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Amara v. Clark

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 21, 2014

Anthony Joseph Amara, Plaintiff,
v.
Kelly Clark, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Sr., District Judge.

On June 23, 2014, Plaintiff Anthony Joseph Amara, who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, Arizona, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a July 25, 2013 Order, the Court granted the Application to Proceed and dismissed the Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

On August 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 7). Plaintiff has also filed a "Motion to Clarify Number of Pages of Notice of Electronic Filing that was Sent to the Plaintiff" (the "Motion for Clarification") (Doc. 10), and a "Motion for Status of Civil Rights Complaint" (the "Motion for Status") (Doc. 11). The Court will grant Plaintiff's motions, and will dismiss the First Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

I. 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.

But as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has instructed, courts must "continue to construe pro se filings liberally." Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). A "complaint [filed by a pro se prisoner] must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Id. (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam )).

If the Court determines that a pleading could be cured by the allegation of other facts, a pro se litigant is entitled to an opportunity to amend a complaint before dismissal of the action. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1127-29 (9th Cir. 2000) ( en banc ). Plaintiff's First Amended 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.

II. First Amended Complaint

In his three-count First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names as Defendants: Kelly Clark, the Navajo County Sheriff; Brad Carlyon, the Navajo County Attorney; and Ernie Garcia, jail commander at the Navajo County Jail. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and monetary relief.

In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Clark was aware that Plaintiff had a broken jaw, but nevertheless intentionally delayed medical treatment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Garcia spoke with Defendant Clark on February 27, 2014 about a grievance plaintiff had filed, and that Defendant Clark responded that "under no condition" was Plaintiff to "receive the surgery that the jail provider, and 2 dentists and an oral surgeon all said [Plaintiff] need [ sic ] promptly." As a result, Plaintiff alleges that his medical treatment was delayed for 217 days, causing him injury.

In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Carlyon was aware that Plaintiff needed medical treatment for his broken jaw, but nevertheless denied Plaintiff a medical furlough for oral surgery in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Carlyon denied Plaintiff's furlough on or about January 13, 2014 because Plaintiff would soon be transferred to the Arizona Department of Corrections, at which point Navajo County would no longer be responsible for the expense of Plaintiff's medical treatment. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that his medical treatment was delayed, causing him injury.

In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges that on February 27, 2014, Defendant Garcia denied a grievance Plaintiff submitted regarding Plaintiff's request for a medical procedure, in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Garcia's "failure to get me the help I ...


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