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Hanson v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 29, 2014



B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Pending before the Court are Defendants Smith and Siegert's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (Dkt. 35.) The Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, and thus the Court will decide this matter on the written motions, briefs, and record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d). Having reviewed the record, and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court grants in part and denies in part the Motion to Dismiss and enters the following Order.


Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) and is currently housed at Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI). He is proceeding in this action pro se. Beginning some time in 2009, Plaintiff alleges he began having problems urinating and had an enlarged prostate gland, so a biopsy was performed at an off-site urology clinic. (Compl., Dkt. 3, p. 6.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant Dawson refused to provide him the results of his biopsy, and that he had to wait until October 2010 when Plaintiff finally returned to the urologist who told him the results of the biopsy and that he had prostate cancer. ( Id., p. 7.) Plaintiff had surgery in January 2011 to remove his prostate gland, and alleges that ISCI medical staff then delayed Plaintiff's follow-up visit to the surgeon until August 2011, when he was finally able to complain to the surgeon that "he had been experiencing a lot of continued difficulty or problems." ( Id. ) Plaintiff contends that "Defendants acted with malicious intent to deliberately delay Plaintiff's medical treatment in order to save money" which resulted in "many days of unnecessary pain and great emotional distress." ( Id., p. 8.)

On October 31, 2011, Plaintiff filed his Complaint alleging that Defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment and were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs throughout the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care for his prostate cancer in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state medical malpractice laws. (Dkt. 3.) The Court then sent Plaintiff an Order of Conditional Filing, advising him that he could not proceed with his case until the Court issued an initial review order. (Dkt. 6.)

The Initial Review Order was issued on April 23, 2012. (Dkt. 12). The Court denied Plaintiff's application for in forma pauperis status and permitted Plaintiff to proceed only against the individual Defendants at that time. ( Id., p. 10.)

Defendants Smith and Siegert move to dismiss that complaint against them on the grounds that they were not personally involved with the alleged constitutional violations, there is insufficient facts to support negligence and there is no legal basis for a state constitutional claim. (Dkt. 35.)

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 Swartz v. KPMG LLP, 476 F.3d 756, 763 (9th Cir.2007) (per curiam)).

2. Standard of Law for Section 1983 Claims

Plaintiff brings his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the civil rights statute. To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute proximately caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state law. Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). Section 1983 is "not itself a source of substantive rights, ' but merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights ...

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