Molinapalma v. Hughes et al
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT by Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher on 12/23/15. (dkals, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Civil Action No. 15-cv-02377-GPG
PATRICIA HUGHES, in her official capacity as medical provider,
TINA CULLYFORD, in her official capacity as medical provider,
ALVIN MASSENBURG, in his official capacity as medical provider,
NICOLE BLATNICK, in her official capacity as medical provider, and
WILLIAM WISE, in his official capacity as medical provider.
ORDER DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT
Plaintiff, Nicholas Molinapalma, is in the custody of the Colorado Department of
Corrections at the Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, Colorado. He has filed pro se a
Complaint (ECF No. 1), asserting a deprivation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Plaintiff has paid the $400.00 filing fee.
The Court must construe Plaintiff’s filings 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 should not act as an
advocate for pro se litigants. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. The Court has reviewed the
Complaint and has determined that it is deficient. For the reasons discussed below,
Plaintiff will be directed to file an Amended Complaint, on the court-approved Prisoner
I. The Complaint
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have failed to provide him with adequate medical
care in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, he alleges that
Defendants are aware that his knee condition is causing severe pain and requires a
total knee replacement. Plaintiff further alleges that “Defendants refuse to do anything
for me as my condition only gets worse.” He seeks injunctive relief.
The Complaint is deficient because Plaintiff fails to allege specific facts to show
each Defendant’s personal participation in the alleged Eighth Amendment violation.
Personal participation is an essential element in a civil rights action. See Bennett
v. Passic, 545 F.2d 1260, 1262-63 (10th Cir. 1976); 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); see also Dodds v.
Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1200-1201 (10th Cir. 2010) (“[D]efendant-supervisors may
be liable under § 1983 where an ‘affirmative’ link exists between the unconstitutional
acts by their subordinates and their ‘adoption of any plan or policy. . .–express or
otherwise–showing their authorization or approval of such ‘misconduct.’”) (quoting Rizzo
v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371 (1976)). A supervisor defendant is not subject to liability
under § 1983 on a theory of respondeat superior. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
676 (2009). Plaintiff’s conclusory allegations are insufficient to demonstrate that each
named Defendant was personally involved in decisions concerning Plaintiff’s medical
Furthermore, Plaintiff may not sue Defendants solely on the basis that they
denied Plaintiff’s grievances or ignored Plaintiff’s correspondence complaining about the
denial of adequate medical care. 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").
Further, Plaintiff’s allegations are too vague and conclusory to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. To state an arguable Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff
must allege specific facts to show that each named Defendant acted with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994); Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). To that end, Plaintiff must explain,
clearly and concisely, “what each defendant did to him or her; when the defendant did it;
how the defendant's action harmed him or her; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff
believes the defendant violated.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d
1158, 1163 (10th Cir.2007). Accordingly, it is
ORDERED that Plaintiff, Nicholas Molinapalma, file within thirty (30) days from
the date of this order, an Amended Complaint, on the Court-approved Prisoner
Complaint form, that complies with the directives in this order. It is
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff shall obtain the court-approved Prisoner
Complaint form (with the assistance of his case manager or 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 on the
Court-approved within the time allowed, some or all of this action may be dismissed
without further notice.
DATED December 23, 2015, at Denver, Colorado.
BY THE COURT:
Gordon P. Gallagher
United States Magistrate Judge
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