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Hoskins v. CMS Medical

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 5, 2014

DAVID K. HOSKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CMS MEDICAL, CORIZON, JOHANNA SMITH, BLADES, RONA SIEGERT, STACY MCGREW, SARA GOFF, DEBBIE RICHARDSON, LPN DEANN, DR. MYUNG SONG, SHELL FISHER, SCOTT ELIASON, AND JILL WHITTINGTON, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

EDWARD J. LODGE, District Judge.

Plaintiff David K. Hoskins, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants have violated his Eighth Amendment right to adequate prison medical care. Pending before the Court are the following motions: (1) Plaintiff's Single Motion for a Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 31), which Plaintiff filed in response to the Court's November 26, 2013 Order (Dkt. 20); (2) Plaintiff's request for reconsideration of the Court's decision denying appointment of counsel (Dkt. 53); and (3) a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) filed by Defendants Smith, Siegert, Whittington and Fisher (the "IDOC Defendants") (Dkt. 47). Plaintiff has six other pending motions, despite the Court's repeated instructions that no party may have more than three motions pending at any given time. ( See Dkt. 20 at 10; Dkt. 41 at 2-3.)

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. See D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order denying Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and notifying the parties that the Court will convert the IDOC Defendants' Motion to Dismiss into a Motion for Summary Judgment.

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DENIAL OF APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

The Court will first address Plaintiff's request that the Court reconsider its previous decision denying the appointment of counsel. Unlike criminal defendants, prisoners and indigents in civil actions have no constitutional right to counsel unless their physical liberty is at stake. Lassiter v. Dep't of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18, 25 (1981). Whether a court appoints counsel for indigent litigants is within the court's discretion. Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986).

In civil cases, counsel should be appointed only in "exceptional circumstances." Id. To determine whether exceptional circumstances exist, the court should evaluate two factors: (1) the likelihood of success on the merits of the case, and (2) the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of legal issues involved. Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991). Neither factor is dispositive, and both must be evaluated together. Id.

Because, as the Court concludes below, Plaintiff has not shown that he is likely to prevail on the merits of his claims, and because the Eighth Amendment issues in this matter are not novel or complex, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration will be denied.

IDOC DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

United States Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush previously screened Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A and determined that it appeared to state a colorable Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Smith, Siegert, McGrew, Goff, Richardson, Deann, Song, Wamble-Fisher, Eliason, and Whittington. (Dkt. 20 at 2.) The Court noted, however, that "Defendants may still file a motion for dismissal or motion for summary judgment if the facts and law support such a motion." ( Id. at 4.) The case was then briefly assigned to Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill, but it was reassigned to the undersigned judge on February 26, 2014. (Dkt. 64.)

The IDOC Defendants now seek to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, arguing that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

1. Standard of Law

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). A defendant may file a motion to dismiss a complaint if that complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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.

When considering a motion to dismiss, courts may look only to "allegations contained in the pleadings, exhibits attached to the complaint, and matters properly subject to judicial notice.'" Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting ...


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