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Plant v. CMS

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 31, 2014

RODNEY PLANT, Plaintiff,
v.
CMS, CCA, KIM SPAULDING, DR. APRIL DAWSON, and DR. DAVID AGLER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), is proceeding pro se in this civil rights action. On August 28, 2013, the Court dismissed - pursuant to stipulation - all claims against Defendants Corrections of America (CCA) and Dr. David Agler. (Dkt. 68.) On September 18, 2013, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant Dr. April Dawson. (Dkt. 72.) Because Plaintiff was authorized to proceed on his Second Amended Complaint only against Defendants Spaulding, Dawson, and Agler (Dkt. 17), the only Defendant remaining in this case is Defendant Spaulding.

Pending before the Court is Defendant Spaulding's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 76). Plaintiff has not responded to this motion, despite the Court's express order on March 12, 2014 giving him thirty (30) days in which to file a response. (Dkt. 82, p. 6.) Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Accordingly, the Court will decide this matter on the record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. R. 7.1.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Plaintiff Rodney Plant ("Plaintiff") is an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections. He is currently housed at the Idaho Correctional Center ("ICC"). Between April 2004 and September 2005 and between October 2007 and November 2008, Plaintiff was housed at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution ("ISMI") (Dkt. 58-8, Affidavit of Dr. April Dawson in Support of Dr. April Dawson's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Dawson Aff."), Ex. A.) At all times relevant to Plaintiff Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was housed at ISMI.

On August 7, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint alleging deliberate indifference against Corizon, CCA, Kim Spaulding, Dr. April Dawson and Dr. David Agler for failing to timely replace his prosthetic leg, and for failing to provide him with a cane, crutch or wheelchair while his prosthetic leg was being replaced. (Dkt. 16.) Plaintiff claims he had to hobble on his broken prosthetic leg during this time period, resulting in permanent damage to his other leg and foot. ( Id. at ¶ 13.) On September 7, 2012, the Court reviewed the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and entered an Order permitting Plaintiff to proceed on his Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants Kim Spaulding, Dr. Dawson and Dr. Agler. (Dkt. 17.) Dr. Agler and Dr. Dawson have since been dismissed from the suit. (Dkt. 68, Dkt. 72.)

DEFENDANT SPAULDING'S MOTION TO DISMISS

Plaintiff alleges in his Second Amended Complaint that Defendant Spaulding is an employee of IDOC who served as a grievance coordinator during times at issue in this complaint. (Dkt. 16, ¶ 6.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Spaulding failed to timely provide him with a cane, crutch or wheelchair while his prosthetic leg was being replaced. ( Id. at ¶ 24.) He contends that Defendant's deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs violated his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. ( Id. at ¶ 25.)

In her Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Spaulding contends that she was not personally involved in any constitutional violation; Plaintiff does not allege that Spalding is a physician or had any supervisory control over the treating physicians at IMSI or had any involvement in his medical care. Defendant Spaulding also argues that a mere delay is not sufficient to allege personal involvement. Lastly, Spaulding contends that she is entitled to qualified immunity because there is no clearly established law requiring a "prison grievance coordinator who is not alleged to have any medical training nor alleged to have any supervisory authority over treating physicians to nonetheless contravene, interfere with, or second guess the decisions of those physicians." (Dkt. 76-1, p. 6.)

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). A defendant may move 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.

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 complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

When a court is considering a motion to dismiss, it must "consider only 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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