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Gonzalez v. Gusman

United States District Court, S.D. California

November 14, 2017

LEANDRO LEONEL GONZALEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER GUZMAN, CORRECTIONAL OFFICER RODRIN, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT RODRIN'S MOTION TO DISMISS THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT WITH LEAVE TO AMEND [DKT. NO. 21]

          HON. GONZALO P. CURIEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently before the Court is Defendant Correctional Officer Rodrin's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Leandro Leonel Gonzalez's First Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 21. Plaintiff filed an opposition on September 25, 2017. Dkt. No. 27. Defendant Rodrin filed a reply on November 3, 2017. Dkt. No. 31.

         Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), the Court finds the matter suitable for adjudication without oral argument.

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT Defendant Rodrin's motion to dismiss with leave to amend.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 8, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Correctional Officers Guzman and Rodrin had violated his Eighth Amendment rights while he was incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility. Dkt. No. 1 at 16-18. On April 18, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Dkt. No. 4. On August 1, 2017, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint to substitute the correct name for Correctional Officer Guzman. Dkt. No. 15. On August 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). Dkt. No. 18. Defendant Rodrin filed his motion to dismiss on September 5, 2017. Dkt. No. 21.

         On April 6, 2015, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility and housed in cell 201 in that facility. FAC ¶ 2. Plaintiff's cell door allegedly malfunctioned such that when the officer attempted to open the door, it would only open 5-6 inches. FAC ¶ 3. As a result, plaintiff or his cellmate Juan Rocha, would get up and place their hands in the “little space” between the door and the cell to pull the door open. Id. ¶¶ 4-5. At approximately 7:20 AM, Correctional Officer Guzman opened the door about 5-6 inches, and plaintiff inserted his hand into the “little space” with the intention to pull the door open as he had previously done when prior correctional officers had attempted to open the cell door. Id. ¶¶ 4, 9. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Guzman closed the door on Plaintiff's right hand “malicious[ly] and sadistic[ally]”, and that he failed to respond despite Plaintiff's repeated requests to “open the door.” Id. ¶¶ 9-11. After Plaintiff made this request a “couple of times, ” Defendant Guzman opened the door. Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges that his fingers were deeply cut and that he had mobility issues in his right hand and arm. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff's cellmate Juan Rocha observed that Plaintiff's “fingers in his right hand” had “deep cuts.” FAC, Ex. 25. Another inmate stated that Plaintiff had “deep cuts on His fingers” and that plaintiff had issues with physical activity using his arms after the incident. FAC, Ex. 26.

         Plaintiff called a porter and asked him to explain to Correctional Officer Rodrin that he had a medical emergency. Id. ¶ 20. According to Plaintiff “Defendant Rodrin did not [give] importance to Plaintiff's request for medical attention.” Id.

         Plaintiff subsequently showed Defendant Rodrin the cuts on his fingers, which were still bleeding, and requested immediate health care services, which Rodrin denied. Id. ¶ 24. After Rodrin denied immediate health care services, Plaintiff submitted on that same day a Health Care Services Request Form describing his health issues. Id. ¶ 33. Plaintiff was seen by Registered Nurse Calderon the next day. Id. ¶¶ 21-24; 45. Plaintiff claims to have exhausted all available administrative remedies at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in California, pointing to a series of appeals regarding this issue that began on April 6, 2015 and ended with a Third Level Appeal Decision denying his appeal on November 3, 2016. Id. ¶¶ 35-85.[1]

         Plaintiff alleges two causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Guzman violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment through his battery against Plaintiff and through his failure to reasonably respond. Id. ¶ 88. Second, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Rodrin violated the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide immediate health care services to Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 99. This instant motion is brought solely on behalf of Defendant Rodrin as to the second cause of action.[2]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         a. 12(b)(6)

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). Dismissal is proper where there is either a “lack of a cognizable legal theory” or “the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.” Balisteri v. Pacifica Police Dep 't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990). To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). While a plaintiff need not give “detailed factual allegations, ” a plaintiff must plead sufficient facts that, if true, “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 545. “[F]or 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 Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).

         In reviewing a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must assume the truth of all factual allegations and must construe all inferences from them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Thompson v. Davis, 295 F.3d 890, 895 (9th Cir. 2002); Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.,80 F.3d 336, 337-38 (9th Cir. 1996). Legal conclusions, however, need not be taken as true merely because they are cast in the form of factual allegations. Ileto v. Glock, Inc.,349 F.3d 1191, 1200 (9th Cir. 2003); W. Mining Council v. Watt,643 F.2d 618, 624 (9th Cir. 1981). Moreover, a court “will dismiss any claim that, even when construed in the light most ...


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