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Bishop v. Wexford Health Care

United States District Court, D. Arizona

December 15, 2014

Stephen Bishop, Plaintiff,
v.
Wexford Health Care, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Stephen Bishop, who was formerly confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address indicating that he had been released. On July 25, 2014, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause granting Plaintiff's Application to Proceed and requiring Plaintiff to pay the remainder of the filing fee or show cause why he could not pay. On August 22, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Response to the Order Show Cause stating that he has few financial resources at this time and is unable to pay the fee. Accordingly, the Court will allow Plaintiff to proceed without payment of the filing fee.

The Court will dismiss the 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 ). The Court should not, however, advise the litigant how to cure the defects. This type of advice "would undermine district judges' role as impartial decisionmakers." Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004); see also Lopez, 203 F.3d at 1131 n.13 (declining to decide whether the court was required to inform a litigant of deficiencies). The Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim, but because the Complaint may possibly be saved by amendment, will dismiss the Complaint with leave to amend.

II. Complaint

Plaintiff names the following Defendants in the Complaint: Wexford Healthcare (Wexford); Corizon Healthcare (Corizon); Nurse Practitioner Lawrence Ende; Dr. Thomas Bell; Facility Health Administrator Cameron Lewis; and Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) Director Charles L. Ryan.

Plaintiff raises one claim for relief in which he makes multiple allegations relating to medical care, diet, and grievances. Plaintiff seeks money damages.

IV. Failure to Comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a "short and plain statement of the claim." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(d)(1) states that "[e]ach allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." A complaint having the factual elements of a cause of action scattered throughout the complaint and not organized into a "short and plain statement of the claim" may be dismissed for failure to satisfy Rule 8(a). See Sparling v. Hoffman Constr. Co., 864 F.2d 635, 640 (9th Cir. 1988); see also McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172 (9th Cir. 1996). Rule 10(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure also requires a plaintiff to state claims in "numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a single set of circumstances." Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b). Moreover, "[i]f doing so would promote clarity, each claim founded on a separate transaction or ...


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