United States District Court, D. Idaho
JEFFREY L. ACHESON Plaintiff,
JOSEPH FLEMING, Correctional Officers, individually and in his official capacity; IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION; CORIZON, (formerly Corizon Health, Inc., a Delaware Corporation), Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief U.S. District Court Judge
Court has before it a motion to dismiss and/or for summary
judgment filed by defendant Fleming. The motion is fully
briefed and at issue. For the reasons explained below, the
Court will grant the motion.
Acheson claims that defendant Fleming, a Correctional Officer
employed by the Idaho Department of Corrections, rejected his
pleas for medical treatment while he was suffering a heart
attack, and that the delay in treatment caused substantial
damage to his heart. Fleming responded by filing a motion to
dismiss or for summary judgment arguing that Acheson failed
to exhaust his administrative remedies and missed the
deadline for filing his Notice of Tort Claim under the Idaho
Tort Claims Act.
determine the facts for the purpose of this motion, the Court
has taken as true all the allegations set forth in
Acheson's Complaint and Declaration, and has not examined
any other extrinsic material. Nevertheless, because the Court
has examined Acheson's Declaration, the motion to dismiss
is converted into a motion for summary judgment. See
Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1166 (9th Cir. 2014)
(discussing procedure for resolving failure-to-exhaust claims
in PLRA litigation). There are no disputed issues of fact, at
least pertaining to the Court's resolution of this
motion, because the Court has taken as true all the
allegations of Acheson's Complaint and Declaration.
September 18, 2014, Acheson began experiencing severe chest
pains that radiated down his left arm and up his left neck.
His cellmate helped him to the medical unit where he told
Correctional Officer Fleming about his nausea and pain, and
requested immediate medical attention. Fleming told him that
there was no medical staff available to see him because they
were busy with another situation, and that he should return
to his bunk and wait for the inmate count to take place.
Acheson returned to his bunk but his condition worsened and
he returned to plead with Fleming for help, but Fleming again
told him to await the inmate count. Fleming told Acheson that
he would personally contact medical staff after the count was
was in “terrible pain” during the count and lost
consciousness. He awoke the next morning - September 19, 2014
- “physically drained, exhausted, and very sore.”
See Acheson Complaint (Dkt. No. 3) at ¶ 17. For
a third time, he asked Fleming to contact the medical staff,
but Fleming told him the staff members were too busy to
examine him and that they did not “respond to their
phones nor radio.” Id. at ¶ 19. Fleming
dismissed Acheson's complaints as being merely the flu.
Id. at ¶ 20.
that same day, Acheson was finally examined by medical
personnel who concluded that he had suffered a heart attack
the previous night, September 18, 2014. A few days later,
Acheson was troubled by “what I believed was
medical's lack of response to defendant Fleming's
call for medical assistance.” Acheson Declaration
(Dkt. No. 20-2) at ¶ 15. To investigate, he sought
“information as to whether defendant Fleming had
contacted them [Corizon] on September 18, 2014” by
filing a concern form with Corizon on September 25, 2014,
just six days after he learned that he had suffered a heart
attack. Id. A Corizon nurse responded, telling
Acheson that “medical had no way of tracking that
information.” Id. at ¶ 16.
not until July 28, 2015, that Acheson learned that Fleming
had never made a call on September 18, 2014. Acheson had been
complaining to another inmate about not getting a clear
answer from Corizon, and was overheard by Corporal Cheryl
Davis, who searched the prison's call logs and determined
that Fleming had made no call. Id. at ¶ 20.
next day, on July 29, 2015, Acheson filed a concern form with
the Idaho Department of Corrections (IDOC) for Fleming's
failure to contact the medical staff on September 18,
2014. Acheson argues that “I could not
file a grievance within 30 days of my heart attack with
Defendant Fleming because I did not have any conclusive
information that Defendant Fleming had in fact failed to
contact medical staff on September 18, 2014 for my immediate
medical needs.” Id. at ¶ 19. He goes on
to argue that “[u]ntil Corporal Davis told me that
Defendant Fleming had never called medical on September 18,
2014 or September 19, 2014, I did not know that I had been
wronged and that Defendant Fleming had, in fact, been
negligent in his duties giving me claim to grieve against
Defendant Fleming.” Id. at ¶ 24.
originally filed suit against Fleming, Corizon, and the IDOC.
His claims against Corizon and the IDOC were dismissed in an
Initial Review Order. See Initial Review Order (Dkt. No.
9). That same Order allowed the action to proceed
against Fleming on the federal claim of deliberate
indifference and on the state claim of gross negligence.
has filed a motion to dismiss arguing that Acheson failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies and failed to file a
Notice of Tort Claim within the time frame required by the
Idaho Tort Claims Act. As stated above, the Court will treat
the motion as a motion for summary judgment with ...