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Hicks v. Pastor

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

October 8, 2019

Ronnie Lee Hicks II, Plaintiff,
v.
Paul Pastor et al., Defendants.

          ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

          David W. Christel, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Ronnie Lee Hicks II, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed and screened Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve Plaintiff's Complaint but provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by November 8, 2019, to cure the deficiencies identified herein.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, who is a pre-trial detainee housed at Pierce County Jail, alleges his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated when he was denied replacement prescription bi-focal eyeglasses. Dkt. 9.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and asks to be transported to his current optometrist for an exam and prescription glasses of his choice. Dkt. 9 at 4.

         DISCUSSION

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must “dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint: (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” Id. at (b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “requires a complaint to include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554 (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). In addition, the complaint must include more than “naked assertions, ” “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-557.

         In order to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show: (1) he suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The first step in a § 1983 claim is therefore to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). To satisfy the second prong, a plaintiff must allege facts showing how individually named defendants caused, or personally participated in causing, the harm alleged in the complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981).

         Plaintiff's Complaint suffers from deficiencies requiring dismissal if not corrected in an amended complaint.

         A. Medical Treatment

         Plaintiff alleges he was denied replacement prescription bi-focal eyeglasses. Dkt. 9. A pretrial detainee's right to adequate medical care arises under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Gordon v. Cnty. of Orange, 888 F.3d 1118, 1120 (9th Cir. 2018). The elements of such a claim are: (1) “the defendant made an intentional decision with respect to the conditions under which the plaintiff was confined”; (2) “those conditions put the plaintiff at substantial risk of suffering serious harm”; (3) “the defendant did not take reasonable available measures to abate that risk, even though a reasonable official in the circumstances would have appreciated the high degree of risk involved-making the consequences of the defendant's conduct obvious”; and (4) “by not taking such measures, the defendant caused the plaintiff's injuries.” Id. at 1125.

         With respect to the second element, a medical need is serious “if the failure to treat the prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.'” McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). “The existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment; the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual's daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain are examples of indications that a prisoner has a ‘serious' need for medical treatment.” McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059-1060.

         Here, Plaintiff alleges he was denied replacement prescription bi-focal glasses and as a result, he saw spots in his vision. Dkt. 9 at 3. Plaintiff alleges he wears two pairs of 2.00 reading glasses at the same time and an additional third pair of 3.25 reading glasses to read and write. Dkt. 9 at 2. However, aside from complaining of spots in his vision, Plaintiff does not allege he suffered from any harm or injury as a result of the lack of replacement prescription bi-focal eyeglasses or the lack of replacement prescription bi-focal eyeglasses affected his daily activities. Therefore, Plaintiff has not alleged facts demonstrating the denial of replacement prescription bi-focal eyeglasses put him at a substantial risk of suffering serious harm. See Gordon, 888 F.3d at 1120; McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059-1060; Rodriguez v. D'Agostini, 2018 WL 1256766, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 12, 2018) (dismissing claim where plaintiff required reading glasses finding the plaintiff had not alleged a serious medical need); Canell v. Multnomah Cnty.,141 F.Supp.2d 1046, 1057 (D. Or. 2001) (deprivation of reading glasses does not state Eighth Amendment claim) (internal citation omitted); Morales v. Cal. Forensic Medical Group, Inc., 2010 WL 1404762, at *2 (E.D. Cal. Apr. 6, 2010) (dismissing with leave to amend where plaintiff requested glasses for poor vision and noting “an Eighth Amendment claim can be stated if, after confiscation of glasses and subsequent denial of medical treatment, significant consequences result.”); Bernardino v. Sandoval, 2017 WL 4391705, at *4 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 3, 2017) (dismissing complaint without leave to amend where plaintiff alleged defendants broke his glasses during cell search, but ...


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