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Loftis v. Wengler

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 14, 2014

KIRK LOFTIS, Plaintiff,


EDWARD J. LODGE, District Judge.

Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) and is represented by counsel in this civil rights action alleging violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right to adequate prison medical care. Now pending before the Court is Defendant Martin's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). (Dkt. 37.) As the Court noted in its Order dated May 28, 2013, Defendant Martin is the only remaining Defendant against whom Plaintiff may proceed. (Dkt. 35 at 3-4.) Plaintiff claims Defendant Martin violated the Eighth Amendment by failing to ensure that Plaintiff received adequate medical treatment for a broken wrist.

Having carefully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and record and that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Therefore, the Court shall decide this matter on the written motions, briefs and record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting Defendant Martin's Motion and dismissing this case with prejudice.


The events giving rise to Plaintiff's claims occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC), a prison operated by a private company under contract with the IDOC. In the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in late 2010, he "fell on any icy exercise yard, breaking his left wrist and injuring his left thumb." (Sec. Am. Compl., Dkt. 32-2 & 40, at ¶ 12.) Medical staff did not "immediately treat" Plaintiff's injuries, but later gave him over-the-counter pain medication and an ace bandage. ( Id. at ¶ 13.) X-rays were taken in January 2011, but Plaintiff was not given any diagnosis. ( Id. at ¶ 15.)

Because Plaintiff was still in pain six months later, medical staff took another set of X-rays, but Plaintiff again did not receive a diagnosis. ( Id. at ¶ 16.) A cat scan was performed sometime after the second X-ray, and it was not until ten months after the injury that "someone at ICC medical admitted to the Plaintiff that his wrist was broken." ( Id. at ¶ 17.) Plaintiff continued to suffer delays in his medical treatment despite filing numerous grievances. Plaintiff states that he "complained of his situation to Defendant Zara Martin to no avail." ( Id. at ¶ 20.)

Plaintiff alleges that at the time giving rise to Plaintiff's claims, Defendant Martin "was employed by the [IDOC] as a contract monitor. Martin was under a duty to see that prisoners receive reasonably adequate medical care. Martin was under a duty to investigate and report violations of IDOC's contracts... as well as other violations of the law that occur within those contracts." ( Id. at ¶ 6.)

The Second Amended Complaint contains no other specific allegations against Defendant Martin.


1. Standard of Law Applicable to a Motion to Dismiss

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires "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 Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss "does not need detailed factual allegations, " it must set forth "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id.

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. 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. at 556. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement, " but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. Where a complaint pleads facts that are "merely consistent with" a defendant's liability, it "stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. at 557 (alteration omitted).

The Supreme Court has identified two "working principles" that underlie this dismissal standard. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Id. "Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions." Id. at 678-79. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id. at 679. "Determining whether a ...

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