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Sutton v. Brooks

United States District Court, Central District of California

November 26, 2014

HAROLD KENT SUTTON, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. BROOKS, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS AND DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND

HON. KENLY KIYA KATO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

On February 5, 2014, Plaintiff Harold Kent Sutton, an inmate at California State Prison in Represa, California (“CSP-SAC”), filed a pro se complaint (“Complaint”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF Docket No. (“Dkt.”) 8. The Court subsequently ordered service of the Complaint. On November 18, 2014, defendants Bingham, Brooks, Shank, and Visico filed a Motion to Dismiss (“Motion”), arguing the Complaint failed to state a claim against any defendant. Dkt. 31. After careful review, the Court grants the Motion and dismissed the Complaint with leave to amend for the reasons discussed below.

I.

ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

Plaintiff is an inmate at CSP-SAC. While it is unclear when the alleged incident occurred, it appears Plaintiff was provided with dental treatment during his detention at CSP-SAC. Plaintiff names four defendants – Dr. Brooks (“defendant Brooks”), Dr. C. Bingham (“defendant Bingham”), Dr. R. Visico (“defendant Visico”), and P. Shanks (“defendant Shanks”). Compl. at 3. Plaintiff alleges defendant Brooks is a “staff dentist” who “failed to extract tooth when requested.” Id. With respect to defendant Bingham, Plaintiff alleges she “failed [to] properly supervise staff dentist.” Id. With respect to defendant Visico, Plaintiff alleges he is a dentist who “failed to inform Dr. Banks of tooth to be pulled on x-rays.” Id. Finally, with respect to defendant Shanks, Plaintiff alleges she “refused to respond to [his prison grievance] in a timely fashion.” Id.

Plaintiff requests “that the courts will order the dental staff to compensate [him] for . . . pain and suffers (sic).” Id.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate when the complaint lacks a cognizable legal theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Medical Center, 521 F.3d 1097, 1104 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep’t, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). “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, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible 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. Conclusory allegations are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. Although a complaint challenged by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion does not need detailed factual allegations, “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do, ” and the factual allegations of the complaint “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

All allegations of material fact are accepted as true, “as well as all reasonable inferences to be drawn from them.” Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001); see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. For an allegation to be entitled to the assumption of truth, however, it must be well-pleaded; that is, it must set forth a non-conclusory factual allegation rather than a legal conclusion. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. The Court need not accept as true unreasonable inferences, unwarranted deductions of fact, or conclusory legal allegations cast in the form of factual allegations. See id.; see also Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir. 2004) (“conclusory allegations of law and unwarranted inferences are insufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss”); Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001) (court not “required to accept as true allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences”). “In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non-conclusory ‘factual content, ’ and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Moss v. U.S. Secret Service, 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

“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.” Woods v. Carey, 525 F.3d 886, 889-90 (9th Cir. 2008) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). “[W]e have an obligation where the petitioner is pro se, particularly in civil rights cases, to construe the pleadings liberally and to afford the petitioner the benefit of any doubt.” Akhtar v. Mesa, 698 F.3d 1202, 1212 (9th Cir. 2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

III.

DISCUSSION

A. PLAINTIFF FAILS TO STATE A CLAIM FOR DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE TO SERIOUS MEDICAL NEEDS AGAINST ...


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