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Miron v. Krpan

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 16, 2019

ARON MIRON, Plaintiff,
v.
J. KRPAN, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DENNIS M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 13).

         I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff Aron Miron is a prisoner at California Health Care Facility in Stockton, CA and names the following as defendants: (1) J. Krpan; (2) K. Kaur; (3) N. Malakkla; and (4) A. Adams. See ECF No.1, pgs. 1-2. Plaintiff alleges two claims for relief under the 8th Amendment, as outlined below.

         Claim I - Request for Mattress

Plaintiff suffers from constant pain due to a spinal injury. See ECF No. 1, pg. 3. Plaintiff alleges that a prior physician, not named in the complaint, authorized the use of a “pain-reducing mattress, ” but that defendant Dr. Kaur later revoked that authorization on April 10, 2018. Id. At the Institutional Level Response, Kaur denied plaintiff's request, stating that “…certain miscellaneous supplies or property, such as bedding…shall not be considered medical supplies, DME, or medically necessary accommodations and are not prescribed or ordered by health care staff.” See ECF No. 1, pg. 22. Also, Kaur stated that “[m]edical needs can and do change over time . . . . The fact that you may have been allowed certain medical appliances or chronos at one prison and later denied one or more of the same chronos at a different prison . . . is not evidence of inadequate medical care . . . .” Id.

         Plaintiff appealed the denial of the mattress to the highest level of the administrative process, Headquarters' Level Response, but was ultimately denied on July 25, 2018. See ECF No. 1, pg. 19. The denial stated in part, “[o]n April 3, 2018, you were seen and evaluated in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinic regarding your specialty mattress, where it was noted you had no skin breakdown or pressure ulcer history and you did not meet the criteria for a pressure reducing support surface….” Id.

         Plaintiff claims that these denials amount to a violation of his 8th Amendment rights and that all named defendants “…bear some responsibility.” See ECF No. 1, pg. 3.

         Claim II - Request for Knee Surgery

         Plaintiff also claims to suffer from “increasingly unbearable pain” in his left knee. See ECF No. 1, pg. 4. On April 18, 2017, an MRI exam was conducted on plaintiff's knee on the orders of defendant Dr. Krpan, after which, plaintiff requested medical treatment to help deal with the pain. Id. Krpan allegedly delayed providing plaintiff with medical treatment and lagged in ordering corrective surgery despite repeated requests by plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff filed a medical grievance but was denied by defendant Malakkla on October 18, 2017. Id.

         On November 1, 2017, plaintiff had an orthopedic consultation, and the health care provider recommended left total knee replacement. See ECF No. 1, pg. 35. On December 2, 2017, plaintiff had a follow-up primary care provider encounter with Krpan regarding the consultation. Id. Krpan “noted” the orthopedic consultation's recommendation, but plaintiff allegedly refused surgery and instead requested a knee brace. Id. However, plaintiff denies making such a refusal and claims to have never been offered surgery. See ECF No. 1, pg. 4. After further requests for medical assistance, his grievance was once again denied on March 2, 2018. Id. Also, on May 7, 2018, plaintiff was noted as being able to ambulate with a walker, was in “no acute distress, ” and his “activities of daily living were not limited.” See ECF No. 1, pg. 35. Since then, plaintiff has had to endure “…extreme pain and suffering….” See ECF No. 1, pg. 4. Plaintiff alleges this conduct constitutes a violation of his 8th Amendment rights.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all allegations of material fact in the complaint as true. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). The court must also construe the alleged facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); see also Hosp. Bldg. Co. v. Rex Hosp. Trustees, 425 U.S. 738, 740 (1976); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813, 816 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). All ambiguities or doubts must also be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. See Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421 (1969). However, legally conclusory statements, not supported by actual factual allegations, need not be accepted. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50 (2009). In addition, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief” in order to “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, in order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action;” it must contain factual allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555-56. The complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility for entitlement to relief.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court generally may not consider materials outside the complaint and pleadings. See Cooper v. Pickett, 137 F.3d 616, 622 (9th Cir. 1998); Branch v. Tunnell, 14 F.3d 449, 453 (9th Cir. 1994). The court may, however, consider: (1) documents whose contents are alleged in or attached to the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, see Branch, 14 F.3d at 454; (2) documents whose authenticity is not in question, and upon which the complaint necessarily relies, but which are not attached to the complaint, see Lee v. City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001); and (3) documents and materials of which the court may take judicial notice, see Barron v. Reich, 13 F.3d 1370, 1377 (9th Cir. 1994).

         Finally, leave to amend must be granted “[u]nless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defects.” Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); see also Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         III. ...


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