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Bran v. Yuba County Jail

United States District Court, E.D. California

November 5, 2019

GUILLERMO ALEXANDER BRAN, Plaintiff,
v.
YUBA COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECCOMMENDATIONS

          DENNIS M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is plaintiff's first amended complaint (ECF No. 15).

         The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Moreover, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints contain a “. . . short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This means that claims must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) (referring to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are satisfied if the complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th Cir. 1996). Because plaintiff must allege with at least some degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants which support the claims, vague and conclusory allegations fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is impossible for the court to conduct the screening required by law when the allegations are vague and conclusory.

         I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff Guillermo Alexander Bran names the following as defendants (1) Yuba County Jail, (2) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Medical Staff Administration, (3) Nurse Sulma, and (4) C.O. Houston. See ECF No. 15, pg. 1.

         Plaintiff is currently an inmate at Yuba County Jail in Marysville, California. Id. at 4. On April 26, 2018, ICE agents transported plaintiff from Soledad State Prison. Id. The prison's medical staff provided him with medication for thirty days, but the ICE agents confiscated it. Id. That same day, plaintiff was moved to an ICE detention center in Yuba County Jail, California. Id. He informed the jail staff of his medical condition and requested his needed medication the following day. Id. However, he did not receive this medication until May 1, 2018. Id. Plaintiff alleges that this five-day delay caused him great distress in the form of chronic acid reflux, headache, fever, and an inability to sleep, walk, or eat. Id.

         Plaintiff claims that defendant ICE agents transported him to Immigration Court in Sacramento without his medication on several occasions. Id. Plaintiff attributes this to a failure on the part of the Yuba County Jail medical staff to inform the ICE agents of his need for the medication. Id. Plaintiff maintains that he also suffered from serious dental pain, did not receive appropriate dental attention, and continues to suffer from this pain. Id. Plaintiff's dental problems were allegedly exacerbated when a doctor erroneously removed one of his teeth. Id. Plaintiff further asserts that he submitted multiple requests for eye glasses, but that his receipt of those glasses was delayed until July 2018. Because of this delay, plaintiff was unable to work on his immigration case due to his poor vision and difficulty in writing legal documents. Id.

         According to plaintiff, on October 8, 2018, plaintiff fell down from his bunk and broke his right toe. He was prescribed ibuprofen for seven days but did not receive any X-ray scans nor ice packs. Id. On October 10, 2018, defendants Sulma and Houston worked together to provide inmates medication in plaintiff's L-dormitory. Plaintiff requested an ice-pack but defendant Sulma denied the request. Id. On November 2, 2018, after his return from Immigration Court to Yuba County Jail, plaintiff made a request to Houston for his medication. Houston told him he would provide it within 30 minutes. However, when Houston returned with Sulma, they did not provide him the medication, stating that he was off the time schedule. Id. On November 3, 2018 at 4:45 am, plaintiff started to choke in his bunk. Id. Plaintiff vomited and suffered chronic stomach pain and acid reflux due to Houston's failure to provide him the needed medication the day before. Id.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Sulma and Houston are sufficient to pass screening.[1] However, Plaintiff's remaining claims fail to meet the pleading standard outlined in Rule 8 as to any of the other named defendants. Plaintiff also fails to adequately allege liability as against defendant Yuba County Jail.

         A. Rule 8

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints contain a “. . . short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This means that claims must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) (referring to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are satisfied if the complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th Cir. 1996).

         Given this pleading standard, to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must allege an actual connection or link between the actions of the named defendants and the alleged deprivations. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976). “A person ‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of § 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to do that causes the deprivation of which complaint is made.” Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743 (9th Cir. 1978). Vague and conclusory allegations concerning the involvement of official personnel in civil rights violations are not sufficient. See Ivey v. Board of Regents, 673 F.2d 266, 268 (9th Cir. 1982). Rather, the plaintiff must set forth specific facts as to each individual defendant's causal role in the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 634 (9th Cir. 1988).

         Here, plaintiff fails to meet the pleading standard as to all of his claims except the Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Sulma and Houston. Besides providing some clarification as to the alleged misconduct of Sulma and Houston, plaintiff's amended complaint remains unchanged. As such this ...


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