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Warren v. Corizon Health

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 19, 2015

JOHN F. WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH; DR. APRIL DAWSON, M.D.; MICHAEL TAKAGI, PA-C; DIANE DICE, PA-C; STEVEN STEDTFELD, PA-C; DAVID FOSS, NP RYAN VALLEY, HSA; BRISTY DELAOE; JOHN DOE PROVIDER; JANE DOE PROVIDER; STEVEN LITTLE, WARDEN; BRENT REINKE, DIRECTOR OF IDAHO DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

CANDY W. DALE, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court in this prisoner civil rights matter is Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint. (Dkt. 28.) The motion is now fully briefed.

Having fully 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 will decide this matter on the written motion, briefs and record without oral argument. Dist. Idaho L. Rule 7.1(d). The Court makes the following report and recommendation.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), filed his complaint against Defendants on January 10, 2014, alleging that Corizon Health allows its medical providers to prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Ibuprofen, Meloxicam (Mobic), and Naproxen, that are known to cause intestinal bleeding and other health problems if used over a long period of time. Plaintiff claims that the decisions of Defendant medical providers- Dr. April Dawson, Michael Takagi, Diana Dice, Steven Stedtfeld, and David Foss-to prescribe him this type of medication for four years has caused him to suffer from colon ulcers, intestinal bleeding, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, and other injuries known to be linked to the use of NSAIDs. He alleges that each Defendant acted with deliberate indifference in prescribing these medications to Plaintiff without providing precautionary information, knowing that the medications would cause Plaintiff injury. Additionally, Plaintiff brought state law claims under the Court's supplemental jurisdiction.

On May 7, 2014, the Court entered its initial review order allowing certain claims to proceed.[1] As to the state law claims, the Court articulated that Plaintiff had not clearly stated which type of state law claims he wished to pursue, and allowed him to file an amended complaint to clarify the causes of action in the Complaint. Later, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted in part and denied in part, leaving the Section 1983 claims regarding over-prescription of NSAID medications and intestinal bleeding remaining.

On January 15, 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint to add claims asserted under the Eighth Amendment against Defendants April Dawson, MD, and Corizon Health. As against Dr. Dawson, Plaintiff alleges that, for a period of twenty-four days, she failed to give Plaintiff a medication recommended by a specialist physician to treat his ulcerative colitis. (Dkt. No. 28-1 at 1.) Specifically, Asacol HD was recommended by a specialist who prescribed it. He alleges that Dr. Dawson did in fact order the prescribed medication, but it was not approved, [2] thereby resulting in Plaintiff receiving a "low-rate formulary medication that was not recommended by the specialist." Id . The records attached to the proposed amended complaint indicate an alternative medication, Colazal, was recommended as a substitute.[3]

As against Corizon, Plaintiff alleges that it maintains policies that "force providers to only order from a formulary list of low cost and cut rate medications that do not work as well... and causes a undue delay in medical care." (sic) (Dkt. No. 28-1 at 3.)

Defendants oppose the motion to amend on the grounds that the proposed amendments are futile, because the allegations fail to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment. Defendants ask also that three pages of medical records inadvertently disclosed to Plaintiff during discovery pertaining to two other inmates, and attached to Plaintiff's motion, be stricken from the record and returned to Defendants or be destroyed. ( See Dkt. 28-1 at 5-7.)

REPORT

1. Rule 15 Standard

Under the federal rules, the Court "should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). In making that discretionary decision:

[A] court must be guided by the underlying purpose of Rule 15-to facilitate decision on the merits rather than on the pleadings or technicalities. This court has noted on several occasions that the Supreme Court has instructed the lower federal courts to heed carefully the command of Rule 15(a)... by freely granting leave to amend when justice so requires. Thus ...

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