United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DECLINING TO SERVE AND GRANTING LEAVE TO
Alice Theiler, United States Magistrate Judge.
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, submitted a
proposed 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. (Dkt.
1.) Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Washington State
Penitentiary. He alleges he was denied medication for two
months while housed at King County Correctional Facility
(KCCF) and names KCCF as the defendant in this lawsuit.
order to sustain a § 1983 claim, plaintiff must show (1)
that he suffered a violation of rights protected by the
Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) that the
violation was proximately caused by a person acting under
color of state or federal law. West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d
1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). Plaintiff must provide more than
conclusory allegations; he must set forth specific, plausible
facts to support his claims. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678-83 (2009).
reviewed the proposed complaint, the Court notes the
(1) KCCF is an entity of King County and is not a proper
defendant in this action. See Nolan v. Snohomish
County, 59 Wn.App. 876, 883, 802 P.2d 792 (1990)
(“[I]n a legal action involving a county, the county
itself is the only legal entity capable of suing and being
sued.”) Plaintiff, as such, fails to identify a
defendant subject to suit.
is advised that, to name an individual defendant, he must
allege facts showing how individually named defendants caused
or personally participated in causing the harm alleged in the
complaint. Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th
Cir. 1981). Supervisory personnel may not be held liable for
actions of subordinates under a theory of vicarious
liability. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th
Cir. 1989). “A supervisor may be liable only if (1) he
or she is personally involved in the constitutional
deprivation, or (2) there is ‘a sufficient causal
connection between the supervisor's wrongful conduct and
the constitutional violation.'” Snow v.
McDaniel, 681 F.3d 978, 989 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989)),
overruled in part on other grounds by Peralta v.
Dillard, 744 F.3d 1076, 1083 (9th Cir. 2014).
defendant must be clearly identified in the caption of the
complaint and as a party to the complaint, and the statement
of the claim must include facts setting forth how each
defendant violated plaintiff's constitutional rights.
This matter may proceed only if plaintiff identifies a
defendant subject to suit and sets forth facts supporting the
statement of a claim against that defendant.
Plaintiff avers he was denied medication he needed. He may be
alleging a violation of his Eight Amendment rights. However,
to maintain an unconstitutional punishment claim based on
medical treatment, “an inmate must show
‘deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs.'” Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091,
1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). A prison official may be deemed to have
been deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs
“when they deny, delay, or intentionally interfere with
medical treatment.” Hallett v. Morgan, 296
F.3d 732, 744 (9th Cir. 2002) (sources and internal quotation
marks omitted). A prison official may be held liable
“only if he knows that inmates face a substantial risk
of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take
reasonable measures to abate it.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 847 (1994). A “defendant
must purposefully ignore or fail to respond to a
prisoner's pain or possible medical need in order for
deliberate indifference to be established.”
McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1060 (9th Cir.
1992), overruled on other grounds by WMX Techs., Inc. v.
Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997). The defendant
“must not only ‘be aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exists, ' but that person ‘must also draw the
inference.'” Toguchi v. Chung, 391 F.3d
1051, 1057 (9th Cir. 2004) (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S.
at 837). “A medical need is serious when the failure to
treat it could result in significant injury or the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”
Mendiola-Martinez v. Arpaio, 836 F.3d 1239 (9th Cir.
2016) (citing Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096
(9th Cir. 2006)).
indifference to medical needs must be substantial; a
constitutional violation is not established by negligence or
“an inadvertent failure to provide adequate medical
care[.]” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06;
Anthony v. Dowdle, 853 F.2d 741, 743 (9th Cir.
1988). Nor does a difference of opinion between an inmate and
medical authorities regarding proper medical treatment give
rise to a § 1983 claim. Franklin v. Oregon, State
Welfare Div., 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981).
See also Estelle, 529 U.S. at 106 (“Medical
malpractice does not become a constitutional violation merely
because the victim is a prisoner.”) A mere delay of
treatment, standing alone, does not suffice to state a claim
of deliberate indifference; the inmate must show the delay
led to further injury. Shapley v. Nevada Bd. of State
Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir. 1985)
(citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106). Accord
Hallett, 296 F.3d at 745-46; McGuckin, 974 F.2d
proposed complaint does not set forth a claim rising to the
level of an Eighth Amendment violation. If plaintiff cannot
set forth facts supporting a claim of deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs, he may not proceed with a
§ 1983 claim based on medical treatment.
Because of the deficiencies described above, the Court
declines to serve the complaint or to direct that an answer
be filed. However, plaintiff is granted leave to amend his
complaint, if possible, to correct the identified
deficiencies. Within thirty (30) days from
the date of this Order, plaintiff may submit an amended
complaint that corrects the deficiencies outlined above. The
amended complaint must be filed under the same case number as
this one, and will operate as a complete substitute for,
rather than a mere supplement to, the present complaint.
See Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1262 (9th
Cir. 1992). If no amended complaint is timely filed, or if
plaintiff files an amended complaint that fails to correct
the deficiencies identified above, the Court may recommend
that this matter be dismissed.
Clerk is directed to send to plaintiff a copy of this Order
and a blank copy of a civil rights complaint form, and to
send a copy of this Order to the Honorable James L. Robart.