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Reyes v. Brown

United States District Court, S.D. California

July 10, 2017

PEDRO REYES, Plaintiff,
v.
EDMUND G. BROWN, JR.; DR. ROGELIO ORTEGA; RAY MADDEN, Defendants.

          ORDER: (1) ADOPTING R&R; AND (2) DISMISSING PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (ECF NOS. 39, 53, 57)

          Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge

         Presently before the Court are Defendants R. Ortega and R. Madden's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's FAC for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 39), and Defendant R. Beltran's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's FAC for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 53). Also before the Court are (1) Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major's Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) recommending that the Court grant Defendants' motions to dismiss, (ECF No. 57); (2) Plaintiff Pedro Reyes's Objections to the R&R, (“R&R Objs., ” ECF No. 61); and Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Objections to the R&R, (“R&R Reply, ” ECF No. 62). After considering the parties' arguments and the law, the Court rules as follows.

         BACKGROUND

         Judge Major's R&R contains a thorough and accurate recitation of the factual and procedural histories underlying the instant Motions to Dismiss. (See R&R 1-5.[1]) This Order incorporates by reference the background as set forth therein.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) set forth a district court's duties regarding a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. The district court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report . . . to which objection is made, ” and “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673-76 (1980). In the absence of a timely objection, however, “the Court need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 advisory committee's note (citing Campbell v. U.S. Dist. Court, 510 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Summary of the R&R Conclusion

         On September 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed his FAC under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights against Defendants Madden, Ortega, Beltran, and Does 1 through 6. (R&R 2.) Specifically, Plaintiff argues that he was forced to endure unsafe prison conditions, was denied adequate medical care, and suffered cruel and unusual punishment. (Id. at 3.)

         Plaintiff argues that Madden violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from dangerous prison conditions by knowingly failing to fix the dangerous condition of the track which caused Plaintiff to trip and fall while running. (Id. at 7.) Judge Major found that Plaintiff had not shown that the track was a condition posing a substantial risk of serious harm or depriving him of a life necessity, and thus found that the objective requirement of an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to safety claim was not met.[2](Id. at 11.) Judge Major also found that Plaintiff failed to satisfy the subjective prong because his conclusory allegations have not shown a causal link between Madden and the constitutional violation. (Id. at 14.) Thus, Judge Major recommends that the Court grant Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to his safety against Madden with leave to amend. (Id. at 15.)

         Plaintiff argues that Ortega violated his constitutional rights because he was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Ortega provided constitutionally inadequate medical care for three months after Plaintiff's fall by not believing Plaintiff's claims and failing to order appropriate tests, which resulted in Plaintiff enduring ongoing pain and an emergency surgery once the correct tests were performed. (Id.) Judge Major found that Plaintiff satisfies the objective prong of the test for an Eighth Amendment violation because the Court must accept as true Plaintiff's allegations that he fell down and seriously injured his neck, resulting in the need for surgery. (Id. at 16-17.) However, Judge Major found that Plaintiff failed to allege facts supporting the subjective prong because his FAC explained that he was appropriately treated by Ortega throughout the course of these events. (Id. at 17-20.) Thus, Judge Major recommends that the Court grant Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to his medical care without leave to amend. (Id. at 20.)

         Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief to prevent Ortega from acting as his care provider. (Id. at 20.) However, Judge Major concluded that Plaintiff failed to allege any facts demonstrating that Plaintiff is entitled to injunctive relief. (Id. at 20-21.) Thus, Judge Major recommends that the Court deny Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief.

         Plaintiff alleges that Beltran violated his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care when Beltran told Plaintiff “he would have to put in a medical request slip if he wanted to be seen by a doctor, ” as opposed to allowing Plaintiff to see a doctor immediately. (Id. at 21 (citing FAC 5).) Plaintiff sues Beltran in his official capacity for damages, which Judge Major concluded is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. (Id. at 22 (citing, e.g., Dittman v. California, 191 F.3d 1020, 1026 (9th Cir. 1999)).) Thus, Judge Major recommends that this claim for monetary damages against Beltran in his official capacity be dismissed without leave to amend. (Id.)

         Judge Major also recommends that Plaintiff's request to amend his FAC to seek declaratory and/or injunctive relief against Beltran for any medical slip policy be denied because Plaintiff has not shown that there is a “real or immediate threat that [he] will be wronged again.” (Id. at 23 (citing City of L.A. v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111 (1983)).) Finally, Judge Major concluded that it would be futile for Plaintiff to amend his FAC and sue Beltran in his individual capacity because, among other things, Plaintiff characterized Beltran's decision as a “difference in medical opinion, ” (id. at 24 (citing FAC 5)), and notes that it is established law that “a difference of opinion between a prisoner-patient and prison medical authorities regarding treatment does not give rise to a [§] 1983 claim, ” (id. ...


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