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Adam Ray Lopez v. P. Santoyo

November 6, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ruben B. Brooks, Magistrate Judge United States District Court


Plaintiff Adam Ray Lopez, a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a Complaint on January 16, 2009, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [ECF Nos. 1, 4]. He subsequently filed a First Amended Complaint on July 15, 2009 [ECF No. 7], and a Second Amended Complaint on December 13, 2010 [ECF No. 62].*fn1 Lopez contends that Defendants Santoyo and Robertson violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by acting with deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. (Second Am. Compl. 5, ECF No. 62.) The Defendants filed an Answer on December 1, 2011 [ECF No. 98].

Plaintiff's Motion Requesting Permission to Submit Additional Interrogatory Questions was filed nunc pro tunc to May 1, 2012 [ECF No. 115]. On May 10, 2012, the Court issued a minute order construing Plaintiff's request as a motion for leave to serve additional and untimely interrogatories because the May 7, 2012 deadline for propounding discovery had lapsed [ECF No. 117]. Defendants Santoyo and Robertson filed their Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Serve Additional and Untimely Interrogatories on May 24, 2012 [ECF No. 118]. On June 8, 2012, Plaintiff filed an "Opposition to Defendants Motion [sic] and Opposition to Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to Serve Additional Interrogatories," which the Court construes as his Reply [ECF No. 124].

Lopez also filed a Motion for an Order Compelling Discovery on May 31, 2012 [ECF No. 120]. Defendants filed a document titled "Discovery Matter: Defendants' Notice of Opposition and Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel" on June 25, 2012 [ECF No. 126]. One month later, on July 25, 2012, Lopez similarly filed a document titled "Discovery Matter: Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel," which the Court construes as his Reply [ECF No. 130].

The Court finds the motions suitable for resolution on the papers, pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1. See S.D. Cal. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons stated below, Lopez' Motion Requesting Permission to Submit Additional Interrogatory Questions is DENIED. Plaintiff's Motion for an Order Compelling Discovery is GRANTED.


On December 13, 2010, when Lopez filed his Second Amended Complaint, he was incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran, California. (Second Am. Compl. 1, ECF No. 62.) The events giving rise to this action occurred between July 26, 2006, and July 10, 2007, while Plaintiff was housed at Calipatria State Prison ("Calipatria"). (Id. at 2, 5-10.)

Plaintiff argues that on July 26, 2006, he submitted a Health Care Services Request Form complaining of pain and discomfort in his teeth and requesting that his wisdom teeth be extracted. (Id. at 5 (citing id. Ex. A, at 14).) Defendant Santoyo, D.D.S., examined Lopez on November 1, 2006, in response to his request. (Id.) The Plaintiff maintains that Dr. Santoyo's notes from that examination indicate that Lopez had a serious dental need. (Id.; see id. Ex. B, at 16.) According to Plaintiff, Santoyo then completed a physician request for services form stating that Lopez was in "urgent" need of oral surgery for two impacted molars, and he was experiencing swelling, pain, and infection in his mouth. (Second Am. Compl. 5, ECF No. 62.) Santoyo classified Plaintiff's condition as "Priority 1C," a classification that required any oral surgery to be performed within sixty days of diagnosis. (Id.) Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that he told Defendant he was experiencing extreme pain and discomfort, but the dentist refused to prescribe any pain medication. (Id. at 5, 7).

Lopez submits that Dr. Santoyo told him that because Santoyo did not perform wisdom teeth extractions, Lopez must be transported to an outside medical service provider, and Dr. Torchia, D.D.S., would perform the surgery. (Id. at 6.)*fn2 But another inmate at the prison, Christopher Soto, told Lopez in late 2007 that Dr. Santoyo had extracted Soto's wisdom teeth. (See id. at 9-10.) Plaintiff complains that "defendant Santoyo maliciously told [him] that he did not perform tooth extractions." (Id. at 10.)

Lopez alleges that on November 2, 2006, Defendant Robertson, chief dental officer at Calipatria, approved the "urgent Priority 1C" surgery. (Id. at 6.) The Plaintiff maintains that prison regulations provide that the chief dental officer must review all documents relating to a prisoner's medical condition before approving oral surgery. (Id.) Lopez argues that in approving the wisdom teeth extraction, Robertson was made aware of Plaintiff's serious dental need. (Id. at 7.)

Lopez submitted an inmate grievance on January 1, 2007. Id. His grievance was partially granted at the informal level on February 20, 2007. (Id. Ex. E, at 27.) Plaintiff was informed that he was "on the oral surgery list to be seen by an outside provider." (Id.) Dissatisfied, Lopez appealed the 602 response to the formal level, stating that his surgery should be done "forthwith." (Id.)

On April 20, 2007, Plaintiff submitted another health care request seeking priority status over other prisoners' medical procedures in light of his severe pain. (Second Am. Compl. 7, ECF No. 62.) Santoyo responded to the appeal on April 23, 2007. (Id. Ex. E, at 27-28.) Plaintiff was advised that he was scheduled to see the oral surgeon on April 30, 2007. (Id. Ex. E, at 28.)

On that date, "after a 10 month delay without any pain medication," Plaintiff contends he was transported to the outside medical provider in San Diego, California, and received his surgery. (Second Am. Compl. 8, ECF No. 62.) According to Lopez, Dr. Torchia chipped one of Plaintiff's teeth while performing the procedure and subsequently issued a physician's order directing Calipatria dentists to repair the tooth. (Id. (citing id. Ex. G, at 32).) Lopez asserts Torchia only prescribed him a five-day supply of Motrin for the pain. (Id.)

On May 2, 2007, the Plaintiff submitted a health care request complaining of pain and swelling to his jaw and stating that the Motrin had no effect on his pain. (Id.) Lopez maintains that he was put on a liquid diet but was not prescribed "any medication at all." (Id.) Plaintiff claims that approximately one week after his surgery, he spoke with Dr. Santoyo, who stated he would repair Lopez's chipped tooth himself. (Id. at 9 (citing id. Ex. I, at

36).) On May 15, 2007, Santoyo examined Lopez, who told Dr. Santoyo that he was in pain and needed his tooth repaired, yet Defendant did "absolutely nothing for the plaintiff." (Id. at 8-9.)

On May 31, 2007, Lopez submitted another health care request indicating that he needed his chipped tooth filled and his teeth cleaned. (Id. at 9.) Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Santoyo on June 12, 2007; Lopez told him that he was in pain, could not eat, and needed his tooth repaired, but the Defendant "took no action." (Id.) Santoyo ultimately repaired Lopez's chipped tooth on July 10, 2007. (Id.)

Plaintiff alleges Defendants' conduct constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. (Id. at 5, 10-11.) Lopez also complains that "the prison's medical care system and policy Title 15 3354" are ineffective because he did not receive his surgery within sixty days of being approved for surgery, as required. (Id. at 11.)


A. Additional Interrogatories

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33(a)(1) provides: "Unless otherwise stipulated or ordered by the court, a party may serve on any other party no more than 25 written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts. Leave to serve additional interrogatories may be granted to the extent consistent with Rule 26(b)(2)." Civil Local Rule 33.1 requires a party seeking to serve additional interrogatories to "submit to the court a written motion setting forth the ...

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