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Grangetto v. Adams

June 23, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge


On May 4, 2009, Defendants Darrel G. Adams and David J. Kyle ("Defendants") filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. The matter was heard on June 5, 2009, before the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge. Cindy Cannon appeared telephonically on behalf of Plaintiff. James Flynn appeared telephonically on behalf of Defendants.


Plaintiff Mark Grangetto, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem Nora Weber ("Plaintiff"), filed the instant civil rights action in the Kings County Superior Court on March 1, 2007. The action was removed to this Court on March 20, 2007. Plaintiff alleged Eighth Amendment claims based on the conditions of his confinement and denial of medical care against Defendants Cal Terhune, Derral G. Adams and David J. Kyle, M.D. ("Defendants")

On October 2, 2008, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. On December 31, 2008, the Court granted the motion with leave to amend, finding that (1) the allegations against Defendants Terhune and Adams did not rise to the level necessary to overcome the bar on supervisory liability; and (2) Plaintiff could not state allegations and/or damages relating to the loss of good-time credits and denial of parole.

Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on February 2, 2009. He named Dr. Kyle and Warden Adams as Defendants and again alleged his Eighth Amendment claims. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the FAC on February 27, 2009. On April 3, 2009, the Court denied the motion to dismiss the FAC as moot because Plaintiff proposed filing an amended complaint that deleted claims for injunctive relief and instead focused on Plaintiff's damages claims for the period prior to the filing of this action. Defendants did not object to the proposal and the Court ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") on April 27, 2009. He again names Dr. Kyle and Warden Adams as Defendants, realleges his Eighth Amendment claims, and seeks general, economic and punitive damages.

Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss the SAC on May 4, 2009. Plaintiff filed an opposition on May 22, 2009, and Defendants filed their reply on May 29, 2009.


In the SAC it is alleged, Plaintiff is a medically disabled and mentally incompetent adult male currently incarcerated in Corcoran State Prison ("CSP"). He alleges that Defendant Adams, the Warden at CSP, was responsible for promoting and implementing custody policies at CSP and the California Substance Abuse Treatment Center ("CSATF") through which the conditions of confinement and the delivery of medical care to disabled inmates such as Plaintiff violated the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Adams was informed in writing of Plaintiff's medical condition, starvation, mental state, need for a wheelchair, and repeated delays in addressing his 602s and appeals. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Adams characterized Plaintiff's starvation as a "hunger strike" (even though he was asking for a dietary supplement because his weight had dropped below 115 pounds) and approved his placement in the Administrative Segregation Unit ("Ad Seg") at CSATF and the Segregated Housing Unit ("SHU") at CSP where Plaintiff could not be monitored for his diabetes, for side effects from antipsychotic medications or for his deteriorating medical condition. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Adams restricted his visitation, which limited family members' ability to communicate with the facility regarding Plaintiff's debilitated state and deteriorating medical condition.

Defendant Kyle was the Chief Medical Officer at CSATF, and was responsible for the physicians who treated Plaintiff. Defendant Kyle also directly treated Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Kyle forcefully administered antipsychotic medications to Plaintiff, or allowed the administration of such, without any medical purpose, and therefore caused the exacerbation of Plaintiff's illnesses. Under Defendant Kyle, the administration of antipsychotic medication was concealed from the court during probate proceedings in 2004 and in 2006. Plaintiff further alleges that under Defendant Kyle's direction, his medical needs were blatantly disregarded such that Plaintiff was not provided a wheelchair or medical attention. He alleges that Defendant Kyle acted with specific animus when he wrote that it would be "an honor" to be the one to "kill" Plaintiff, and referred to Plaintiff as a "contemptible waste of air." SAC, ¶ 18.

Plaintiff alleges that he is a 43-year-old, wheelchair-bound male who suffers from diabetes, hepatitis C, chronic liver function failure, as well as brain injuries and other ailments. He alleges that he is not psychotic and has never been diagnosed with a condition to warrant the administration of antipsychotic medications. He believes that the antipsychotic medications caused his diabetes and exacerbated other medical conditions, and that Defendants actively concealed the administration from the courts and other parties. He alleges that the medications were forcefully administered until he became addicted and voluntarily accepted them, and that this was done without his informed consent. Plaintiff further alleges that the administration of the medication interfered with his ability to obtain a fair parole hearing in June 2006 and resulted in the denial of good time credits.

Plaintiff also contends that he was denied access to the prison appeals process. In June 2005, he allegedly was denied his wheelchair, medical care, sufficient nutrition and hydration and means to bathe and use the restroom while in the SHU.

In the First Cause of Action for Violation of the Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants allowed his illnesses, including his diabetes and chronic liver function failure, to deteriorate intentionally by the forced administration of the antipsychotic medication, without court order, and permitted the refusal of basic medical care. This denial, as well as allowing Plaintiff to be housed without a wheelchair, adequate bed or ability to bathe or use the toilet, rendered his medical conditions a condition of his confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

In the Second Cause of Action for Violation of the Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the illegal administration of antipsychotic medication for 34 months, he was denied necessary medical care mandated by statute for the administration of such medication. He further alleges that the administration of the drugs was not for a legitimate medical purpose, and that the failure to deliver medical care violated the Eighth Amendment.

Plaintiff seeks economic, general and punitive damages.


In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court must accept as true the allegations of the complaint in question, Hospital Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hospital Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976), construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and resolve all doubts in the pleader's favor. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, reh'g denied, 396 U.S. 869 (1969). A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim should not be granted unless it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle him to relief. SeeHishon v. King & Spalding, ...

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