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Tripp v. Stocker

December 10, 2009

LONNIE TRIPP, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KIM STOCKER, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with this action. Pending before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). On October 16, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion to disregard defendants' motion and for the appointment of counsel. The court construes this pleading as an opposition to defendants' motion.

For the following reasons, the court recommends defendants' motion be granted in part and denied in part.

LEGAL STANDARD FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain more than a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;" it must contain factual allegations sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). "The pleading must contain something more...than...a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action." Id., quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). "[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, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955). "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.

In considering a motion to dismiss, 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, 96 S.Ct. 1848, 1850 (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, 89 S.Ct. 1843, 1849, reh'g denied, 396 U.S. 869, 90 S.Ct. 35 (1969). The court will "'presume that general allegations embrace those specific facts that are necessary to support the claim.'" National Organization for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 256, 114 S.Ct. 798, 803 (1994), quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 2137 (1992). Moreover, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 596 (1972).

The court may consider facts established by exhibits attached to the complaint. Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d 1265, 1267 (9th Cir. 1987). The court may also consider facts which may be judicially noticed, Mullis v. United States Bankruptcy Ct., 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987); and matters of public record, including pleadings, orders, and other papers filed with the court, Mack v. South Bay Beer Distributors, 798 F.2d 1279, 1282 (9th Cir. 1986). The court need not accept legal conclusions "cast in the form of factual allegations." Western Mining Council v. Watt, 643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981).

A pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the deficiencies in the complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless the complaint's deficiencies could not be cured by amendment. See Noll v. Carlson, 809 F. 2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir. 1987).

DISCUSSION

This action is proceeding on the original complaint filed November 26, 2008, as to defendants Stocker, Sahota, Evans and Grannis. Plaintiff, who is diabetic, alleges that defendants failed to provide him with a proper medical diet. Plaintiff alleges that defendants violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While plaintiff does not specifically allege a constitutional violation, he states that he brought his action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Liberally construing the complaint, the undersigned finds that plaintiff is also raising an Eighth Amendment claim for inadequate medical care.

As relief, plaintiff seeks an order directing defendants to transfer him to a prison that can provide him with an adequate diet, appropriate medical care to cover his disability, sanctions against those who interfered with his treatment, protection from retaliation and the costs for filing the action. The undersigned does not construe plaintiff's request for sanctions as a request for money damages. Accordingly, plaintiff seeks injunctive relief only.

Defendants first argue that plaintiff's ADA claim is barred because there is a pending class action concerning the same subject matter.

Title II of the ADA "prohibit[s] discrimination on the basis of disability." Lovell v. Chandler, 303 F.3d 1039, 1052 (9th Cir.2002). Title II of the ADA provides that "no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subject to discrimination by such entity." 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Title II of the ADA applies to inmates within state prisons. Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206, 210, 118 S.Ct. 1952 (1998).

In order to state a claim of disability discrimination under Title II, plaintiff must allege four elements: (1) that plaintiff is an individual with a disability; (2) that plaintiff is otherwise qualified to participate in or receive the benefit of some public entity's services, programs, or activities; (3) that plaintiff was either excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of the public entity's services, programs, or activities, or was otherwise discriminated against by the public entity; and (4) such exclusion, denial of benefits, or discrimination was by reason of plaintiff's ...


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