Vasquez v. Davis et al
ORDER Directing Plaintiff to File Amended Complaint, by Magistrate Judge Boyd N. Boland on 6/19/14. (morti, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 14-cv-01433-BNB
JIMMY JOSEPH VASQUEZ,
JEANNE DAVIS, In her Individual and Official Capacity as Health Physician,
NEUFELD ORVILLE, In her Individual and Official Capacity as Health Physician,
GABEL CHAMJOCK, In his Individual and Official Capacity as (PAC) Physician
MAYUIZICE FAUVEL, In his Individual and Official Capacity as(PAC) Physician
KATHLEEN MELLOW, In her Individual and Official Capacity as(PAC) Physician
JOANN STOCK, In her Individual and Official Capacity as (PAC) Physician
BRIAN WEBSTER, In his Individual and Official Capacity as (PAC) Physician
BEVERLY DOWIS, In her Individual and Official Capacity as Health Service
Administrator for SCF,
KAREN SCHMEDEKE, Nurse Manager of PHP/CHP, In her Individual and Official
Capacity as Clinical Service,
STEVEN KREGS MD, Chief Medical Officer fo Health Partner (CHP), In his Individual
and Official Capacity as Certified in Internal Medicine,
PATRICIA FIX, In her Individual and Official Capacity as Clinical Services for SCF,
DEBRA NICHOLSON, In her Individual and Official Capacity asa Records Technician
(Nonmedical Professional) and a Grievance Coordinator at SCF,
PHIPPS RAMONA, In her Individual and Official Capacity as a Case Manager at SCF,
MARTORANO, In her Individual and Official Capacity as a Case Manager at SCF,
PHYSICIAN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC. (PHP), dba HEALTH CORRECTIONAL
PARTNERS 9CHP, in its Individual and Official Capacity as the Administration
of Managed Health Care to Inmates at SCF and Other CDOC Operated
JOHN & JANE DOES, Number 1 Through 25, In their Individual and Official Capacity as
Employees for SCF,
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, Jimmy Joseph Vasquez, is in the custody of the Colorado Department of
Corrections at the Sterling Correctional Facility at Sterling, Colorado. Plaintiff initiated
this action by filing, pro se, a Prisoner Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On
June 13, 2014, Plaintiff paid the $400 filing fee pursuant to Court order.
The Court must construe Plaintiff’s Complaint liberally because he is not
represented by an attorney. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). However, the Court cannot act as an
advocate for a pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. For the reasons stated
below, Plaintiff will be directed to file an Amended Complaint.
The twin purposes of a complaint are to give the opposing parties fair notice of
the basis for the claims against them so that they may respond and to allow the Court to
conclude that the allegations, if proven, show that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See
Monument Builders of Greater Kansas City, Inc. v. American Cemetery Ass’n of
Kansas, 891 F.2d 1473, 1480 (10th Cir. 1989). The requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8
are designed to meet these purposes. See TV Communications Network, Inc. v. ESPN,
Inc., 767 F. Supp. 1062, 1069 (D. Colo. 1991), aff’d, 964 F.2d 1022 (10th Cir. 1992).
Rule 8(a) provides that a complaint “must contain (1) a short and plain statement of the
grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, . . . (2) a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and (3) a demand for the relief sought.”
The philosophy of Rule 8(a) is reinforced by Rule 8(d)(1), which provides that “[e]ach
allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.” Taken together, Rules 8(a) and (d)(1)
underscore the emphasis placed on clarity and brevity by the federal pleading rules.
Prolix, vague, or unintelligible pleadings violate Rule 8.
Claims must be presented clearly and concisely in a manageable format that
allows a court and a defendant to know what claims are being asserted and to be able
to respond to those claims. New Home Appliance Ctr., Inc., v. Thompson, 250 F.2d
881, 883 (10th Cir. 1957). For the purposes of Rule 8(a), “[i]t is sufficient, and indeed all
that is permissible, if the complaint concisely states facts upon which relief can be
granted upon any legally sustainable basis.” Id.
The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s Complaint and finds that Plaintiff fails to
provide a short and plain statement of his claims in compliance with the pleading
requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The supporting facts for
each of Plaintiff’s claims are repetitive and presented in a narrative format of the events
that took place rather than a short and concise statement.
A decision to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Rule 8 is within the trial court’s
sound discretion. See Atkins v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 967 F.2d 1197, 1203 (8th Cir.
1992); Gillibeau v. City of Richmond, 417 F.2d 426, 431 (9th Cir. 1969). The Court,
however, will give Plaintiff an opportunity to cure the deficiencies in the Complaint by
submitting an Amended Complaint that meets the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8.
To state a claim in federal court Plaintiff must explain (1) what a defendant did to
him; (2) when the defendant did it; (3) how the defendant’s action harmed him; and (4)
what specific legal right the defendant violated. Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E.
Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff also must assert personal participation by each named defendant in the
alleged constitutional violation. See Bennett v. Passic, 545 F.2d 1260, 1262-63 (10th
Cir. 1976). To establish personal participation, Plaintiff must show how each named
individual caused the deprivation of a federal right. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159, 166 (1985). There must be an affirmative link between the alleged constitutional
violation and each defendant’s participation, control or direction, or failure to supervise.
See Butler v. City of Norman, 992 F.2d 1053, 1055 (10th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff asserts
participation for some of his claims but not for all of the claims.
A defendant may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of his or her
subordinates on a theory of respondeat superior. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
676 (2009). Furthermore:
[W]hen a plaintiff sues an official under Bivens or § 1983 for
conduct “arising from his or her superintendent
responsibilities,” the plaintiff must plausibly plead and
eventually prove not only that the official’s subordinates
violated the Constitution, but that the official by virtue of his
own conduct and state of mind did so as well.
Dodds v. Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1198 (10th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
677). Therefore, in order to succeed in a § 1983 suit against a government official for
conduct that arises out of his or her supervisory responsibilities, a plaintiff must allege
and demonstrate that “(1) the defendant promulgated, created, implemented or
possessed responsibility for the continued operation of a policy that (2) caused the
complained of constitutional harm, and (3) acted with the state of mind required to
establish the alleged constitutional deprivation.” Id. at 1199.
Furthermore, Plaintiff cannot maintain claims against prison officials or
administrators on the basis that they denied his grievances. The “denial of a grievance,
by itself without any connection to the violation of constitutional rights alleged by
plaintiff, does not establish personal participation under § 1983.” Gallagher v. Shelton,
587 F.3d 1063, 1069 (10th Cir. 2009); see also Whitington v. Ortiz, No. 07-1425, 307 F.
App’x. 179, 193 (10th Cir. Jan. 13, 2009) (unpublished) (stating that “the denial of the
grievances alone is insufficient to establish personal participation in the alleged
constitutional violations.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Davis v. Ark.
Valley Corr. Facility, No. 02-1486, 99 F. App’x. 838, 843 (10th Cir. May 20, 2004)
(unpublished) (sending “correspondence [to high-ranking prison official] outlining [a]
complaint . . . without more, does not sufficiently implicate the [supervisory official]
under § 1983”). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that within thirty days from the date of this Order, Plaintiff shall
file an Amended Complaint that complies with this Order. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall obtain the Court-approved Prisoner
Complaint form (with the assistance of his case manager or the facility’s legal assistant),
along with the applicable instructions, at www.cod.uscourts.gov. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff fails to file an Amended Complaint that
complies with this Order within the time allowed, the Court will proceed to review the
May 21, 2014 Complaint and address only the claims that comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 8.
DATED June 19, 2014, at Denver, Colorado.
BY THE COURT:
s/ Boyd N. Boland
United States Magistrate Judge
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