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Mitchell v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 3, 2014

Kevin Mitchell, Plaintiff,
Corizon Health, Inc., et al., Defendants.


DAVID C. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

On July 9, 2014, Plaintiff Kevin Mitchell, who is represented by counsel, filed a Complaint in Maricopa County Superior Court. (Doc. 1, Attach. 1, Ex. B.) On August 5, 2014, Defendants Corizon Health, Inc. ("Corizon") and State of Arizona removed the action to this Court. In their Notice of Removal, Defendants state that Corizon was served with a copy of the Complaint on July 10, 2014, and the State of Arizona was served on July 11, 2014. On August 13, 2014, Defendants Corizon and State of Arizona filed an answer to the Complaint. The Court will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

I. Removal

A state court defendant may remove to federal court any civil action brought in the state court over which the federal district courts would have original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges, among other things, violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court's jurisdiction extends to such claims, see 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (a federal court has original jurisdiction "of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States"), and the case was timely removed. Accordingly, the case was properly removed.

II. Statutory Screening of Prisoner Complaints

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or an employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if a plaintiff has raised claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)-(2).

A pleading must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (emphasis added). While Rule 8 does not demand detailed factual allegations, "it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id.

"[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is]... a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Thus, although a plaintiff's specific factual allegations may be consistent with a constitutional claim, a court must assess whether there are other "more likely explanations" for a defendant's conduct. Id. at 681.

Plaintiff's Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but because it may possibly be amended to state a claim, the Court will dismiss it with leave to amend.

III. Complaint

Plaintiff names the following Defendants: Corizon; the State of Arizona; "John Does and Jane Does 1-10"; "ABC Corporations 1-10"; and "XYZ Partnerships 1-10." Plaintiff seeks damages, interest, attorneys' fees, and costs.

Plaintiff alleges the following facts: prior to and on January 5, 2014, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis. Plaintiff suffers from Type 1 diabetes and is dependent on insulin injections. On January 5, 2014, "an employee of Corizon negligently, carelessly, recklessly and in total disregard for the safety of Plaintiff, administered an injection of insulin to Plaintiff with a contaminated needle." Around January 7, 2014, personnel from the Arizona Department of Corrections and/or Corizon told Plaintiff that he was exposed to "Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)." Over the next ten days, Plaintiff received preventative treatments from Defendants, including Hepatitis B immune globulin, Recombivax, Isentress and Truvada. "Defendants negligently, carelessly and recklessly treated, monitored, supervised and cared for Plaintiff as to cause the contaminated injection and physical and emotional injuries to Plaintiff." Plaintiff "has suffered bodily injuries through additional needless and potentially dangerous injections and, after being told he was exposed to potentially deadly viruses, he continues to suffer residual pain, discomfort, extreme emotional distress, and anxiety." Plaintiff has also had to undergo medical testing and treatment and believes "he will be compelled to incur indebtedness for necessary medical testing and treatment in the future."

Plaintiff further alleges that "defendants violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution by each being deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of Plaintiff" and that "Defendants' conduct in this regard was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken with willful, reckless and malicious indifference to the constitutional rights and liberty interests of Plaintiff and with no regard to the likelihood that harm would and did result and that Plaintiff would and did suffer extreme unnecessary pain and anxiety that bore no legitimate pen[o]logical purpose."

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Corizon "is vicariously liable under the principle of respondeat superior for the actions and inactions of its employees, including those John and Jane Doe employees named as defendants in this action, as to any claims that are asserted by Plaintiff as a result of violations of the Arizona Constitution and Arizona common law because, at all relevant times, they were acting within the course and scope of their employment with Corizon." Plaintiff further alleges that "[f]or purposes of Plaintiff's claims that arise under Federal law, including without limitation the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 et seq., and as may be relevant to Plaintiff's state law claims, at all relevant times described herein, Defendants were acting under the color of state law." In addition, Plaintiff alleges that "[s]ome Defendants may be liable because of acts done by other ...

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