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Walker v. Aranas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 31, 2017

EVERETT WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
ROMEO ARANAS, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          WILLIAM G. COBB, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This Report and Recommendation is made to the Honorable Miranda M. Du, United States District Judge. The action was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the Local Rules of Practice, LR 1B 1-4.

         Before the court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint. (ECF No. 23.) Defendants did not file a response. After a thorough review, it is recommended that the motion be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. SCREENING

         A. Standard

         “The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or office or employee of a governmental entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). “On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).

         Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is provided for in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) track that language. Thus, when reviewing the adequacy of a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) or 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), the court applies the same standard as is applied under Rule 12(b)(6). See e.g. Watison v. Carter, 668 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2012). Review under 12(b)(6) is essentially a ruling on a question of law. See Chappel v. Lab. Corp. of America, 232 F.3d 719, 723 (9th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).

         In reviewing the complaint under this standard, the court must accept as true the allegations, construe the pleadings in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and resolve all doubts in the plaintiff's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969) (citations omitted). Allegations in pro se complaints are “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]” Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         A complaint must contain more than a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” it must contain factual allegations sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “The pleading must contain something more … than … a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Id. (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1216, at 235-36 (3d ed. 2004)). At a minimum, a plaintiff should state “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         A dismissal should not be without leave to amend unless it is clear from the face of the complaint that the action is frivolous and could not be amended to state a federal claim, or the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the action. See Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1106 (9th Cir. 1995); O'Loughlin v. Doe, 920 F.2d 614, 616 (9th Cir. 1990).

         B. Discussion

         Plaintiff filed his original Complaint, which the court screened, and the court determined Plaintiff could proceed with the following: a claim for violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) against McDaniel, Stroud, Buencamino, Moyle, Cox, Gedney and Baca based on allegations that he has a mobility disability requiring a wheelchair, and Defendants refused to accommodate him at High Desert State Prison (HDSP); and a claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs under the Eighth Amendment against McDaniel, Stroud, Buencamino, Moyle, Cox, Gedney and Baca, based on allegations they were aware of an order that he required a wheelchair but disregarded the risk of his not having a wheelchair at HDSP. (Screening Order, ECF No. 3.) The Complaint did not contain facts to support a claim against Romeo Aranas; therefore he was dismissed without prejudice. (Id.)

         Plaintiff now seeks leave to amend, and submits a proposed First Amended Complaint (FAC). (ECF No. 23.) The proposed FAC names Romeo Aranas, Tito Beuncamino, J. Murphy, Isidro Baca, Shannon Moyle, and Karen Gedney. (ECF No. 23 at 3-5.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants refused to provide him with necessary, physician-ordered hip replacement surgery; effective pain medication to treat pain associated with his degenerative hip disease; and transferred him to a non-ADA compliant facility where he was deprived of a wheelchair for sixteen months despite the fact that there was a medical order stating that he required a wheelchair and a “flat yard.” Specifically, he contends that in early 2015, Gedney, Moyle, and Baca classified Plaintiff to be transferred to HDSP, knowing of his medical restrictions. Once at HDSP, he filed a grievance complaining of extreme pain and difficulty using the toilet, shower, and accessing the dining hall related to being deprived of a wheelchair. He also noted the order for hip surgery. Murphy responded to the grievance, but Plaintiff claims she ignored his complaints of pain, and took no effort to see that Plaintiff got a wheelchair, walker or handicap cell. He filed a first level grievance, and Buencamino responded. Again, Plaintiff alleges that his requests for a wheelchair, pain relief and surgery were ignored. He filed a second level grievance, and Aranas responded. Plaintiff contends that Aranas ignored Plaintiff's medical concerns. He also contends that Aranas, a member of the Utilization Review Panel (URP), failed to submit Plaintiff's case concerning hip replacement surgery. Plaintiff goes on to allege that Gedney treated him while at Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC), and only prescribed him ibuprofen despite knowledge that this did not alleviate his pain.

         The court finds that Plaintiff states colorable claims for violation of the ADA and Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against Gedney, Moyle, Baca, Murphy, Buencamino and Aranas. See United States v. Georgia, 546 U.S. 151, 157 (2006) (prisoner may state an ADA claim based on ...


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