Court for screening. (ECF No. 1.)
Screening Requirement and Standard
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity and/or against
an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion
thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or
malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant
who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§
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)).
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).
survive screening, Plaintiff's claims must be facially
plausible, which requires sufficient factual detail to allow
the Court to reasonably infer that each named defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss v. U.S. Secret
Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The sheer
possibility that a defendant acted unlawfully is not
sufficient, and mere consistency with liability falls short
of satisfying the plausibility standard. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678 (quotation marks omitted); Moss, 572
F.3d at 969.
Allegations in Complaint
is currently housed at the California Institution for Men in
Chino, California. The events in the complaint are alleged to
have occurred while Plaintiff was housed at the California
Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility (“CSATF”)
in Coalinga, California. Plaintiff names the following
defendants: (1) C. Cryer, Chief Executive Officer; (2) S.
Gates, Chief, Health Care Appeals Branch-Sacramento; and (3)
Does 1 through 5, CSATF medical/health care providers.
Claim I, Plaintiff alleges that in July 2017, he was
prescribed Oxcarbazepine (“Trileptal”) for pain
management. Soon after taking Trileptal, Plaintiff began to
suffer serious side effects. On August 1, 2017, Plaintiff
submitted a CDCR 7362 medical request complaining of serious
side effects from Trileptal and requesting that Trileptal be
discontinued and another pain management medication be
issued. Plaintiff complains that his complaints and request
were met with deliberate indifference and no corrective
treatment was provided by Doe Defendants.
August 15, 2017, Plaintiff could no longer withstand the side
effects and refused to take Trileptal. As a result of his
refusal, Doe Defendants issued Plaintiff a CDCR 128B record,
which was negatively addressed by the Parole Board
Commissioners on August 6, 2017.
August 15, 2017 to September 17, 2017, Doe Defendants
provided Plaintiff with no care or treatment to relieve
Plaintiff's groin pain. On September 17, 2017,
acetaminophen (“Mapap”) was prescribed, which
barely reduced the pain levels Plaintiff repeatedly reported
to Doe Defendants. Plaintiff believes Mapap is nothing more
than a fever reducer, which Doe Defendants knew and used to
intentionally cause Plaintiff suffering.
October 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Health Care
December 20, 2017, Defendant Cryer issued CSATF's
institutional level response. Plaintiff contends that the
response is deflective, callous and with self-serving
verbiage that incorporates false statements that at no time
was Plaintiff without pain medication. Additionally,
Defendant Cryer stated that Trileptal was approved by the
Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for use as a
pain medication. He also stated that Plaintiff's primary
care provider could not prescribe Trileptal for use as a pain
medication if it was not approved for such use.
January 10, 2018, Plaintiff advanced his medical appeal to
Headquarters Level for review. In his appeal, Plaintiff posed
specific questions to Defendant Gates to clarify Defendant
Cryer's statement that Trileptal was an authorized FDA
pain management medication.
April 26, 2018, Defendant Gates issued the Headquarters Level
Response to Plaintiff's medical appeal. Defendant Gates
did not answer whether Trileptal is an FDA-authorized pain
management medication. Plaintiff claims Defendant Gates'
response was deflective with omissions.
claims that contrary to the posture of Defendants Cryer,
Gates and Doe Defendants, Trileptal is not an FDA-authorized
drug to treat pain. Plaintiff cites to release notice in 2010
stating that the only authorized us for Trileptal is for
treatment of epilepsy and there was a settlement for
promoting Trileptal for use to treat pain. Plaintiff further
alleges that into 2016 and beyond, the FDA published
information related to Trileptal informing CDCR health care
providers and officials to properly train doctors. Plaintiff
asserts that Defendants Cryer and Gates were required to
ensure that Doe Defendants were properly trained. Plaintiff
claims that defendants continue to prescribe Oxcarbazepine.
on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts claims against
Defendants Cryer and Gates based on their failure to
adequately train prison doctors, deliberate indifference
against Defendants Does 1 through 5, and emotional distress.
Claim II, Plaintiff alleges that he arrived at CSATF on March
9, 2017, to receive care for groin pain. After seven months
of seeking pain relief, Plaintiff filed a CDCR 602 Health
Care appeal alleging deliberate indifference and retaliation
for prior exercise of his First Amendment rights. In his
appeal, Plaintiff explained the pain he suffered, the
ineffective psychotropic drugs to treat his pain, and the
requests for referrals to specialists that were denied.
Plaintiff contends that due to the inadequate pain management
treatment, he suffered horrific pain that caused him to
double over, fall to the ground injuring his head and arm or
freezing like a statue.
submitted a CDCR 7362 medical requests seeking prescription
of Neurontin, a pain management drug, which suppressed all
types of pain that Plaintiff suffered while on a prior
prescription. Plaintiff's requests were ignored along
with his requests for a housing accommodation to prevent
injury caused by falls triggered by pain.
alleged in his appeal that he was being retaliated against
for his civil rights law suit in No. ED-cv-15-0833 JVS (AFM).
Plaintiff claims that the CSATF medical delivery system has a
history of engaging in retaliation against prisoners who file
appeals or lawsuits. Plaintiff claims that as a result of the
medical retaliation, he was intentionally denied adequate
pain management treatment.
November 17, 2018, Defendant Cryer and the Doe Defendants
issued their Institutional Level response to his appeal. In
the response, it was noted that Doe Defendants denied
Plaintiff's referral to a specialist because surgery was
deemed not an option for Plaintiff's condition. Plaintiff
claims that it was known that surgery was the only option to
treat his condition and the referral was later granted
because of his need. Defendant Cryer also noted that Doe
Defendants accommodated Plaintiff with an appropriate housing
assignment to prevent further physical injuries, but allowed
Plaintiff to suffer horrific pain levels that caused him to
fall and injure his head and arm. The response also cited
that Plaintiff was prescribed Trileptal, but because he did
not tolerate it well, he was subsequently prescribed a low