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Ruiz v. Bodukam

United States District Court, E.D. California

October 16, 2019

ROGELIO MAY RUIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
VIJAY BODUKAM, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECCOMMENDATIONS

          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' unopposed motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 15).

         I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         Plaintiff Rogelio May Ruiz is currently an inmate at California State Prison (CSP) in Represa, CA. See ECF No. 1, pg. 1. Plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) Vijay Bodukam, (2) Bright, (3) S. Gates, and (4) J. Lewis. Id. at 2. The Court notes that the complaint contains multiple exhibits written in Spanish, as well as sentences which are difficult to interpret. The following is this Court's understanding of the allegations set forth by plaintiff.

         Request for Orthopedic Shoes and Pain Relief

         Plaintiff submitted multiple requests to defendant Dr. Vijay Bodukam for orthopedic shoes. See ECF No. 1, pg. 3. Plaintiff alleges that in 2014, Dr. Robert Scharffenberg, a non-party, had ordered a permanent “chrono” for plaintiff to have orthopedic shoes. Id. Plaintiff requires these shoes because of pain related to his ankles, hips, and the uneven length of his legs. Id. He claims to not be able to stand on his feet for more than two hours a day without them. Id. After an X-ray was conducted, Bodukam allegedly denied plaintiff's requests for orthopedic shoes because he believed they were not medically necessary. Id. A non-party radiologist named Mr. Jojo told plaintiff, “Ruiz you have a piece of bone…”, apparently meaning to say that plaintiff had medical issues which needed addressing. Id. Bodukam showed plaintiff a copy of the results and told him that he was “good.” Id. Plaintiff disagrees with Bodukam and calls him a “liar”, but it is unclear from the complaint what plaintiff alleges Bodukam lied about. Id.

         Plaintiff was given Tylenol or ibuprofen, but the medication apparently did not alleviate his pain and instead caused him nausea. See ECF No. 1, pg. 4. On March 3, 2017, plaintiff submitted a health care appeal for orthopedic shoes. Id. On May 17, 2017, a Reasonable Accommodation Request Panel, including defendant Bright, denied plaintiff's request for orthopedic shoes and a renewal of his morphine treatment for pain. Id. at 20. The Panel denied the request because, at the time, plaintiff was transferred to Corcoran State Prison. Id. On December 5, 2017, defendant's request for orthopedic shoes was denied by defendant Deputy Director J. Lewis. See ECF No. 1, pg. 14. In his denial, Lewis cited what appears to be Bright's evaluation and finding that there was “no medical indication for orthotics at this time.” Id; See also ECF No. 1, pg. 4. Plaintiff also submitted a request for an MRI scan, but that too was denied. Id. at 4.

         Request for MRI Scan

         On July 3, 2018 plaintiff submitted another request for an MRI scan. See ECF No. 1, pg. 5. Plaintiff's allegation here is difficult to understand, but it appears he requested this scan to assess the damage of a previous “at[t]ack” that he endured on February 19, 2016. Id. This attack resulted in plaintiff suffering from a broken nose, and damage to his shoulders, hands, and fingers. Id. This request was denied by doctors R. Dhillon and S. Gates and they instead ordered X-ray scans[1] for plaintiff. Id. However, plaintiff claims that they refuse to grant him the X-ray “film photos.” Id.

         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. DISCUSSION

         In their unopposed motion to dismiss, defendants argue plaintiff's complaint fails to state any cognizable 8th Amendment claims. For ...


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