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Del Rosario v. Saade

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 17, 2015

MELVIN DEL ROSARIO, Plaintiff,
v.
BARBARA SAADE, DAVID AGLER, ACEL THACKER, TOM KESSLER, TIM WENGLER, IDAHO CORRECTIONAL CENTER, CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, and IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

RONALD E. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Melvin Del Rosario, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Currently pending before the Court are (1) Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Defendants (Dkt. 20), and (2) Defendants Agler and Thacker's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 21). Other motions are also pending. All parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all proceedings in this case in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73. ( See Dkt. 30.)

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. See D. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting in part and denying in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, and denying Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Defendants.

BACKGROUND

This is Plaintiff's second civil rights action filed in this Court alleging that he received inadequate prison medical treatment for a painful back condition in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In Del Rosario v. Agler, Case No. 1:12-cv-00336-EJL, see Dkt. 46 (D. Idaho Feb. 26, 2014), Plaintiff asserted similar claims relating to medical decisions made by prison medical providers between July 2010 and July 2012. (Id. at 7.) The defendant in that case-Dr. David Agler, who is also a Defendant in the instant case-moved for dismissal on the grounds that Plaintiff did not exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) ("No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.").

United States District Judge Edward J. Lodge determined that only two of Plaintiff's grievances were fully exhausted. One of the exhausted grievances challenged the cost of a certain medical treatment, rather than the adequacy of the treatment itself, which did not state a colorable claim for relief. (Id. at 8.) And because Plaintiff submitted the other exhausted grievance-in July 2012-after he filed his civil rights action, that grievance could not serve to exhaust Plaintiff's claims in that action. (Id. at 9, citing Ahktar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1210 (9th Cir. 2012).)

However, because the Ninth Circuit had recently determined that a prisoner litigant can amend a complaint to add exhausted claims that arose before the filing of the original complaint, even if those claims were exhausted after the filing of that complaint, the Court considered whether to allow Plaintiff to amend the complaint to add claims related to the July 2012 grievance. (Id. at 10, citing Cano v. Taylor, 739 F.3d 1214, 1220-21 (9th Cir. 2014).) The Court concluded that Plaintiff's proposed amendment did not comply with Rule 8(a) and denied the motion to amend. (Id. at 12.) The Court therefore dismissed the case without prejudice and noted that Plaintiff could pursue his claims relating to the exhausted July 2012 grievance in a separate action. (Id. at 13.)

Plaintiff then filed the instant action, mostly asserting claims that arose from July 2012 to the time of filing, but also asserting some claims that arose in October and November 2010. ( See Compl., Dkt. 3, at 10.) The Court reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A and determined that the Complaint stated colorable Eighth Amendment medical treatment claims against Defendants Dr. Agler and Acel Thacker. (Initial Review Order, Dkt. 6.)

Defendants Agler and Thacker responded to the Complaint by filing a Motion to Dismiss. That Motion, like Plaintiff's Motion to Amend, is now ripe for adjudication.

DISCUSSION

1. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Defendants

Plaintiff seeks to amend his Complaint to add several Defendants. However, Plaintiff has not submitted a copy of the proposed amended complaint, in violation of Local Civil Rule 15.1, which provides that "[a]ny amendment to a pleading, whether filed as a matter of course or upon a motion to amend, must reproduce the entire pleading as amended." Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion to Amend will be denied.

2. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed because (1) Plaintiff's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, and (2) the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court will address these arguments in turn.

A. The Statute of Limitations Bars Some, but Not All, of Plaintiff's Claims

i. Standard of Law

Federal civil rights actions arising in Idaho are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. Idaho Code § 5-219; see also Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 280 (1985) (holding that state statute of limitation for personal injury actions governs § 1983 actions), abrogated on other grounds by Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 541 U.S. 369 (2004). The statute of limitations is tolled while the inmate exhausts administrative grievance ...


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