United States District Court, E.D. California
DANIEL L. SNOWDEN, Plaintiff,
H. TATE; M. TOSCANO, Defendants.
ORDER REQUIRING PLAINTIFF TO FILE A FIRST AMENDED
COMPLAINT OR NOTIFY THE COURT OF HIS DESIRE TO PROCEED ONLY
ON CLAIMS FOUND COGNIZABLE (DOC. 1)
JENNIFER L. THURSTON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
alleges the defendants subjected him to retaliation, cruel
and unusual punishment, and due process violations under the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 1.) The Court
finds that Plaintiff states viable claims of retaliation and
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, but he
fails to state a cognizable due process claim.
Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or
employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the
prisoner has raised claims that are legally frivolous or
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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The Court
should dismiss a complaint if it lacks a cognizable legal
theory or fails to allege sufficient facts to support a
cognizable legal theory. See Balistreri v. Pacifica
Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
8(a)'s simplified pleading standard applies to all civil
actions, with limited exceptions.” Swierkiewicz v.
Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002). A complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.
R. Civ. Pro. 8(a)(2). “Such a statement must simply
give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Swierkiewicz, 534 U.S. at 512 (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
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)). Plaintiff must set forth “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Factual
allegations are accepted as true, but legal conclusions are
not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Court construes pleadings of pro se prisoners
liberally and affords them the benefit of any doubt.
Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010)
(citation omitted). However, “the liberal pleading
standard … applies only to a plaintiff's factual
allegations, ” not his legal theories. Neitze v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330 n.9 (1989). Furthermore,
“a liberal interpretation of a civil rights complaint
may not supply essential elements of the claim that were not
initially pled, ” Bruns v. Nat'l Credit Union
Admin., 122 F.3d 1251, 1257 (9th Cir. 1997) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted), and 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). The “sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully” is not sufficient to state a
cognizable claim, and “facts that are merely consistent
with a defendant's liability” fall short.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks and
Linkage and Causation
1983 provides a cause of action for the violation of
constitutional or other federal rights by persons acting
under color of state law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
To state a claim under section 1983, a plaintiff must show a
causal connection or link between the actions of the
defendants and the deprivation alleged to have been suffered
by the plaintiff. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362,
373-75 (1976). The Ninth Circuit has held that “[a]
person ‘subjects' another to the deprivation of a
constitutional right, within the meaning of section 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) (citation omitted).
Plaintiff's Factual Allegations
Snowden alleges that on December 20, 2018, he visited Dr.
Tate to address his chronic pain. (Doc. 1 at 13.) Plaintiff
was diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome in 2017. Plaintiff
alleges that, after informing Dr. Tate of his pain, Tate
began to laugh and said, “‘f… you and your
pain … you[‘re] a dumb … inmate who
[doesn't] know what real pain is.'”
(Id.) Plaintiff told Tate that he was acting
unprofessionally, and Plaintiff would file a health care
grievance to address his “poor conduct.”