Moreno v. Beddome et al

Filing 26

ORDER The reference is withdrawn as to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16 ). Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) is denied. Signed by Judge David G Campbell on 8/2/2012.(KMG)

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1 2 JWB WO 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 Oscar Shaun Moreno, Plaintiff, 10 11 vs. 12 CJ Beddome, et al., 13 Defendants. 14 ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. CV 11-2333-PHX-DGC (SPL) ORDER 15 Plaintiff Oscar Shaun Moreno brought this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 16 against Maricopa County and three employees of the Fourth Avenue Jail (Doc. 1). Before 17 the Court is Defendants’ fully-briefed Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16). The Court will deny the 18 motion. 19 I. Background 20 Plaintiff’s claim arose during his confinement as a pretrial detainee in Maricopa 21 County’s Fourth Avenue Jail. Plaintiff alleged that in late June 2011, a small golf-ball-sized 22 hernia tore and became baseball-sized, causing extreme pain (id. at 3 ¶ 1). Plaintiff claimed 23 that when he eventually saw a medical provider, immediate surgery was recommended but 24 was not provided (id. ¶ 2). Further, he averred that he was denied medical care and 25 Correctional Health Services allowed his pain medication to run out on more than one 26 occasion (id.). Plaintiff claimed that because of the delay in receiving treatment he suffered 27 increasing pain and his hernia became softball-sized (id. ¶ 3). Plaintiff alleged that 28 Defendants had the power and authority to ensure he received the necessary hernia surgery, 1 but they failed to act (id. ¶ 5). With respect to Maricopa County, Plaintiff asserted that a 2 policy exists which is designed to deny and delay medical care to inmates. Plaintiff sought 3 compensatory and punitive damages (id. at 6 ¶ 1). The Court ordered Defendants Beddome, Downs, Garitson, and Maricopa County to 4 5 respond to the (Doc. 5).1 They move to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Doc. 16). 6 II. Legal Standard 7 A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint. North 8 Star Int’l v. Ariz. Corp. Comm’n, 720 F.2d 578, 581 (9th Cir. 1983). Dismissal of the 9 complaint, or any claim within it, may be based on either a “‘lack of a cognizable legal 10 theory’ or ‘the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.’” Johnson 11 v. Riverside Healthcare System LP, 534 F.3d 1116, 1121-22 (9th Cir. 2008) (quoting 12 Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). 13 “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be 14 supported by factual allegations.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ----, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 15 (2009). The complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible 16 on its face.” Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible if 17 the facts pled allow the court to make the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable. 18 Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must 19 contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to 20 relief.” 21 In determining whether a complaint states a claim under this standard, the allegations 22 in the complaint must be construed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. 23 Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir.1996). Pro se pleadings, 24 “however inartfully pleaded,” must be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings 25 drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Ortez v. Washington 26 27 28 1 Upon screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court dismissed Count II for failure to state a claim and Defendant Arpaio, Correctional Health Services, Medical Staff 1 to 20, and Detention Staff 1 to 20 as Defendants (Doc. 5). -2- 1 County, 88 F.3d 804, 807 (9th Cir. 1996). The rule of liberal construction of pleadings is 2 “particularly important in civil rights cases.” Ferdik v. Bonzelet, 963 F.2d 1258, 1261 (9th 3 Cir. 1992). 4 Finally, a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is almost never an appropriate 5 response when the court has already screened a prisoner complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 6 §1915A(b) and directed the defendant to respond. The standard for dismissal under Rule 7 12(b)(6) (“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted”) is identical to the 8 standard under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b) (“fail[ure] to state a claim upon which relief may be 9 granted”). After the Court has screened a prisoner complaint pursuant to § 1915A(b), a Rule 10 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss will be granted only if the defendant can convince the Court that 11 reconsideration is appropriate. 12 Motions for reconsideration should be granted only in rare circumstances. Defenders 13 of Wildlife v. Browner, 909 F. Supp. 1342, 1351 (D. Ariz. 1995). Mere disagreement with 14 a previous order is an insufficient basis for reconsideration. See Leong v. Hilton Hotels 15 Corp., 689 F. Supp. 1572, 1573 (D. Haw. 1988). Nor is reconsideration to be used to ask the 16 court to rethink what it has already thought through. United States v. Rezzonico, 32 F. 17 Supp.2d 1112, 1116 (D. Ariz. 1998). Reconsideration is only appropriate if the district court 18 “(1) is presented with newly discovered evidence, (2) committed clear error or the initial 19 decision was manifestly unjust, or (3) if there is an intervening change in controlling law.” 20 School Dist. No. 1J, Multnomah County v. ACandS, Inc., 5 F.3d 1255, 1263 (9th Cir. 1993). 21 “No motion for reconsideration shall repeat in any manner any oral or written argument made 22 in support of or in opposition to the original motion.” Motorola, Inc. v. J.B. Rodgers 23 Mechanical Contractors, Inc., 215 F.R.D. 581, 586 (D. Ariz. 2003). 24 III. Analysis 25 Defendants’ primary contention is that grievances filed by Plaintiff and the 26 Correctional Health Service’s grievance policy show that no deliberate indifference occurred 27 (Doc. 16 at 5-13). The motion is essentially a motion for summary judgment. Defendants 28 argue that the grievances and grievance policy were necessarily incorporated by reference -3- 1 in Plaintiff’s Complaint and can be relied on in granting their motion to dismiss, but a careful 2 review of Plaintiff’s pleading reveals no mention of these documents (Doc. 1 at 3-A ¶ 5). 3 Moreover, the documents require interpretation and analysis, unlike the SEC documents at 4 issue in the case cited by Defendants. See U.S. v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903, 908 (9th Cir. 2003). 5 Defendants themselves underscore this point by engaging in more than seven pages of 6 analysis of Plaintiff’s medical care on the basis of information found in the grievances. 7 Granting Defendants’ motion would require the Court to evaluate the appropriateness of 8 Plaintiff’s medical care on the basis of the grievance responses and without the benefit of 9 Plaintiff’s medical records or affidavits of medical personnel, and without providing Plaintiff 10 an opportunity to conduct discovery. Defendants’ motion to dismiss will therefore be denied. 11 Defendants alternatively argue that Plaintiff’s allegations are insufficient to state a 12 claim of deliberate indifference. As noted, however, the Court has already screened the 13 Complaint under a standard identical to that found in Rule 12(b)(6) and has determined that 14 the Complaint sufficiently states a claim for relief. Moreover, Defendants ignore the 15 requirement that pro se pleadings must be construed liberally. See Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 16 1152, 1158 (9th Cir. 2008). 17 IT IS ORDERED: 18 (1) The reference is withdrawn as to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16). 19 (2) Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) is denied. 20 DATED this 2nd day of August, 2012. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -4-

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