S.F. Cnty. Jail

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Case No. 18-01800 BLF (PR) (N.D. Cal. Sep. 12, 2018)

Case No. 18-01800 BLF (PR)




Plaintiff, who was formerly in custody at the San Francisco County Jail, filed the instant pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis will be addressed in a separate order.

This matter was reassigned to this Court on April 17, 2018, after Plaintiff declined magistrate judge jurisdiction. (Docket Nos. 6 & 9.) --------


A. Standard of Review

A federal court must conduct a preliminary screening in any case in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that are frivolous, 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. See id. § 1915A(b)(1), (2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be liberally construed. See Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). B. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff claims that on December 29, 2017, medical staff at the County Jail failed to provide him with the proper medication during morning pill call at 8 am. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff claims that when he notified them of the error, he was advised to "light a candle, drink a lot of water and say a prayer." (Id.) Plaintiff claims he did not receive medical attention again until 5:30 pm that night. (Id.) Liberally construed, Plaintiff appears to be attempting to state a claim for deficient medical care.

Deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled in part on other grounds by WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). A prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements are met: (1) the deprivation alleged is, objectively, sufficiently serious, and (2) the official is, subjectively, deliberately indifferent to the inmate's health or safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A "serious" medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain." McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059 (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104). A prison official is deliberately indifferent if he knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837.

Here, Plaintiff alleges a single incident where jail officials failed to provide his morning medication. However, he fails to allege sufficient facts to establish an Eighth Amendment claim. First of all, Plaintiff does not allege that he had a serious medical need that required medication, without which he could suffer further significant injury. See McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1059. But even if Plaintiff were to allege a sufficiently serious medical need, there is no indication that jail officials knew that Plaintiff would face a substantial risk of serious harm and disregarded that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it, i.e., provide proper medication. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. In fact, Plaintiff states that he was provided medical attention later the same day. Based on these allegations, it cannot be said that jail officials acted with deliberate indifference to any serious medical needs. An amendment could not cure these deficiencies because Plaintiff ultimately cannot state an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim based on what amounts to nothing more than an isolated incident of neglect. See O'Loughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 617 (9th Cir. 1990) (isolated occurrences of neglect may constitute grounds for medical malpractice but do not rise to level of unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain). Accordingly, Plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed, without leave to amend, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2).


For the foregoing reasons, the amended complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.

IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 9/12/2 018



United States District Judge