Bradley v. Crowther et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER granting Defendant Arsalan Habib's 11 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Plaintiff is allowed 30 days to amend his Complaint. Signed by Judge Ted Stewart on 7/17/2017. (eat)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
VICTOR R. BRADLEY,
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT
ARSALAN HABIB’S MOTION TO
SCOTT CROWTHER, RICHARD
GARDEN, DOE PRISON MEDICAL
PROVIDERS (1-10), DOE DIALYSIS
TECHNICIANS (11-12), ARSALAN
HABIB, DOE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
HEALTHCARE MEDICAL PROVIDERS
Case No. 2:17-CV-93 TS
District Judge Ted Stewart
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Dr. Arsalan Habib’s Motion to Dismiss. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the Motion, but will do so without prejudice.
The relevant facts alleged in the Complaint are as follows. Plaintiff Victor R. Bradley
(“Plaintiff”) pleaded guilty to a first degree felony in 1984 and was subsequently placed at Utah
State Prison (“USP”) where he is currently an inmate. Plaintiff began receiving dialysis
treatments at some point during his incarceration at USP. These dialysis treatments are critical to
University of Utah Healthcare, through South Valley Dialysis, provides dialysis
treatments to USP inmates and detainees pursuant to a contract with USP. A dialysis technician
working for South Valley Dialysis was originally scheduled to administer dialysis treatments at
USP on April 3, 2015, and April 4, 2015. However, a second dialysis technician agreed to switch
shifts with the first technician and therefore became responsible for administering dialysis
treatments at the prison on those dates. The technicians noted the change on a communications
log at USP, however, neither technician appeared at the prison to administer treatment on either
April 3, 2015, or April 4, 2015. As a result, Plaintiff did not receive his scheduled dialysis
treatments. This deprivation caused Plaintiff to suffer three strokes and a heart attack.
Defendant Dr. Arsalan Habib (“Defendant”) is the medical director for South Valley
Dialysis. Plaintiff has brought four claims against Defendant, among others, under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for violations of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution and violation of the Constitution of the State of Utah. Defendant moves to dismiss
these claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted under Rule 12(b)(6), all well-pleaded factual allegations, as distinguished from
conclusory allegations, are accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff as
the nonmoving party. 1 Plaintiff must provide “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face,”2 which requires “more than an unadorned, the-defendant- unlawfully
harmed-me accusation.”3 “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic
GFF Corp. v. Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc., 130 F.3d 1381, 1384 (10th Cir.
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ Nor does a complaint suffice if it
tenders ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.’”4
“The court’s function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that
the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiff’s complaint alone is legally
sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted.”5 As the Court in Iqbal stated,
only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to
dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will
. . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not
permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged—but it has not shown—that the pleader is entitled to
A. CLAIMS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
Plaintiff’s first three claims are as follows: (1) violation of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; (2) failure to train and/or supervise in violation of the
Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and (3) unlawful custom, policy
or practice in violation of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The parties appear to dispute whether Plaintiff’s claims should be analyzed under the Eighth or
the Fourteenth Amendments.
“[W]here constitutional protection is afforded under specific constitutional provisions,
alleged violations of the protection should be analyzed under those provisions and not under the
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Miller v. Glanz, 948 F.2d 1562, 1565 (10th Cir. 1991).
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
more generalized provisions of substantive due process.”7 The Supreme Court has held that “the
Eighth Amendment . . . serves as the primary source of substantive protection to convicted
prisoners.”8 More specifically, the Supreme Court has held:
[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the
“unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,” proscribed by the Eighth
Amendment. This is true whether the indifference is 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. 9
Plaintiff’s claims will therefore be reviewed under the standards of the Eighth Amendment. 10
To state a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim [for denial of necessary medical
treatment], a prisoner ‘must allege acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs.’”11 “‘Deliberate indifference’ involves both an objective
and a subjective component. The objective component is met if the deprivation is ‘sufficiently
serious.’ . . . The subjective component is met if a prison official ‘knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety.’”12 “[A]ccidental or inadvertent failure to provide
Riddle v. Mondragon, 83 F.3d 1197, 1202 (10th Cir. 1996).
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 327 (1986).
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104–05 (1976) (quoting Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.
153, 173 (1976)).
See Riddle, 83 F.3d at 1202 (finding plaintiffs’ claims that they were being denied
necessary medical care in violation of both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment would be
reviewed “under the Eighth Amendment as made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth
Id. at 1203 (quoting Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106).
Sealock v. Colorado, 218 F.3d 1205, 1209 (10th Cir. 2000) (quoting Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)).
adequate medical care, or negligent diagnosis or treatment of a mental condition do not
constitute a medical wrong under the Eighth Amendment.”13
While it does not appear to be in dispute that Plaintiff suffered a serious deprivation of a
medical need in satisfaction of the objective component, Plaintiff has failed to assert any facts
supporting the subjective component. Specifically, Plaintiff has not alleged that Defendant knew
that Plaintiff was not receiving adequate medical care and chose not to take action to timely
correct the deprivation. Without any allegations supporting that Defendant had a culpable state of
mind, Plaintiff cannot support any of his three claims against Defendant under the Eighth
Amendment. The Court will therefore dismiss Plaintiff’s first, second, and third causes of action
under the Eighth Amendment.
Defendant argues that each of Plaintiff’s claims against him should be dismissed with
prejudice. “[D]ismissal with prejudice is warranted only when a trial court determines that the
allegation of other facts consistent with the challenged pleading could not possibly cure the
deficiency. Therefore, a complaint that omits certain essential facts and thus fails to state a claim
warrants dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) but not dismissal with prejudice.”14 The argued
reasons for dismissal relate only to the insufficiency of Plaintiff’s pleadings. Defendant has not
pointed to any authority supporting that Plaintiff’s claims against him must fail even if properly
pleaded. The Court therefore declines to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims with prejudice.
Riddle, 83 F.3d at 1203 (quoting Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 575 (10th Cir. 1980)).
Belizan v. Hershon, 434 F.3d 579, 583 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted); see also Brereton v. Bountiful City Corp., 434 F.3d 1213, 1219 (10th
Cir. 2006) (“A dismissal with prejudice is appropriate where a complaint fails to state a claim
under Rule 12(b)(6) and granting leave to amend would be futile.”).
Defendant also argues he is entitled to qualified immunity. “When a defendant raises a
qualified immunity defense, the court must dismiss the action unless the plaintiff shows that (1)
the defendant violated a statutory or constitutional right, and (2) the right was clearly established
at the time of the violation.”15 As discussed, Plaintiff has not adequately pleaded his Eighth
Amendment claims against Defendant. However, Plaintiff may attempt to amend his Complaint
to include facts supporting a constitutional violation by Defendant. The Court will therefore not
decide the issue of qualified immunity at this time. 16
B. UTAH CONSTITUTION CLAIM
Lastly, Plaintiff brings a claim against Defendant for violation of the Due Process Clause
of the Utah Constitution, which states, “[n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property,
without due process of law.”17 Plaintiff argues that Defendant, among others, violated his due
process by “exibit[ing] a shocking degree of deliberate indifference and reckless disregard for
the serious and evident medical needs of [Plaintiff].”18
Mayfield v. Bethards, 826 F.3d 1252, 1255 (10th Cir. 2016).
See Larson v. Snow Coll., 189 F. Supp. 2d 1286, 1300 (D. Utah 2000) (deferring
consideration of qualified immunity defense where the court granted plaintiff leave to amend her
constitutional violations claims); see also Bills v. City of Okla. City, Okla., No. CIV-09-00974-D,
2010 WL 3604430, at *6 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 10, 2010) (unpublished) (“Whether Citty is entitled
to qualified immunity should not, however, be based on the Court’s speculation regarding
Plaintiff’s theory of relief. Because the Court has authorized Plaintiff to amend to state an
individual capacity claim against Citty, it cannot determine the issue of qualified immunity with
certainty at this time.”); Miller v. Spiers, 434 F. Supp. 2d 1064, 1069 (D.N.M. 2006) (“Since
Plaintiff has moved to again amend his complaint, the Court will postpone further analysis of
qualified immunity until the pleadings are conformed to the requirements of this opinion.”);
Dockery v. Unified Sch. Dist. No. 231, 382 F. Supp. 2d 1234, 1242 (D. Kan. 2005) (allowing
Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint before making determination of whether defendant was
entitled to qualified immunity).
Utah Const. art. I, § 7.
Docket No. 2, at 15.
“Damages are recoverable for violations of the Utah Constitution only if the provision
violated is (1) self-executing[;] (2) the plaintiff suffered a flagrant violation of constitutional
rights; (3) existing remedies do not redress the plaintiff’s injuries; and (4) equitable relief was
and is wholly inadequate to protect the plaintiff’s rights or redress the plaintiff’s injuries.”19
Plaintiff has not alleged that alternative remedies are available to redress his injuries, nor
has Plaintiff pleaded specific facts to support that Defendant caused him to suffer a flagrant
violation of his constitutional rights. To meet the flagrant violation element, Plaintiff must show
that “the contours of the right [are] sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand
that what he is doing violates that right.”20 As discussed, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts
suggesting that Defendant had any knowledge of Plaintiff’s deprivation or that he was otherwise
aware that his actions or inactions violated Defendant’s constitutional rights.
Further, Plaintiff did not oppose the arguments set forth in Defendant’s Motion seeking
dismissal of Plaintiff’s claim under the Utah Constitution. Plaintiff’s fourth cause of action will
therefore be dismissed.
It is therefore
ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 11) is GRANTED. Plaintiff
is allowed thirty (30) days to amend his Complaint.
Cavanaugh v. Woods Cross City, No. 1:08-CV-32-TC-BCW, 2009 WL 4981591, at *6
(D. Utah Dec. 14, 2009) (unpublished), aff’d, 625 F.3d 661 (10th Cir. 2010) (citing Spackman ex
rel. Spackman v. Bd. of Educ., 2000 UT 87, ¶¶ 7, 23–25).
Spackman ex rel. Spackman, 2000 UT 87, ¶ 23 (quoting Anderson v. Creighton, 483
U.S. 635, 639–40 (1987)).
DATED this 17th day of July, 2017.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Judge
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