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Emerson v. Corizon Health Services

United States District Court, D. Arizona

May 7, 2018

Gary John Emerson, Plaintiff,
v.
Corizon Health Services, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Eileen S. Willett United States Magistrate Judge.

         By separate Order, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion (Doc. 42) requesting leave to file a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 47). In accordance with the Court's continuing obligation to screen prisoners' complaints, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court screens the Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 48) as follows.

         I. DISCUSSION

         The Court has a continuing obligation to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against an officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). 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).

         “Failure to state a claim under § 1915A incorporates the familiar standard applied in the context of failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Wilhelm v. Rotman, 680 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2012). “The Rule 12(b)(6) standard requires a complaint to ‘contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). Thus, in reviewing Plaintiff's Second 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 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In addition, the Court must liberally construe the Second Amended Complaint. See Wilhelm, 680 F.3d at 1121 (“We construe pro se complaints liberally and may only dismiss a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint raises an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against a number of Defendants. In its January 11, 2018 Order, the Court found that Plaintiff adequately stated a claim against only Defendant Corizon. (Doc. 36 at 9-11). The Court dismissed Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, Lasac, Peretra, Ryan, Robertson, Shuman, Fizer, Smith-Whitson, Grafton, and Johnson from the First Amended Complaint without prejudice.[1] (Id. at 12). The proposed Second Amended Complaint contains additional factual allegations against Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, Lasac, Grafton, Johnson, Ryan, Robertson, Shuman, Fizer, and Smith-Whitson. As discussed below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has corrected the deficiencies identified in the Court's January 11, 2018 Order with respect to the claim against these Defendants.[2] Because the Second Amended Complaint does not amend the allegations against Defendant Corizon, the Court will order Defendant Corizon to answer the Second Amended Complaint for the reasons explained in the Court's prior Order (Doc. 36 at 9-11).

         A. Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac

         In dismissing Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac from the First Amended Complaint, the Court explained that Plaintiff did not allege facts suggesting that Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac knew Plaintiff was continuing to experience pain or that they deliberately delayed Plaintiff's treatment. (Doc. 36 at 6). In his Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac “failed to prescribe medications that Corizon would authorize as a direct consequence of their actions I did not have medication to relieve the pains of my medical conditions.” (Doc. 48 at 22). The Court finds that for screening purposes, the Second Amended Complaint adequately states an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac. The Court will require Defendants Lavoy, Horwitz, and Lasac to answer the Second Amended Complaint.

         B. Defendant Ryan

         The Court found that the First Amended Complaint failed to state an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against Defendant Ryan because it does not allege facts suggesting that Defendant Ryan knew of a significant risk to Plaintiff's health and acted with deliberate indifference to that risk. (Doc. 36 at 7). The Second Amended Complaint contains the additional allegation against Defendant Ryan, which asserts that Defendant Ryan

is aware that Corizon is not providing inmates with medication that is helping out our conditions. Ryan nevertheless refuses to acting with deliberate indifference direct Corizon to provide us these meds that help. In fact Corizon staff in East Unit advised me that he has directed not to give us medications that are effective for our pain.

(Doc. 48 at 22). Liberally construed, the Court finds that the Second Amended Complaint adequately states a claim against Defendant Ryan. Defendant Ryan will be required to answer the Second Amended Complaint.

         C. Defendants Grafton and Johnson

         The Court dismissed Defendants Grafton and Johnson from the First Amended Complaint because Plaintiff did not allege that they were aware of Plaintiff's medical need. (Doc. 36 at 8). The Second Amended Complaint corrects this deficiency by alleging that Defendants Grafton and Johnson “[b]y my visits and communications to them and through HNRs were aware the pain meds were not helping. [T]hey nevertheless refused to give me meds that ...


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