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Garza v. Tewalt

United States District Court, D. Idaho

October 30, 2019

ERINEO GARZA, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSH TEWALT, DEBBIE FIELD, DAVID McCLUSKEY, CINDY WILSON, RONA SIEGERT, AMANDA TILLEMANS, GEN BREWER, and MS. CAMMANN, Defendants.

          INITIAL REVIEW ORDER BY SCREENING JUDGE

          B. LYNN WINMILL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         The Complaint of Plaintiff Erineo Garza was conditionally filed by the Clerk of Court due to his status as a prisoner and pauper. (Dkts. 3, 1.) A “conditional filing” means that Plaintiff must obtain authorization from the Court to proceed. All prisoner and pauper complaints seeking relief against a government entity or official must be screened by the Court to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 & 1915A. The Court must dismiss any claims that state a frivolous or malicious claim, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         After reviewing the Complaint, the Court has determined that Plaintiff will be required to file an amended complaint if he desires to proceed.

         REVIEW OF COMPLAINT

         1. Standard of Law

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A complaint fails to state a claim for relief under Rule 8 if the factual assertions in the complaint, taken as true, are insufficient for the reviewing court plausibly “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Plaintiffs are required to state facts, and not just legal theories, in a complaint. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). In Iqbal, the Court made clear that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. In other words, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). If the facts pleaded are “merely consistent with a defendant's liability, ” the complaint has not stated a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         To state an Eighth Amendment claim regarding prison medical care, a complaint must contain facts alleging that prison officials' “acts or omissions [were] sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8 (1992) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04 (1976)). The Supreme Court has opined that “[b]ecause society does not expect that prisoners will have unqualified access to health care, deliberate indifference to medical needs amounts to an Eighth Amendment violation only if those needs are ‘serious.'” Id. The Ninth Circuit has defined a “serious medical need” in the following ways:

failure to treat a prisoner's condition [that] could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain; . . . [t]he existence of an injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment; the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual's daily activities; or the existence of chronic and substantial pain.

McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059-60 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997).

         Deliberate indifference exists when an official knows of and disregards a serious medical condition or when an official is “aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of harm exists, ” and actually draws such an inference. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 838 (1994). Deliberate indifference can be “manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once prescribed.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05 (1976). A complaint alleging that a defendant acted with deliberate indifference requires factual allegations that show “both ‘(a) a purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible medical need and (b) harm caused by the indifference.'” Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006).

         2. Summary of Allegations

         Plaintiff is an Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) prisoner. He asserts that he submitted a Corizon “Health Services Request” seeking dental care and new dentures or repair of his old dentures, but Dr. Cammann, the dentist, told Plaintiff he did not qualify for dentures based on Corizon's policy. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Gen Brewer, Amanda Tillemans, and Rona Siegert had opportunity to review Plaintiff's claim, and ignored Plaintiff's claims of pain and inability to eat resulting from his broken dentures.

         3. Discussion of Claims Against Corizon and the ...


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