(PC) Farley v. Ybanez et al, No. 2:2010cv01950 - Document 11 (E.D. Cal. 2010)

Court Description: FINDINGS and RECOMMENDATIONS signed by Magistrate Judge Craig M. Kellison on 10/22/10 recommending that this action be dismissed for plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Referred to Judge Frank C. Damrell. Objections due within 14 days. (Plummer, M)
Download PDF
(PC) Farley v. Ybanez et al Doc. 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 LEONARD FARLEY, 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 No. CIV S-10-1950-FCD-CMK-P Plaintiff, vs. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION LOIDA YBANEZ, et al., Defendants. / Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is plaintiff’s complaint (Doc. 1). The court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief 20 against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. 21 § 1915A(a). The court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if it: (1) is frivolous or 22 malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief 23 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Moreover, 24 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints contain a “short and plain statement 25 of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). This means 26 that claims must be stated simply, concisely, and directly. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 1 Dockets.Justia.com 1 1177 (9th Cir. 1996) (referring to Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e)(1)). These rules are satisfied if the 2 complaint gives the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff’s claim and the grounds upon which it 3 rests. See Kimes v. Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1129 (9th Cir. 1996). Because plaintiff must allege 4 with at least some degree of particularity overt acts by specific defendants which support the 5 claims, vague and conclusory allegations fail to satisfy this standard. Additionally, it is 6 impossible for the court to conduct the screening required by law when the allegations are vague 7 and conclusory. 8 9 I. PLAINTIFF’S ALLEGATIONS 10 Plaintiff names four defendants in this action: a nursing supervisor, Ybanez; a 11 doctor, Nangalama; a licensed vocational nurse, Dushinka; and the Chief Executive Officer at 12 California State Prison - Sacramento, Deems. In his complaint he states that defendant Dushinka 13 refused to give him an insulin shot without first conducting a blood test. Plaintiff’s physician, 14 defendant Nangalama then told Plaintiff it was his choice whether or not to give a blood test. 15 However, the nurses informed Plaintiff that regardless, he would not receive his insulin shot 16 without a finger stick blood test. When confronted by Dr. Nangalama and the nurses, Dr. 17 Nangalama became upset and agreed with the nurses, including defendant Ybanez, that he was 18 required to give a blood test prior to receiving his mediation. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that 19 defendant Deems had the opportunity to resolve this issue but did not, and instead agreed with 20 the other defendants. 21 22 23 II. DISCUSSION The treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which the 24 prisoner is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel 25 and unusual punishment. See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993); Farmer v. Brennan, 26 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Eighth Amendment “. . . embodies broad and idealistic concepts 2 1 of dignity, civilized standards, humanity, and decency.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 2 (1976). Conditions of confinement may, however, be harsh and restrictive. See Rhodes v. 3 Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). Nonetheless, prison officials must provide prisoners with 4 “food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, medical care, and personal safety.” Toussaint v. McCarthy, 5 801 F.2d 1080, 1107 (9th Cir. 1986). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only 6 when two requirements are met: (1) objectively, the official’s act or omission must be so serious 7 such that it results in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities; and (2) 8 subjectively, the prison official must have acted unnecessarily and wantonly for the purpose of 9 inflicting harm. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. Thus, to violate the Eighth Amendment, a prison 10 11 official must have a “sufficiently culpable mind.” See id. Deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s serious illness or injury, or risks of serious 12 injury or illness, gives rise to a claim under the Eighth Amendment. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 13 105; see also Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. This applies to physical as well as dental and mental 14 health needs. See Hoptowit v. Ray, 682 F.2d 1237, 1253 (9th Cir. 1982). An injury or illness is 15 sufficiently serious if the failure to treat a prisoner’s condition could result in further significant 16 injury or the “. . . unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 17 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992); see also Doty v. County of Lassen, 37 F.3d 540, 546 (9th Cir. 1994). 18 Factors indicating seriousness are: (1) whether a reasonable doctor would think that the condition 19 is worthy of comment; (2) whether the condition significantly impacts the prisoner’s daily 20 activities; and (3) whether the condition is chronic and accompanied by substantial pain. See 21 Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 22 The requirement of deliberate indifference is less stringent in medical needs cases 23 than in other Eighth Amendment contexts because the responsibility to provide inmates with 24 medical care does not generally conflict with competing penological concerns. See McGuckin, 25 974 F.2d at 1060. Thus, deference need not be given to the judgment of prison officials as to 26 decisions concerning medical needs. See Hunt v. Dental Dep’t, 865 F.2d 198, 200 (9th Cir. 3 1 1989). The complete denial of medical attention may constitute deliberate indifference. See 2 Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1111 (9th Cir. 1986). Delay in providing medical 3 treatment, or interference with medical treatment, may also constitute deliberate indifference. 4 See Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131. Where delay is alleged, however, the prisoner must also 5 demonstrate that the delay led to further injury. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060. 6 Negligence in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not, however, give 7 rise to a claim under the Eighth Amendment. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. Moreover, a 8 difference of opinion between the prisoner and medical providers concerning the appropriate 9 course of treatment does not give rise to an Eighth Amendment claim. See Jackson v. McIntosh, 10 90 F.3d 330, 332 (9th Cir. 1996). 11 Plaintiff’s claims amount to no more than disagreement as to the proper course of 12 treatment. In Plaintiff’s opinion, he should be able to receive his insulin shot without first having 13 a blood test. Based on a review of the inmate grievances submitted with his complaint, it appears 14 the dispute arises regarding one of two types of insulin medication Plaintiff receives. One type is 15 a long-acting maintenance insulin, which Plaintiff is authorized to receive without any blood test. 16 The other is a short acting insulin which can only be given if the blood sugar level is not too low, 17 thus requiring a blood test prior to receiving. It is Plaintiff’s position that he should be given 18 both types of medication without any blood test being performed. In essence, he disagrees with 19 the medical opinion that a blood test is necessary. 20 Such a disagreement is insufficient to state a claim for a violation of the Eighth 21 Amendment for deliberate indifference to a medical need. Nothing in Plaintiff’s complaint 22 indicates any of the defendants are refusing to provide Plaintiff his necessary medication, only 23 that they are requiring him to follow a procedure he disagrees with. A disagreement regarding 24 the proper course of treatment, which is essentially Plaintiff’s claim, is insufficient to state a 25 claim. 26 /// 4 1 2 III. CONCLUSION Because it does not appear possible that the deficiencies identified herein can be 3 cured by amending the complaint, plaintiff is not entitled to leave to amend prior to dismissal of 4 the entire action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). 5 6 Based on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends this action be dismissed for Plaintiff’s failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 7 These findings and recommendations are submitted to the United States District 8 Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within 14 days 9 after being served with these findings and recommendations, any party may file written 10 objections with the court. Responses to objections shall be filed within 14 days after service of 11 objections. Failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal. 12 See Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 13 14 15 16 DATED: October 22, 2010 ______________________________________ CRAIG M. KELLISON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 5