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Manzo v. Rojas

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 28, 2019

JUAN J. MANZO, Plaintiff,
F. ROJAS, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff has filed a complaint asserting constitutional claims against governmental employees and/or entities. (Doc. 1.) Generally, the Court is required to screen complaints brought by inmates 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, ” that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). “Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         I. Pleading Standard

         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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), 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). While factual allegations are accepted as true, legal conclusions are not. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Prisoners may bring § 1983 claims against individuals acting “under color of state law.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) (2)(B)(ii). Under § 1983, Plaintiff must demonstrate that each defendant personally participated in the deprivation of his rights. Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir. 2002). This requires the presentation of factual allegations sufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). Prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor, Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted), but nevertheless, the mere possibility of misconduct falls short of meeting the plausibility standard, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations

         Plaintiff's claims arose during his incarceration at Pleasant Valley State Prison (“PVSP”) in Coalinga, California and at Florence Corrections Center (“FCC”) in Florence, Arizona. He names as defendants (1) PVSP Nurse F. Rojas, (2) FCC Nurse Robert Mbuya, (3) FCC Dr. Katherine Hakeman, (4) FCC Chief Medical Officer Keith Ivens, (5) FCC Nurse Karlla Greinermiller, (6) FCC Owner / Manager Corrections Corporation of America (“CCA”), and (7) “J. Doe 1-X, ” which appears to be an identifier for three different people: (a) the “person responsible for the policies of the CDCR, ” Compl. ¶¶ 21, 34; (b) the “person(s) responsible for plaintiff's transfer, ” Compl. ¶ 36; and (c) the “person(s) responsible for plaintiff's continuity of treatment, ” Compl. ¶ 39.

         Plaintiff's allegations may be fairly summarized as follows:

         Plaintiff entered PVSP in February 2013. By June 2014, he was awaiting to be seen for surgery in his right eye to remove a pterygium that was affecting his vision and causing him pain.

         On June 2, 2014, plaintiff was scheduled for an involuntary out-of-state transfer. Nurse Rojas screened plaintiff for this transfer, reviewed plaintiff's pain summary sheet and/or health records, and thus became aware of plaintiff's medical needs. Nonetheless, she failed to initiate and/or place a medical hold on that transfer. As a result, plaintiff was transferred to FCC on June 4, 2014.

         On June 5, 2014, plaintiff was taken to a clinic at FCC whereupon defendant Mbuya conducted an Initial Health Screening. Plaintiff informed Mbuya about the pterygium in his right eye and his pending surgery. Mbuya, however, did not verify this surgery or refer plaintiff to a doctor.

         On June 11, 2014, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Hakeman, who became aware of the pterygium but simply referred plaintiff to an optometry consult for eyeglasses. She ignored plaintiff's request to be referred to an ophthalmologist.

         On June 12, 2014, defendant Ivens denied Dr. Hakeman's routine referral to an optometrist pursuant to CCA policy. Per plaintiff, CCA requires its health care staff to adhere to CDCR policies when it comes to providing medical treatment for California inmates. However, plaintiff does not specify how the CDCR policy would have resulted in the denial of this referral.

         On June 21, 2014, plaintiff submitted a medical request regarding his need for eye surgery and other medical issues. In response to this request, plaintiff was seen by Nurse Greinermiller on June 23, 2014. This defendant, too, failed to confirm ...

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