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Smith v. Correctional Health Services

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 27, 2018

Bryce W. Smith, Plaintiff,
v.
Correctional Health Services, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          David G. Campbell United States District Judge

         On September 11, 2017, Plaintiff Bryce W. Smith, who is confined in a Maricopa County Jail, filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. In a January 18, 2018 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 February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint. In a June 22, 2018 Order, the Court dismissed the First Amended Complaint because Plaintiff had failed to state a claim. The Court gave Plaintiff 30 days to file a second amended complaint that cured the deficiencies identified in the Order.

         On July 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 14). The Court will dismiss the Second Amended Complaint and this action. ….

         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). 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. 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.

         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)).

         II. Second Amended Complaint

         In his three-count Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff sues Maricopa County, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Detention Officers Eide and Mendoza, and Dietitian Eileen Cowles. Plaintiff asserts claims for threats to safety and denial of basic necessities. He seeks monetary relief.

         In Count One, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Eide made an intentional decision not to protect Plaintiff when Nurse Pam made him aware that she had received a Health Needs Request with “PREA! Being threatened by inmates written on it.” Plaintiff contends that this decision put him at substantial risk of physical harm and that Eide did not take measures available to abate that risk, such as following PREA guidelines and removing Plaintiff from the pod. Plaintiff asserts that by not taking these measures and by not following federal guidelines, Eide is responsible for Plaintiff's broken hand, large hematoma, and “the massive concussion sustained.” Plaintiff alleges that Eide acted under the color of law and in accordance with “policy and procedure handed down by Sheriff Paul Penzone.” Plaintiff claims that he has grieved Eide “to no avail[, ] no relief was given.” In Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that for close to one year, he has been denied the proper calories needed to adhere to government requirements. Plaintiff asserts that he is on a medical soft diet, yet Defendant Cowles, the registered dietitian and menu planner, refuses to “prescribe and plan for something” that Plaintiff can eat. Plaintiff claims that every day, he is served a “fried/grilled bean and rice patty that is crunchy and too hard for [P]laintiff to eat, ” and as a result, he is not getting the recommended daily calories and/or vitamins and nutrients. Plaintiff alleges that he has filed several grievances “to no avail, no relief at all has been given and [P]laintiff is in jeopardy of losing weight due to inability to eat crunchy brittle food that goes against the medical diet prescribed for [him].” Plaintiff contends that Cowles has the authority to change the menu to eggs or to change the way the bean patties are cooked, yet she “refuses to do so and this is deliberate indifference at its highest form.” As his injury, Plaintiff claims that he is losing weight and not receiving adequate daily calories and nutrients.

         In Count Three, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Eide, acting under color of law and under “policy and procedure of Paul Penzone, ” continually makes intentional decisions not to punish “those caught making ‘hooch.'” Plaintiff contends that those decisions put him at substantial risk of harm, and Eide did not take reasonable measures to abate that risk. Plaintiff asserts that Eide is responsible for the injuries inflicted on Plaintiff and that Eide failed to protect Plaintiff “even after he was made aware of” imminent and immediate danger. Plaintiff claims that he grieved Eide “to no avail” and no relief was given. As his injury, Plaintiff alleges that he suffered a broken hand, large hematoma, and constant fear of inmates and staff.

         III. Failure ...


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