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Hubbard v. Ramos

United States District Court, N.D. California

December 24, 2019

ZANE M. HUBBARD, Plaintiff,
v.
GLORIA RAMOS, Defendant.

          ORDER OF SERVICE

          JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against SVSP psychiatrist Gloria Ramos. His complaint is now before the Court for review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. He has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis in a separate order.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         A federal court must engage in a preliminary screening of any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity, or from an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the Court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (1), (2). Pro se pleadings must be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (citations omitted). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint must proffer “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated; and (2) that the violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         B. Complaint

         The complaint makes the following allegations. Since 2013, plaintiff has been forced to undergo aversive therapy. Because the process is so intense, if plaintiff is placed in an incompatible situation, it can cause him to assault someone. When transferred to SVSP, plaintiff preemptively requested that his interactions with other SVSP inmates be restricted, but the request was denied. Plaintiff was housed in an incompatible environment, which resulted in him assaulting inmate Zuniga. On October 15, 2019, defendant Ramos ordered that plaintiff be medicated against his will. Defendant Ramos did not try to figure out whether there was actually something wrong with plaintiff's way of thinking. The medication causes plaintiff to suffer side effects, including severe muscle cramps, muscle spasms, contorted body movements, and a lack of energy. ECF No. 1 at 4-6. Liberally construed, the complaint states a cognizable due process claim against defendant Ramos. Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221-22 (1990) (inmate has significant liberty interest in avoiding unwanted administration of medication under the Due Process Clause); see also United States v. Loughner, 672 F.3d 731, 744 (9th Cir. 2012) (same).

         CONCLUSION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court orders as follows.

         1. The complaint states a cognizable due process claim against Dr. Gloria Ramos for medicating plaintiff without his consent.

         2. The Clerk shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the complaint with all attachments thereto (Dkt. No. 1), and a copy of this order upon defendant Dr. Gloria Ramos at Salinas Valley State Prison, 31625 Highway 101, Soledad, CA 93960. A courtesy copy of the complaint ...


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