United States District Court, D. Arizona
S. Willett, United States Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the Court on its own review. On April 20,
2017, Arizona state prisoner Richard Gause
(“Plaintiff”) filed this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The two-count Complaint
(Doc. 1) alleges (i) an Eighth Amendment medical care claim
against Nurse Practitioner Thude and Director of Health
Winford Williams regarding treatment of Plaintiff's nerve
damage and chronic pain and (ii) a claim alleging that
Plaintiff was denied condiments, napkins, and utensils while
confined in the Rast Max Unit. (Id. at 3-8). In its
April 27, 2017 Screening Order, the Court ordered Defendants
Thude and Williams to answer the Eighth Amendment medical
care claim and dismissed the second claim. (Doc. 6 at 6-8).
November 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint
(Doc. 21) as a matter of course. The First Amended Complaint
does not amend Count One and replaces Count Two in its
entirety. Count Two of the First Amended Complaint
raises an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against a
number of Defendants. (Id. at 10-19). Defendants
Thude and Williams have answered the First Amended Complaint.
(Docs. 23, 39). In accordance with the Court's continuing
obligation to screen prisoners' complaints, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a), the Court will screen the First Amended
Screening Prisoner Complaints
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (c)(1),
requires the Court to dismiss all allegations that fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See
O'Neal v. Price, 531 F.3d 1146, 1153 (9th Cir.
2008). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof
that is legally frivolous, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from suit. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(A)(b)(1), (2). In reviewing Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint, the Court must accept as true all
well-pled factual allegations and draw all reasonable
inferences therefrom. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Steckman v. Hart
Brewing, Inc., 143 F.3d 1293, 1296-98 (9th Cir. 1998). A
claim for relief must be plausible on its face to survive a
motion to dismiss. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
663 (2009). “A claim has facial plausibility 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. at 679. The
following discusses the legal standards pertaining to Eighth
Amendment medical care claims.
Eighth Amendment Medical Care Claims
every claim by a prisoner relating to inadequate medical
treatment states a violation of the Eighth Amendment. To
state a Section 1983 medical claim, a plaintiff must show
that the defendants acted with “deliberate indifference
to serious medical needs.” Jett v. Penner, 439
F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). A plaintiff must show
(1) a “serious medical need” by demonstrating
that failure to treat the condition could result in further
significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain and (2) the defendant's response was deliberately
indifferent. Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096 (quotations
indifference is a high legal standard.” Toguchi v.
Chung, 391 F.3d 1051, 1060 (9th Cir. 2004). To act with
deliberate indifference, a prison official must both know of
and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health; “the
official must both be aware of acts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists, and he must also draw the inference.”
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Deliberate indifference in
the medical context may be shown by a purposeful act or
failure to respond to a prisoner's pain or possible
medical need and harm caused by the indifference.
Jett, 439 F.3d at 1096. Deliberate indifference may
also be shown when a prison official intentionally denies,
delays, or interferes with medical treatment or by the way
prison doctors respond to the prisoner's medical needs.
Id.; Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-05.
indifference is a higher standard than negligence or lack of
ordinary due care for the prisoner's safety.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835. “Neither negligence
nor gross negligence will constitute deliberate
indifference.” Clement v. California Dep't of
Corr., 220 F.Supp.2d 1098, 1105 (N.D. Cal. 2002);
see also Broughton v. Cutter Labs., 622 F.2d 458,
460 (9th Cir. 1980) (mere claims of indifference, ”
“negligence, ” or “medical
malpractice” do not support a claim under § 1983).
“A difference of opinion does not amount to deliberate
indifference to [a plaintiff's] serious medical
needs.” Sanchez v. Vild, 891 F.2d 240, 242
(9th Cir. 1989). A mere delay in medical care, without more,
is insufficient to state a claim against prison officials for
deliberate indifference. See Shapley v. Nevada Bd. of
State Prison Comm'rs, 766 F.2d 404, 407 (9th Cir.
1985). The indifference must be substantial. The action must
rise to a level of “unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105.
All Defendants will be Required to Answer the
mentioned, the First Amended Complaint does not amend Count
One. For the reasons explained in the Court's prior Order
(Doc. 6 at 6), the Court finds that Count One of the First
Amended Complaint sufficiently states an Eighth Amendment
medical care claim against Defendants Thude and Williams.
Defendants Thude ...