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Gomez v. Sangha

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 26, 2019

RUBEN GOMEZ,, Plaintiff,
v.
A. SANGHA; DR. MANI, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON. WILLIAM Q. HAYES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         The matters before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Sangha (ECF No. 40), the Report and Recommendation issued by the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 44), and the Objection filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 45).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On September 12, 2016, Ruben Gomez (“Plaintiff”), a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Centinela State Prison (“CEN”) in Imperial, California, and proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Raymond Madden, CEN Warden, and A. Sangha, CEN Chief Medical Officer. ECF No. 1.

         On December 14, 2016, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed IFP, denied his Motion to Appoint Counsel, and sua sponte DISMISSED his Complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. ECF No. 5.

         Plaintiff was granted forty-five (45) days leave to file an amended pleading in order to correct the deficiencies of pleading identified in the Court’s Order. Id. at 11-12. Plaintiff failed to comply with the Court’s Order. On February 17, 2017, the Court dismissed the entire action.

         On January 24, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Motion to Reopen Case” which the Court granted. ECF Nos. 10, 11.

         On March 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). ECF No. 12. The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s FAC for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. ECF No. 13.

         On June 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”). ECF No. 14. The Court dismissed claims against Defendants Madden and Lewis for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. ECF No. 15. The Court directed the Clerk of the Court to terminate these Defendants from the Court’s docket and to issue a summons as to Defendants Sangha and Mani. Id.

         On March 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”), the operative proceeding in this case, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 38. Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated at Centinela State Prison (“Centinela”), Defendants Chief Medical Officer Sangha and Ophthalmologist Dr. Mani violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, and committed negligence and gross negligence pursuant to state law. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that, in 2007, while incarcerated at Ironwood State Prison Plaintiff began receiving medical treatment for keratoconus, a gradual change in the shape of the cornea. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that he was fitted with contact lenses. Id. However, Plaintiff alleges that in his case, where the change in corneal shape is so severe, contact lenses could lead to further damage and a corneal transplantation is recommended. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he continued to receive treatment while incarcerated at Ironwood State Prison from 2007 to 2010. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that on or about February 10, 2011, he was transferred to Centinela. Id. at 5. Plaintiff alleges that on August 12, 2011, he began treatment with Defendant Dr. Mani. Id. Plaintiff alleges that from 2011 to 2015, Dr. Mani continued to refit him for new contact lenses. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the course of treatment authorized, supervised, known, and approved by Defendant Sangha. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were aware of his severe keratoconus and acted with deliberate indifference towards his condition which caused him, and continues to cause him, severe pain and suffering. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that on or about December 10, 2014, he initiated the Patient Inmate Health Care Appeal. Id. at 6. Plaintiff alleges that on or about February 20, 2015, he filed a second appeal. Id. Plaintiff alleges that on or about September 14, 2015, California Correctional Health Services (“CCHS”), Deputy Director, J. Lewis denied his appeals and stated that all administrative remedies had been exhausted. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Lewis’s letter states that no intervention at the Director’s Level of Review is necessary because Plaintiff’s medical condition has been evaluated and Plaintiff is receiving treatment deemed medically necessary. Id.; ECF No. 38-5 at 9. Plaintiff alleges that in 2016, he was recommended a bilateral cornea transplant after further consultations. Id.; ECF No. 38-6 at 4.

         On April 5, 2019, Defendant Sangha filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF No. 40. Defendant Sangha contends that Plaintiff fails to state a claim because Plaintiff fails to allege facts sufficient to show that the claims in this case are timely and there are no allegations that Sangha was personally involved in the alleged actions against Plaintiff. Id. Sangha contends that he cannot be held liable for the wrongdoing of other staff at Centinela solely based on his supervisory position. Id. Pursuant to the state law negligence claims, Sangha contends that ...


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