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Julio Maldonado v. Rodriguez

May 25, 2012

JULIO MALDONADO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RODRIGUEZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the court on a motion to dismiss brought on behalf of defendant Green. Plaintiff has filed an opposition to the motion. Counsel for defendant Green has not filed a reply.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is proceeding on an amended complaint against defendant Nurses Green and Rodriguez.*fn1 Therein, plaintiff alleges that his doctors prescribed him heart medication after he underwent heart surgery in December 2007. According to plaintiff, in August 2008, the defendant nurses refused to provide him with his medication and falsified his medical records to indicate that they had given him the prescribed medication when in fact, they had not. Plaintiff alleges that he ultimately was required to undergo a second heart surgery as a result of the defendant nurses' refusal to provide him with proper medical care. In terms of relief, plaintiff requests a declaratory judgment and monetary damages. (Am. Compl. at 1-10 & Ex. H.)

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 28, 2011, the court determined that plaintiff's amended complaint appeared to state cognizable claims against defendant Nurses Gandy, Green, and Rodriguez. On August 9, 2011, defendant Gandy filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and due to plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Defendants Green and Rodriguez were not parties to that motion because they had not yet appeared in this action due to service issues. On December 8, 2011, the undersigned issued findings and recommendations, recommending that defendant Gandy's motion pursuant to unenumerated Rule 12(b)(6) be granted and that defendant Gandy be dismissed from this action. On January 19, 2012, the assigned district judge adopted those findings and recommendations in full and dismissed defendant Gandy.

On January 6, 2012, defendant Green filed the pending motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Defendant Rodriguez, who as noted has not appeared in this action due to service issues, is not a party to this motion.

DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

I. Defendant Nurse Green's Motion

Counsel on behalf of defendant Green has filed the pending motion to dismiss arguing, inter alia, that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing suit as required. Specifically, counsel contends that plaintiff's primary complaint as expressed in his inmate appeal was that Nurse Rodriguez failed to provide him with blood pressure medication and falsified records to show that she had given him medication when she had not. Counsel contends that in his inmate grievance plaintiff did not complain to prison officials about defendant Nurse Green's alleged conduct. In fact, according to defense counsel, in his inmate grievance plaintiff only mentioned defendant Nurse Green twice. The first time he acknowledged that Nurse Green had provided him with a print out of his medications as he had requested. The second time he affirmed that Nurse Green had "performed her duties." Defense counsel contends that by these brief references to Nurse Green in his inmate grievances, plaintiff failed to satisfy the exhaustion requirement with respect to any claim of inadequate medical care against defendant Nurse Green. (Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 4-8 & Ex. A & Attach. 1.)

II. Plaintiff's Opposition

In opposition to defendant Nurse Green's motion to dismiss, plaintiff argues that he has exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to defendant Nurse Green prior to filing suit. Specifically, plaintiff contends that he complained in his inmate grievance that he was receiving inadequate medical care and that he was unnecessarily put at risk. Plaintiff argues that his failure to mention defendant Green in any more detail in his inmate grievance is not grounds for dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Plaintiff also argues that defense counsel has taken his words out of context by arguing that plaintiff stated defendant Nurse Green "performed her duties." In truth, plaintiff contends that in that part of his inmate grievance he was only making reference to what a different nurse had said with regard to defendant Nurse Green providing him with a medication administration report print out. (Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss at 2-3.)

ANALYSIS

I. Legal Standards Applicable to a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Non-Enumerated Rule 12(b) By the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), Congress amended 42 U.S.C. § 1997e to provide that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The exhaustion requirement "applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that exhaustion of prison administrative procedures is mandated regardless of the relief offered through such procedures. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). The Supreme Court has also cautioned against reading futility or other exceptions into the statutory exhaustion requirement. Id. at 741 n.6. Moreover, because proper exhaustion is necessary, a prisoner cannot satisfy the PLRA exhaustion requirement by filing an ...


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