United States District Court, D. Idaho
DAVID K. HOSKINS, Plaintiff,
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), is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Currently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (Dkt. 47), filed by Defendants Smith, Siegert, Fisher, and Whittington ("the IDOC Defendants"). The Court has already determined that the motion to dismiss will be treated as a motion for summary judgment and has allowed discovery, further briefing, and submission of evidence. ( See Dkt. 65.) Defendants Fisher and Siegert have also filed a separate Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 79).
Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary. D. Idaho L. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting summary judgment to the IDOC Defendants. Further, the Court concludes on its own motion that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted with respect to the remaining Defendants. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). As a result, this entire action will be dismissed. The claims against the IDOC Defendants will be dismissed with prejudice; the claims against the remaining Defendants will be dismissed without prejudice.
PLAINTIFF'S PENDING MOTIONS
The Court has warned Plaintiff-no fewer than three separate times-that he may not file duplicative motions and that he may have no more than three motions pending at any given time. (Dkt. 20 at 10; Dkt. 41 at 2-3; Dkt. 65 at 11-12.) Despite these repeated warnings, Plaintiff has thirteen motions currently pending: (1) Motion To Court Clerk To Serve John Burke with Subpoenas for Defendants (Dkt. 66); (2) Motion To Inform Court That Previous Court Order Denied the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss So the Motion for Summary Judgment Should Be Denied as the Same and Motion for Court's Help (Dkt. 68); (3) Motion To Request All Electronic Emails To and About Hoskins from Shell Fisher (Dkt. 70); (4) Request for Production of Documents (Dkt. 72); (5) Motion to Request This Court To Provide a Pro Bono Attorney for Discovery (Dkt. 74); (6) Motion to Have Court's Help in Discovery Process (Dkt. 76); (7) Second Motion To Court Clerk To Serve John Burke with Subpoenas for Defendants (Dkt. 77); (8) Motion for Leave of Court To Amend Complaint and Dismiss Some Defendants and Add New Corizon Defendants (Dkt. 83); (9) Motion To Compel Corizon John Burke Elam to Provide Requested Addresses of Former Employees (Dkt. 84); (10) Motion for Denying Defendants Summary Judgment (Dkt. 88); (11) Motion for Court to Order Corizon or IDOC To Have Hoskins See a Specialist (Dkt. 89); (12) Motion to Reassign Judge B. Lynn Winmill from This Case (Dkt. 93); and (13) Pleading to Attorney General's Office to Get All Documents (Dkt. 94).
To the extent that the Court does not address any of Plaintiff's pending motions on the merits, those motions will be stricken as violating the Court's three previous Orders limiting any party to no more than three pending motions at any given time.
1. Plaintiff's Motion to Request This Court To Provide a Pro Bono Attorney for Discovery (Dkt. 74)
Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel to assist him in the discovery process. As the Court has previously stated, counsel may be appointed in civil cases only in exceptional circumstances, and whether counsel should be appointed turns on (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). ( See Dkt. 65 at 2-3.) Here, Plaintiff has not established that the Court should reconsider its previous denial of Plaintiff's request for counsel.
Plaintiff has struggled somewhat in articulating his legal positions. But it is clear from Plaintiff's filings that he understands these proceedings enough to act as his own counsel. Although Plaintiff's spelling is unique and phonetic, his arguments are understandable. Moreover, as the Court explains below, Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and the Court concludes that additional discovery would not alter the Court's analysis in this regard. Therefore, Plaintiff's claims Plaintiff's request for counsel will be denied.
2. Motion To Inform Court That Previous Court Order Denied the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss So the Motion for Summary Judgment Should Be Denied as the Same and Motion for Court's Help (Dkt. 68)
Plaintiff's has also filed a motion stating that the Court should not be an advocate for the Defendants and appears to claim that because the Court "denied" Defendants' Motion To Dismiss, it may not now consider Defendants' separate Motion for Summary Judgment.
The Court is not acting as an advocate and has no stake in this litigation. Indeed, the Court has endeavored to explain the litigation process to Plaintiff several times, and despite the Court's numerous warnings, Plaintiff has continued to violate the Court's orders and has had many motions stricken. Notwithstanding those violations, the Court has decided not to sanction Plaintiff. Any disadvantage Plaintiff may feel in this litigation is a natural result of his status as an incarcerated pro se litigant and his failure to follow the Court's orders; it cannot be laid at the Court's feet.
To the extent Plaintiff argues that the Court's previous discussion regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss prohibits the Court from considering the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court will construe the motion as part of Plaintiff's response to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Plaintiff's analysis on this issue is incorrect. The Court did not deny the Motion to Dismiss; instead, the Court elected to treat the motion as one for summary judgment, which is appropriate under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(d). (Dkt. 65.)
3. Motion To Request All Electronic Emails To and About Hoskins (Dkt. 70) and Request for Production of Documents (Dkt. 72)
These two motions are essentially discovery requests, which-as the Court previously informed Plaintiff-should not be filed with the Court. (Dkt. 65.) Thus, these Motions will be denied.
4. Plaintiff's Motion for Denying Defendants Summary Judgment (Dkt. 88)
The Court construes this motion as a response to the IDOC Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The Court has considered Plaintiff's arguments in this document, along with all of the parties' submissions in this case.
IDOC DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS and MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
1. Factual Background
This section includes facts that are undisputed and material to the resolution of the issues in this case. Where material facts are in dispute, the Court has included Plaintiff's version of facts, insofar as that version is not contradicted by clear documentary evidence in the record. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) ("When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.")
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff suffers from severe back pain, depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder, that he is intellectually disabled,  and that he has a low I.Q. (Am. Compl., Dkt. 11, at 6.) Plaintiff seeks to be housed in the Behavioral Health Unit ("BHU") of the Idaho State Correctional Institution. He claims that his back injury and mental illnesses are better managed in the BHU.
Plaintiff has both threatened and attempted suicide in the past and has been in and out of suicide watch cells multiple times. In 2012, prison guards had to cut Plaintiff down after he was "found [hanging] in his cell with a scrub shirt wrapped around his neck." (April 19, 2012 Report from St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Dkt. 58-4 at 1.) Plaintiff has also been found making weapons in his cell to attempt to harm himself. (Lodged Medical Records, Dkt. 57, L. Watson's Clinical Contact Note, dated April 18, 2012.) The Amended Complaint does not allege that any specific actions of the current Defendants contributed to any suicide attempt or any decision to make a weapon for that purpose.
Plaintiff's severe back pain has been caused by a disc herniation and a disc fragment impinging on a nerve root. Plaintiff, while incarcerated, underwent back surgery in 2010, during which the surgeon performed a hemilaminectomy and microdiscectomy. In January 2012, the surgeon recommended an additional surgery to treat Plaintiff's pain. (Affidavit of Joseph Cardona ("Cardona Aff."), Dkt. 79-3 at ¶ 5 and Ex. A.) Plaintiff initially agreed, then declined, to have the surgery. The surgeon noted that Plaintiff's symptoms were stable and that his pain was manageable. ( Id. at Ex. B.)
After another doctor later recommended that Plaintiff have surgery, Plaintiff decided that he would prefer to wait on any surgery until he was released from prison. It is undisputed that Plaintiff has refused surgery to permanently fix his back pain and that Plaintiff and his doctor "agreed to a medication plan that would help him manage his pain until he was released from prison." ( Id. at ¶ 6 and Ex. C.)
Plaintiff alleges in his Amended Complaint that Defendant Siegert, a registered nurse and the IDOC Healthcare Services Director, did not ensure that Plaintiff received an MRI. (Am. Compl. at 3-4.) However, Plaintiff's medical records reveal that he has, in fact, undergone three MRIs to diagnose his back problems while in custody. (Cardona Aff. at ¶ 7 at Ex. E, F, and G.) Plaintiff does not appear to dispute the accuracy of these records.
With respect to Defendant Johanna Smith, the former warden, Plaintiff alleges that she knew about Plaintiff's medical problems and did not help him. Plaintiff claims generally that Defendant Smith "took advantage of [Plaintiff's] inability and disability and low IQ, " but does not elaborate on any particular action taken by Defendant Smith, other than denying the administrative grievances that Plaintiff submitted with respect to his medical care. (Am. Compl. at 3.)
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Fisher knew that Plaintiff suffers from pain, depression, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, low IQ, and obsessive compulsive disorder, yet "neglect[ed] to provide [Plaintiff] the proper accommodations." ( Id. at 6.) Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant Fisher is personally involved in Plaintiff's medical care, only that she knew of his medical and mental health issues and therefore should have transferred him to the BHU.
As to Defendant Whittington, the grievance coordinator for the IDOC, Plaintiff claims that Whittington did not appropriately process Plaintiff's medical grievances because she would respond to grievances by ...