Turner v. NAPH Care Inc

Filing 5

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND, signed by Magistrate Judge David W. Christel. Plaintiff's amended complaint or show cause response due by 8/25/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Amended Complaint (blank), # 2 Pro Se Instruction Form, # 3 Address List (blank))(CMG)(cc mailed to Plaintiff w/forms)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 8 9 10 JONATHAN DONNELL TURNER, 11 Plaintiff, 13 NAPH CARE INC., Defendant. 14 15 16 17 18 19 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND v. 12 Plaintiff Jonathan Donnell Turner, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed and screened Plaintiff’s Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve the Complaint but provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by August 25, 2017, to cure the deficiencies identified herein. 20 21 22 CASE NO. 3:17-CV-05522-BHS-DWC BACKGROUND Plaintiff, who is currently incarcerated at the Pierce County Jail, alleges his Eighth Amendment rights to adequate medical care were violated when an unknown nurse negligently 23 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 1 1 provided him with the wrong medication for his high blood pressure. Dkt. 4. Plaintiff contends 2 the nurse is employed by Defendant Naph Care, Inc. Id. 3 DISCUSSION 4 Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court is required to screen 5 complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or 6 employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must “dismiss the 7 complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint: (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to 8 state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant 9 who is immune from such relief.” Id. at (b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see Barren v. Harrington, 10 152 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998). 11 In order to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show: (1) he 12 suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) 13 the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton 14 v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The first step in a § 1983 claim is therefore to 15 identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 16 (1994). To satisfy the second prong, a plaintiff must allege facts showing how individually 17 named defendants caused, or personally participated in causing, the harm alleged in the 18 complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981). 19 Plaintiff’s Complaint suffers from deficiencies requiring dismissal if not corrected in an 20 amended complaint. 21 22 I. Eighth Amendment Claim Plaintiff alleges Defendant’s employee provided him with negligent medical care in 23 violation of the Eighth Amendment. Dkt. 4. An Eighth Amendment medical claim has two 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 2 1 elements: (1) “the seriousness of the prisoner’s medical need and [(2)] the nature of the 2 defendant’s response to that need.” McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir.1991), 3 overruled on other grounds by WMX Techs., Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir.1997) (en 4 banc). 5 A medical need is serious “if the failure to treat the prisoner’s condition could result in 6 further significant injury or the ‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.’” McGuckin, 974 7 F.2d at 1059 (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). “The existence of an injury 8 that a reasonable doctor or patient would find important and worthy of comment or treatment; 9 the presence of a medical condition that significantly affects an individual’s daily activities; or 10 the existence of chronic and substantial pain are examples of indications that a prisoner has a 11 ‘serious’ need for medical treatment.” Id. at 1059-1060. 12 If a plaintiff shows he has a serious medical need, he must then show the prison officials 13 responded to the need with deliberate indifference. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 14 (1970). “[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the 15 unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104 (1976) (internal citation 16 omitted); see also Hudson v. McMillan, 503 U.S. 1, 6 (1992). It requires “a purposeful act or 17 failure to act on the part of the defendant.” McGuckin, 974 F.2d at 1060. In other words, “[a] 18 defendant must purposefully ignore or fail to respond to a prisoner’s pain or possible medical 19 need.” Id. A prison official, accordingly, will not be found deliberately indifferent to a prisoner’s 20 serious medical needs “unless the official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate 21 health or safety.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Thus, an accusation that a party “has been negligent 22 in diagnosing or treating a medical condition does not state a valid claim of medical 23 mistreatment under the Eight Amendment.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 3 1 Here, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that any prison official acted with deliberate 2 indifference to his medical condition. Plaintiff states he is suffering from high blood pressure 3 and, instead of receiving his blood pressure medication, he received someone else’s “mental 4 health medication.” Dkt. 4. A blood pressure medication prescription can be a serious medical 5 need. A reasonable doctor or patient could find the condition “worthy of comment or treatment” 6 and it could lead to further injury if untreated. McGuckin, 974 U.S. at 1059-1060. However, 7 Plaintiff has only alleged the nurse employed by Defendant was negligent when she gave him the 8 wrong medication. Negligence alone is not enough to state a valid claim for mistreatment in 9 violation of the Eighth Amendment. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. Because of this, Plaintiff has not 10 alleged sufficient facts to support such a claim. 11 If Plaintiff wishes to pursue an Eighth Amendment claim, he must provide an amended 12 complaint showing how Defendant’s actions constituted deliberate indifference, not mere 13 negligence, in violation of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. 14 15 II. Supervisory Liability Claim Plaintiff seems to allege that Naph Care, Inc., is responsible for his injuries because it 16 employed the nurse who provided him with improper medication. Dkt. 4. To state a claim under 17 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must show how a defendant caused the harm alleged in the 18 complaint. Leer v. Murphy, 844 F.2d 628, 633 (9th Cir. 1988). The claim may not be brought on 19 the sole theory that a supervisor is liable for the acts of his or her subordinates. See Polk County 20 v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981); Monell v. New York City Dep’t of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 21 658, 691 (1978). Rather, a plaintiff must show the individual defendant participated in or 22 directed the alleged harm, or knew of the harm and failed to act to prevent it. See Barren v. 23 Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193, 1194 (9th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1154 (1999). 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 4 1 Here, Plaintiff makes no showing that Defendant directly participated in the alleged 2 harm. He states that a nurse employed by Defendant provided him with someone else’s 3 medication, causing him harm physical and mental harm. However, he does not explain how 4 Defendant’s actions contributed to the nurse’s actions. He further fails to demonstrate how 5 Defendant’s actions or inactions amount to deliberate indifference as required for his Eighth 6 Amendment mistreatment claim. He merely implies that Defendant is liable for the nurse’s 7 negligence because of its supervisory position. A § 1983 claim cannot be based solely on a 8 supervisor’s relation to its subordinates. Because of this, Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts 9 to support his claim. 10 If Plaintiff wishes to pursue this § 1983 claim, he must provide a plain statement 11 explaining exactly what Defendant did or failed to do and how those actions violated Plaintiff’s 12 constitutional rights. 13 14 III. Instructions to Plaintiff and Clerk If Plaintiff intends to pursue a § 1983 civil rights action in this Court, he must file an 15 amended complaint and within the amended complaint, he must write a short, plain statement 16 telling the Court: (1) the constitutional right Plaintiff believes was violated; (2) the name of the 17 person or entity who violated the right; (3) exactly what the individual did or failed to do; (4) 18 how the action or inaction of the individual is connected to the violation of Plaintiff’s 19 constitutional rights; and (5) what specific injury Plaintiff suffered because of the individual’s 20 conduct. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371–72, 377 (1976). The Court also notes that 21 Plaintiff neglected to indicate his desired relief in his original complaint. In the amended 22 complaint, Plaintiff should include a short, plain statement explaining the remedy he is 23 requesting for his alleged injury. 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 5 1 Plaintiff shall present the amended complaint on the form provided by the Court. The 2 amended complaint must be legibly rewritten or retyped in its entirety, it should be an original 3 and not a copy, it should contain the same case number, and it may not incorporate any part of 4 the original complaint by reference. The amended complaint will act as a complete substitute for 5 the original Complaint, and not as a supplement. The Court will screen the amended complaint to 6 determine whether it contains factual allegations linking each defendant to the alleged violations 7 of Plaintiff’s rights. The Court will not authorize service of the amended complaint on any 8 defendant who is not specifically linked to a violation of Plaintiff’s rights. 9 If Plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint or fails to adequately address the issues 10 raised herein on or before August 25, 2017, the undersigned will recommend dismissal of this 11 action. 12 The Clerk is directed to send Plaintiff the appropriate forms for filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 13 civil rights complaint and for service. The Clerk is further directed to send copies of this Order 14 and Pro Se Instruction Sheet to Plaintiff. 15 Dated this 26th day of July, 2017. A 16 17 David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE OR AMEND - 6

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?