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Williams v. Ortega

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 6, 2019

O. ORTEGA, ET AL., Defendants.


          Hon. Mitchell D. Dembin United States Magistrate Judge.

         This Report and Recommendation is submitted to United States Judge Larry Alan Burns pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 72.1(c) of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

         For the reasons set forth herein, it is RECOMMENDED that Defendants' Motions to Dismiss be GRANTED.


         Plaintiff Lance Williams (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (“Donovan”) proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 26 at 1).[1] On March 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Complaint”). (ECF No. 1). The Complaint sets forth various claims against officer J. Melgoza (“Defendant Melgoza”), psychiatric technician/nurse M. Kimani (“Defendant Kimani”), and others. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Melgoza and Kimani violated his Eighth Amendment rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. (ECF No. 1 at 8, 11-12). Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Kimani falsified medical records in violation of California Penal Code sections 132 and 134. (Id. at 2).

         On June 28, 2019, Defendants Melgoza and Kimani filed a Motion to Dismiss the claims against them. (ECF No. 26). Defendants contend that Plaintiff failed to allege that Defendants Melgoza and Kimani were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs. (ECF No. 26-1 at 3-4). Defendants further contend that California Penal Code sections 132 and 134 do not offer redress under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id. at 5-6).

         On July 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (“Opposition”). (ECF No. 28). In the Opposition, Plaintiff alleges additional facts that were not alleged in the Complaint. In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court may not consider facts alleged for the first time in opposition to a motion to dismiss. See Cervantes v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1274 (9th Cir. 1993). As such, the Court's analysis is limited to the facts alleged in the Complaint.


         The facts as presented are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and are not to be construed as findings of fact by the Court. This discussion is limited to the allegations regarding Defendants Melgoza and Kimani.

         Plaintiff's claims arise from a series of events on March 1, 2018. (ECF No. 1 at 4). On March 1, 2018, Plaintiff walked to the sergeant's office and crossed paths with officer Ortega (“Defendant Ortega”). (Id.). Defendant Ortega told Plaintiff it was “yard recall” and Plaintiff must return to his cell. (Id.). Plaintiff told Defendant Ortega that Plaintiff was going to see the sergeant about “his court call, ” and continued walking. (Id.). The conversation led to an altercation where Defendant Ortega pushed Plaintiff into the wall. (Id. at 5). The altercation escalated and ended with Defendant Ortega handcuffing Plaintiff. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Ortega pulled the handcuffs “extremely tight.” (Id.). Defendant Ortega took Plaintiff to the P.S.U. mental health building and placed Plaintiff in the “cage, ” where Plaintiff remained for one hour. (Id.). Plaintiff requested medical throughout the hour he spent in the cage. (Id. at 6).

         After Plaintiff was released from the cage, Plaintiff returned to his building. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff asked Defendant Melgoza to call medical to treat his injuries sustained during the altercation with Defendant Ortega. (Id.). Defendant Melgoza said, “I'm not calling anybody go tell the Seargent.” [sic] (Id.). Plaintiff requested Defendant Melgoza allow Plaintiff out of the building to speak with the sergeant. (Id.). Defendant Melgoza allowed Plaintiff out of the building. (Id.). Before this conversation with Defendant Melgoza, Plaintiff “went to numerous inmates cells” [sic] to show them his injuries. (Id.).

         In his examination following this incident, Plaintiff showed Defendant Kimani “fresh dried blood” on his wrist, a cut in his nose [sic], and fresh blood on his shirt. (Id. at 11). Plaintiff informed Defendant Kimani of “throbbing pain” in his body and that he could not move his ring finger. (Id.). Defendant Kimani did not perform a mental health assessment or check Plaintiff's body for injuries or bruising. (Id. at 12). Plaintiff attached to the Complaint a copy of the medical report Defendant Kimani prepared following the examination. (Id. at 30). The report indicates that Plaintiff had scabs on his wrists. (Id.). The report indicates that Defendant Kimani examined Plaintiff at 12:40 and that a registered nurse was notified at 13:00. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Kimani falsified this report. (Id. at 12).


         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a claim. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). “Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (internal quotations omitted). The pleader must provide the Court with “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. at 678 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. The court must ...

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