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Martinez v. State

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 24, 2017

REDDY M. MARTINEZ, Plaintiffs,


         Presently before the court is defendants James Dzurenda, Ted Hanf, Dwight Neven, and Brian Williams' (“defendants”) motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 18). Plaintiff Reddy M. Martinez (“plaintiff”) filed a response to the motion (ECF No. 24), and defendants subsequently replied (ECF No. 25). As an initial matter, the court will grant the parties' stipulation regarding the response deadline for the instant motion. (ECF No. 23).

         I. Background

         Plaintiff brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that occurred while he was incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (“HDSP”) and the Pioche Conservation Camp (“PCC”) under the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”). (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff was a prisoner when the present complaint was filed but has since been discharged from custody. (ECF No. 24 at 2).

         On February 27, 2012, plaintiff was taking a shower when the unit correctional officer, Mr. Bass, told him “to hurry up” and finish bathing so that he could line up to take medication unrelated to the current claim. (ECF No. 1-2 at 8). While stepping out of the shower, plaintiff slipped and subsequently injured his right bicep by falling on the cement edging surrounding the bathing area. (Id.). Plaintiff informed Mr. Bass and “Nurse Patty” about his fall, showed them his bicep, and requested that he be granted immediate medical care, which was denied. (Id.). Neither Mr. Bass nor “Nurse Patty” filed an incident report. (Id.).

         Plaintiff filed an informal grievance stating that he had been denied appropriate medical assistance on May 9, 2012, which was denied on June 25, 2012. (Id. at 10, 15). In response to the denied informal grievance, plaintiff then submitted a first-level grievance on June 25, 2012, which was denied on August 22, 2012, by the HDSP warden and a medical care associate. (Id. at 10).

         While his first-level grievance was pending, plaintiff met with an unnamed surgeon on August 4, 2012, who told plaintiff “that too much time had elapsed and it was too late to perform surgery” to repair the injured bicep. (Id. at 10).

         Plaintiff submitted his second-level grievance on September 7, 2012, which was denied on October 8, 2012, for reasons in accordance “with the first level response.” (Id. at 11). Plaintiff had also filed a medical kite to which Linda Adams responded on September 9, 2012, that he was “on the list.” (Id. at 12). Plaintiff alleges that such a response suggests that he would be treated when medical personnel “fe[lt]-like-getting-around-to-it, ” and the delay caused “permanent and lasting” injury to his bicep in violation of the Eighth Amendment.[1] (Id. at 12).

         Since October 19, 2012, plaintiff has filed numerous additional kites and an additional grievance, was transferred to PCC, and has been discharged from NDOC custody. (Id. at 13). Plaintiff filed his first complaint on April 5, 2013, which was dismissed following a telephonic conference on June 25, 2015, during which plaintiff acknowledged that the defendants “were not served with the [c]omplaint.” (ECF No. 25-1 at 3). Plaintiff submitted additional complaints after the first complaint's dismissal. (ECF Nos. 24-1, 24-3, 24-6). He filed the current complaint in state district court on February 26, 2016, which defendants removed to this court. (ECF No. 1). The first defendants were served on June 16, 2016. (ECF No. 1-3).

         II. Legal Standard

         The court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide “[a] short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it does require more than labels and conclusions. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Furthermore, a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not suffice. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677 (2009) (citation omitted). Rule 8 does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Id. at 678-79.

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. A claim has facial plausibility 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. When a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, and shows only a mere possibility of entitlement, the complaint does not meet the requirements to show plausibility of entitlement to relief. Id.

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering a motion to dismiss. Id. First, the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint. However, this requirement is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Id. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id. at 678. Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged - but not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679. When the allegations in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, plaintiff's claim must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         The Ninth Circuit addressed post-Iqbal pleading standards in Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). The Starr court held:

First, to be entitled to the presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively. Second, the factual allegations that are taken as true must plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not ...

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