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Calzadilla v. Kent

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 20, 2018

LIDIO CALZADILLA #102417
v.
JASON KENT, ET AL.

         NOTICE

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.

         In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen (14) days after being served with the attached Report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which have been accepted by the District Court.

         ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.

         Before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (R. Doc. 8) filed on behalf of defendants, Warden Jason Kent, Dr. Robert Cleveland and Nurse Travis Day. This Motion is opposed. See R. Doc. 10.

         The pro se plaintiff, an inmate confined at Dixon Correctional Institute (“DCI”), Jackson, Louisiana, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Jason Kent, Dr. Robert Cleveland and Nurse Travis Day, [1] alleging that his constitutional rights were violated when the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. The plaintiff seeks monetary relief.

         Defendants first seek dismissal on jurisdictional grounds, presumably pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, of the plaintiff's § 1983 claims against them in their official capacities. In this regard, the defendants are correct that § 1983 does not provide a federal forum for a litigant who seeks monetary damages against either a state or its officials acting in their official capacities, specifically because these officials are not seen to be “persons” within the meaning of § 1983. Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). In addition, in Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21 (1991), the United States Supreme Court addressed the distinction between official capacity and individual capacity lawsuits and made clear that a suit against a state official in an official capacity for monetary damages is treated as a suit against the state and is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Id. at 25.

         Accordingly, the plaintiff's § 1983 claims asserted against the defendants in their official capacities for monetary damages are subject to dismissal. In contrast, the plaintiff's § 1983 claims for monetary damages asserted against the defendants in their individual capacities remain viable because a claim against a state official in an individual capacity, seeking to impose personal liability for actions taken under color of state law, is not treated as a suit against the state. Id. at 29. Of course, the plaintiff must be able to prove a deprivation of his constitutional civil rights in order to obtain any entitlement to relief.

         The defendants next assert, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court clarified the standard of pleading that a plaintiff must meet in order to survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, supra, at 555. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, supra, 556 U.S. at 678, quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, supra. “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. It follows that, “where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.' ” Id. at 679. “Where a Complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.' ” Id. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court “must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the Complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Further, “[a] document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed' ... and ‘a pro se Complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Id. (citation omitted). Notwithstanding, the court need not accept “a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation, ” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or “naked assertions [of unlawful conduct] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, supra, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In his Complaint, the plaintiff alleges the following: On October 18, 2016, his right calf was swollen causing excruciating pain. The plaintiff was examined by defendant Dr. Cleveland who ordered the plaintiff to be transferred to a local emergency room. Ultrasounds and x-rays were conducted at the hospital. The plaintiff, a dialysis patient, was diagnosed with fluid in his calf, and was prescribed Norco. The plaintiff's prescription was not filled, and the plaintiff was not provided with a substitute drug.

         The plaintiff specifically informed unspecified DCI medical staff and defendant Warden Kent that he had been prescribed Norco and they refused to provide him with the prescription drug due to the cost. As a result, the plaintiff suffered from severe pain and was unable to walk on his leg for weeks.

         In response to the plaintiff's allegations, the defendants have asserted that they are entitled to qualified immunity in connection with the plaintiff's claims. Specifically, the defendants contend that the plaintiff has failed to make sufficient allegations of conduct on their part which rises to ...


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