Ayala v. Ayers et al

Filing 83

ORDER DENYING AS MOOT 80 First Motion to Appear by Telephone and DENYING 75 Amended Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Jeffrey S. White on October 2, 2012. (jswlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/2/2012)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 REYNALDO AYALA, 10 Plaintiff, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 9 12 No. C 10-00979 JSW v. ROBERT AYERS, JR, ET AL., 13 ORDER DENYING EDMONDS’ MOTION TO DISMISS Defendants. / 14 15 Now before the Court is the motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Jeffrey Edmonds, 16 LVN (“Edmonds”), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a 17 claim upon which relief can be granted and as time-barred under the statute of limitations.1 The 18 Court finds that this matter is appropriate for disposition without oral argument and it is hereby 19 deemed submitted. See Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Accordingly, the hearing set for December 14, 2012 20 is HEREBY VACATED.2 Having carefully reviewed the parties’ papers, considered their 21 arguments and the relevant legal authority, the Court hereby DENIES Edmonds’ motion to 22 dismiss. BACKGROUND 23 24 Plaintiff Reynaldo Ayala, a state prisoner housed at San Quentin State Prison, filed a 25 claim alleging a single cause of action for deliberate indifference to serious medical need, in 26 violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, against Edmonds, a nurse at the prison’s Adjustment 27 It appears from Defendant Edmonds’ reply that he has correctly abandoned the argument which has been already rejected by the Court that Plaintiff’s claims are timebarred. See Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 352.1(a). 1 28 2 As the hearing on the motion is vacated, the motion to appear by telephone is moot. 1 Center. In his second amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, after he was beaten by co- 2 defendant Correctional Officers, Nurse Edmonds, without performing a medical examination 3 but instead examining him from several feet away through a transparent wall of a holding cage, 4 declared Plaintiff medically cleared. (Second Amended Complaint, ¶¶ 20, 21, 38-40.) Plaintiff 5 alleges that he was visibly bleeding from the head and was bruised. (Id. at ¶ 20.) Plaintiff 6 alleges that he reported that his face and ribs hurt, that his head ached, and that he felt dazed 7 and disoriented. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that Edmonds cleared him medically “at the 8 behest of and with the encouragement of” his co-defendant Officers, “who were aware that 9 Plaintiff was in need of medical treatment.” (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that he was not referred to a doctor or other medical professional for treatment of his injuries. (Id.) Lastly, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 Plaintiff alleges that Edmonds “acted with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s serious medical 12 needs by a doctor despite observing Plaintiff’s visible head wounds, and despite Plaintiff’s 13 statement that he felt dazed and was suffering from pain in his head, face, and ribs.” (Id. at ¶ 14 40.) After Plaintiff continued to experience pain from the alleged assaults, he was finally 15 permitted to see the Adjustment Center unit doctor over a week after Plaintiff initially sustained 16 his injuries. The doctor prescribed Norco for Plaintiff’s continued pain. (Id. at ¶ 24.) 17 Edmonds moves to dismiss the single claim against him pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 18 for deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s serious medical need in violation of the Eighth 19 Amendment. 20 21 ANALYSIS A. Standard on Motion to Dismiss. 22 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal upon the plaintiff’s “failure 23 to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The complaint is 24 construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all material allegations in the 25 complaint are taken to be true. Sanders v. Kennedy, 794 F.2d 478, 481 (9th Cir. 1986). A 26 district court should grant a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff has not plead “enough facts to 27 state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 28 570 (2007). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need 2 1 detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the grounds of entitlement relief 2 requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause 3 of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks and citations 4 omitted). “Conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a 5 motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.” In re Syntex Corp. Sec. Litig., 95 F.3d 922, 926 6 (9th Cir. 1996). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the 7 speculative level ...” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 (citations omitted). In addition, the pleading 8 must not merely allege conduct that is conceivable, but it must also be plausible. Id. at 570. 9 B. Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Need. Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth Amendment’s 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976); 12 McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds by WMX 13 Technologies, Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc). A serious medical 14 need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner’s condition could result in further significant injury 15 or the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Id. (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104). A 16 prison official is deliberately indifferent if he knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of 17 serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable steps to abate it. Farmer v. 18 Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994). In order for deliberate indifference to be established, there 19 must be a purposeful act or failure to act on the part of the defendant and resulting harm. See 20 McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060. Neither a finding that a defendant’s actions are egregious nor that 21 they resulted in significant injury to a prisoner is required to establish a violation of the 22 prisoner’s federal constitutional rights. Id. at 1060, 1061 (citing Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 23 1, 7-10 (1992)). Deliberate indifference may be shown where access to medical staff is 24 meaningless as the staff is not competent and does not render competent care. See Lolli v. 25 County of Orange, 351 F.3d 410, 420-21 (9th Cir. 2003). 26 In this case, at this procedural posture and viewed in the light most favorable to 27 Plaintiff, Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts to give fair notice of his claim against Edmonds 28 for deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Plaintiff alleges facts indicating that he 3 1 suffered injuries creating an inference of serious medical condition that could result in further 2 significant injury and sufficient facts indicating the defendant’s response manifested deliberate 3 indifference to the need. See, e.g., Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096-97 (9th Cir. 2006); see 4 also Hunt v. Dental Department, 865 F.2d 198, 200 (9th Cir. 1989). 5 6 CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant Edmonds’ motion to dismiss. 7 8 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: October 2, 2012 JEFFREY S. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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