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Huffman v. Batra

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 29, 2019

WILLIAM RAY HUFFMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BATRA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN DISTRICT JUDGE TO ACTION FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DISMISSAL OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEFENDANTS (ECF NOS. 1, 8)

          Barbara A. McAuliffe UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Background

         Plaintiff William Ray Huffman (“Plaintiff”) is a civil detainee proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Individuals detained pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 6600 et seq. are civil detainees and are not prisoners within the meaning of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Page v. Torrey, 201 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 2000).

         On September 13, 2019, the Court screened Plaintiff's complaint and found that it stated a cognizable claim against Defendant Batra for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment arising out of Plaintiff's medical care on July 15, 2017, but failed to state any other cognizable claims against any other Defendant. Plaintiff was ordered, within thirty (30) days, to either: (1) file a first amended complaint curing the deficiencies identified by the Court's screening order; or (2) notify the Court in writing that he does not wish to file a first amended complaint and wishes to proceed only on the claim against Defendant Batra, which would result in Plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of all other Defendants and all other claims, per Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(i). Plaintiff was warned that if he failed to comply with the Court's order, he would be allowed to proceed only on the claims found cognizable and the undersigned would recommend that all other claims and Defendants be dismissed with prejudice. (ECF No. 8.)

         The deadline for Plaintiff to file an amended complaint or notify the Court that he wishes to proceed only on the claim against Defendant Batra has passed, and he has not complied with the Court's order or otherwise communicated with the Court.

         II. Screening Requirement and Standard

         The 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. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).

         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 Atl. 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).

         To 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.

         III. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that the events at issue took place at Coalinga State Hospital (“Coalinga”) in Coalinga, CA, where he is currently housed. Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Sanjeev Batra, M.D.; (2) Robert Winthrow, M.D., Director of Medical at Department of State Hospitals; and (3) Jonthan Hamerick, M.D., Chief Physician and Surgeon.

         Plaintiff alleges that 30 years ago he had his left hip totally replaced. In April 2017, the hip started to squeak and cause great pain. He had two to three x-rays done at Coalinga in April and May 2017. The radiology report stated that there is a lateral superior migration of the femoral component, which is now articulating with the bony acetabular roof and is no longer centered with the acetabular cup and “recommended referral to the orthopedic surgery for potential revision.” \

         On July 15, 2017, Plaintiff was in pain and taken to the Urgent Care Room and was seen by Defendant Sanjeev Batra, M.D. Dr. Batra said there is nothing wrong with Plaintiff and that the prosthetic is out of alignment and the joint needs to be pushed back into place, causing more pain than Plaintiff had been experiencing. Dr. Batra pushed Plaintiff's leg up so hard that the hip is now broken and shattered into several pieces. In July 2017, Plaintiff was taken to Receiving and Release and had another CT Pelvis without I.V. Contrast done on his left hip. Plaintiff was taken to see N. Birrell Smith, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon on July 18, 2017. Dr. Smith assessed Plaintiff x-ray as follows: “the x ray represents catastrophic failure of acetabular component with long term chronic dislocation which has created false acetabulum. This will need referral to a center such as Stanford or UCLA for complex revision total hip surgery.”

         On July 21, 2017, Plaintiff was taken to Community Regional Medical Center. Plaintiff's discharge instruction state: “Mr. Hoffman as a chronic dislocation of his left hip prosthesis. It is too high risk to attempt reduction. He will need revision of this prosthesis by orthopedic hip specialist . . .” On August 6, 2017, Plaintiff returned to Fresno Emergency room and the records indicate, “You have a fracture and dislocation in your hip. Our orthopedic consults feel you would be best served by following up with the surgeon at Stanford as you will require complex revision with involved surgical planning on an outpatient basis.” On August 9, 2017, Manavjeet Singh Sidhu, M.D. submitted his orthopedic surgery clinic note on the imaging of ...


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