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Workman v. Siegert

United States District Court, D. Idaho

May 7, 2018

TRACY WORKMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
RONA SIEGERT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief U.S. District Court Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         The Court has before it defendants' motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion to amend complaint. The motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny the motion to amend and grant the motion for summary judgment.

         LITIGATION BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Workman is a prisoner incarcerated at Idaho State Correctional Center (“ISCC”). He has sued several prison officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that they were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs as a diabetic.

         Workman alleges that, when he arrived at ISCC in January of 2015, medical providers provided a different brand of insulin than the brand he had been successfully using (Navalog). He alleges that this new brand of insulin did not work as effectively as Navalog and, as a result, caused him to suffer from seizures. The medical staff, Workman alleges, failed to treat those seizures and refused to refer him to an outside seizure specialist for treatment. Workman also alleges that he told prison officials when he entered the institution that he had a serious blood infection - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) - but that it went untreated, and that he “almost died” from the lack of treatment. See Complaint (Dkt. No. 3) at pg. 17.

         On March 15, 2016, the Court entered an Initial Review Order (IRO) dismissing some defendants and some claims, but allowing the lawsuit to proceed “against those defendants who allegedly (1) personally participated in [Workman's] medical treatment for his diabetes and who exhibited deliberate indifference to [Workman's] health, or (2) reviewed his complaints about the medical treatment for his diabetes and had the responsibility to remedy the allegedly inadequate care, yet failed to do so.” See IRO (Dkt. No. 9) at pg. 17. The IRO gave Workman the opportunity to amend his complaint if he found facts sufficient to support a claim on which he was not allowed to proceed. Id. at pg. 20.

         About a month after the IRO was filed, Workman filed an “Amended Complaint” that sought to add claims against two defendants who had been dismissed in the IRO. See Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 17). The Court issued a second IRO, finding the claims in the Amended Complaint to be too vague under the standard set by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). The Court stated that it was dismissing the Amended Complaint “because it fails to state a plausible claim for relief, ” and that the initial Complaint “remains the operative complaint in this case.” See Order (Dkt. No. 25) at pp. 3, 6.

         On March 8, 2017, the Court entered a Scheduling Order that directed the parties to disclose all relevant information and documents by April 8, 2017, to file any motions to amend by June 8, 2017, to complete all discovery by September 8, 2017, and to file dispositive motions by October 8, 2017. See Scheduling Order (Dkt. Ord. 40).

         The deadlines for motions to amend and discovery passed, and Workman never filed a motion to amend. On October 4, 2017, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Workman sought, and obtained, a two-month continuance to file a response brief to the motion for summary judgment. He filed that response on January 24, 2018, and also filed on the same day a motion for leave to amend his complaint.

         After reviewing the applicable legal standards, the Court will evaluate first the motion to amend and will then turn to the motion for summary judgment.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to maintain an Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an inmate must show “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). In the Ninth Circuit, the test for deliberate indifference consists of two parts. Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2006). First, the plaintiff must show a “serious medical need” by demonstrating that “failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Id. at 1096. Second, the plaintiff must show the defendant's response to the need was deliberately indifferent. Id. at 1060.

         The deliberate indifference requirement is satisfied by showing (a) a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need and (b) harm caused by the indifference. Id. Indifference “may appear when prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with medical treatment, or it may be shown by the way in which prison physicians provide medical care.” Id. Yet, an “inadvertent [or negligent] failure ...


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