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Amaral v. Sequeira

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 14, 2016

DARREN K. AMARAL, #A0747000, Plaintiff,


Darren K. Watson United States District Judge

Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Darren K. Amaral's prisoner civil rights Complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Compl., Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff names Halawa Correctional Facility (HCF) Warden Francis X. Sequeira and HCF Medical Unit staff as Defendants. He alleges an unidentified HCF staff nurse has delayed, or may delay, prescribed medical treatment. Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b), with leave granted to amend.


Plaintiff's pleading is not on a court-approved prisoner civil rights complaint form, and is titled ''Affirmative Defense Medical Deliberate Indifference.'' Compl., Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff alleges that Jeanelle Ahuna, M.D., examined him at the Waikiki Health Clinic on March 10, 2016. Dr. Ahuna referred Plaintiff to Dr. Boneman, a thyroid specialist at the St. Francis Medical Healthcare Systems of Hawaii. On March 16, 2016, Dr. Boneman examined Plaintiff and recommended that he undergo tests and radiation therapy at The Queen's Medical Center (QMC). Plaintiff concludes that Dr. Boneman's recommendation for radiation treatment indicates that he has cancer. He worries that any delay in receiving these tests and radiation therapy may result in its worsening or spreading.

Six days later, on March 22, 2016, Plaintiff completed and signed the present Complaint, because he had not yet been scheduled for an appointment at QMC. The Complaint was mailed to the court on March 23, 2016; it was received and filed on March 28, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that HCF Medical Unit staff acted with deliberate indifference by waiting ''over a month'' to schedule him for an appointment at QMC. He concludes that this may result in his death and alleges that Defendants therefore violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment.


The court must screen all civil actions brought by prisoners regarding challenges to prison conditions or seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Complaints or claims must be dismissed if they are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (c)(1).

A complaint that lacks a cognizable legal theory or alleges insufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory fails to state a claim. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). A pleading 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). This does not demand detailed factual allegations, but requires ''more than an unadorned, the-defendant- unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.'' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). ''[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.''' Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

''Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.'' Id. A claim is plausible ''when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'' Id.

The court is not required to ''assume the truth of legal conclusions merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations.'' Fayer v. Vaughn, 649 F.3d 1061, 1064 (9th Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (quoting W. Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981)). A[C]onclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient.'' Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004); accord Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

Leave to amend should be granted if it appears the plaintiff can correct the defects in the complaint. Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). When it is clear the complaint cannot be saved by amendment, dismissal without leave to amend is appropriate. Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of L.A., 729 F.3d 1189, 1196 (9th Cir. 2013).


''To sustain an action under section 1983, a plaintiff must show '(1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a federal constitutional or statutory right.'" Hydrick v. Hunter, 500 F.3d 978, 987 (9th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted), vacated and remanded on other grounds, 556 U.S. 1256 (2009); see also West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Section 1983 requires a connection between a defendant's actions and a plaintiffs allegations. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978); Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976). AA person 'subjects' another to the deprivation of a constitutional right, within the meaning of section 1983, if he does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act which he is legally required to ...

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