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Lindley v. Corizon Health

United States District Court, D. Arizona

August 13, 2018

Robert F. Lindley, Jr., Plaintiff,
Corizon Health, et al., Defendants.


          David G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Robert F. Lindley, Jr., who is confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1) and an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Doc. 2). The Court will order Defendants Corizon and Elijah to answer the Complaint.

         I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and Filing Fee

         The Court will grant Plaintiff's Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Plaintiff must pay the statutory filing fee of $350.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $15.64. The remainder of the fee will be collected monthly in payments of 20% of the previous month's income credited to Plaintiff's trust account each time the amount in the account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The Court will enter a separate Order requiring the appropriate government agency to collect and forward the fees according to the statutory formula. . . . . . . . .

         II. 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)).

         III. Complaint

         Plaintiff names Corizon Health (“Corizon”), Medical Provider Itoro Elijah, and Utilization Management Committee Members Doe 1, Doe 2, and Doe 3 as Defendants in his one-count Complaint. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

         Plaintiff alleges his Eighth Amendment rights were violated when he was denied adequate medical care. Plaintiff claims that in 1990, he was diagnosed with a “subarachnoid cyst of [the] left temporal lobe location and an IP shunt was placed in his head to reduce pressure and relieve seizures.” In 1995, Plaintiff was hit in the head and the shunt was loosened and moved from its original location. Between 2010 and 2012, MRI scans showed that the cyst had grown, but a neurosurgeon told him that “the cyst needed to reach a class 3 before any action would be done.” In February 2017, Plaintiff had “an incident while working out, ” and saw Defendant Elijah for the purpose of determining whether the incident had compromised the shunt “and/or caused severing of shunt at cyst in left temporal lobe of brain.” After the incident, Plaintiff noticed “headaches, vision problems, seizures and feeling like passing out.” Plaintiff claims that on March 31, 2017, Defendant Elijah refused any treatment or tests on the shunt.

         After Defendant Elijah left, Nurse Practitioner Bass examined Plaintiff and determined the shunt might be compromised. Nurse Practitioner Bass submitted three separate requests for Plaintiff to receive a MRI, which were denied by the Utilization Management team, Defendants Doe 1, Doe 2, and Doe 3. Plaintiff claims “there has . . . also been no other attempt to do any other tests to determine what is causing these problems that Plaintiff is suffering.” Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Doe 1, Doe 2, and Doe 3 denied the requests for an MRI based on Corizon's custom of managing costs by denying outside medical tests for inmates. Plaintiff claims the refusals show a pattern of deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Plaintiff claims that if his cyst is not properly monitored, it will cause further injury to his brain and needless suffering.

         Liberally construed, Plaintiff has adequately stated an Eighth Amendment medical claim against Defendants Elijah and Corizon. The Court will ...

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