United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING EXTENSION OF TIME TO OBJECT TO REPORT
AND RECOMMENDATION; ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS TO REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND ORDER DISMISSING
CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS MELGOZA AND KIMANI
Larry Alan Burns Chief United States District Judge
Williams, a prisoner incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan
Correctional Facility in San Diego, California, and
proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action
bringing claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Williams brought
Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants J. Melgoza and M.
Kimani, for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs
following an altercation with another prison officer. Under
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 72.1(c), the
motion was referred to Magistrate Judge Mitch Dembin who on
September 9 issued his report and recommendation (the
“R&R”). Williams sought an extension of time
to file objections to the R&R, but before the Court ruled
on his motion, he filed his objections.
motion for extension of time to file objections (Docket no.
30) is GRANTED, and his objections are
accepted as filed.
district court has jurisdiction to review a Magistrate
Judge's report and recommendation on dispositive matters.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “The district judge must determine
de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition
that has been properly objected to.” Id.
“A judge of the court 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). This
section does not require some lesser review by the district
court when no objections are filed. Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). The “statute makes it
clear that the district judge must review the magistrate
judge's findings and recommendations de novo if
objection is made, but not otherwise.” United
States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir.
2003) (en banc) (emphasis in original).
R&R correctly sets forth the standard for motions to
dismiss, which the Court ADOPTS. Although
Williams in his opposition to the motion to dismiss alleged
some new facts, the R&R correctly points out that these
should not be considered when deciding whether the complaint
states a claim. While the Court can consider additional
allegations made in the briefing when deciding whether to
grant leave to amend, when ruling on a motion to dismiss the
Court considers only facts alleged in the complaint. See
Cervantes v. City of San Diego, 5 F.3d 1273, 1274 (9th
officials violate the Eighth Amendment when they are
deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical
need. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).To
plead a deliberate indifference claim under the Eight
Amendment, a plaintiff must plead facts showing that the
defendants were deliberately indifferent, not merely
negligent, and that his medical needs were serious. See
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-06 (1976). Serious
medical needs include those that could result in further
significant injury if untreated, or in the “unnecessary
and wanton infliction of pain.” Jett v.
Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing
Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104.) Serious medical needs
include injuries that a reasonable doctor or patient would
find important and worthy of treatment, medical conditions
that significantly affect the prisoner's daily
activities, or the existence of chronic and substantial pain.
Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000).
filed this action about a week after the incident that gave
rise to it. In his opposition to the motion to dismiss, he
for the first time refers to other events that had not
happened at the time he filed suit, and alleges facts the
complaint does not mention. As noted, the Court considers
only allegations in the complaint when determining whether
the complaint states a claim.
claims against Kimani include a charge that Kimani falsified
Williams' medical records to make his injury seem less
serious. Williams argues that falsifying medical records
violates California Penal Code sections 132 and 134. The
R&R correctly points out that these sections are not
privately actionable. Furthermore, the falsification of
medical records, by itself, does not give rise to a
deliberate indifference claim.
to the complaint, another officer assaulted Williams,
resulting in a cut or bloody nose, a bruised and cut wrist,
throbbing pain in his body, and inability to move his ring
finger. (Compl. at 5(b).) Williams first showed his injuries
to numerous other inmates then asked Melgoza to summon
medical help. (Id. at 5.) Melgoza allegedly refused
to call for medical help himself, but told Williams to see
the sergeant about it and let him out of the building so he
could do that. (Id.) Later Kimani, a nurse, examined
Williams. He alleges that she failed to check for bruises,
failed to do a mental health check, and failed to call for
opposition, Williams alleges new and inconsistent facts,
suggesting that the blood was not dry, but still dripping
from his wrist when Kimani examined him. He alleges that the
seriousness of his injuries would have been obvious to a
nurse such as Kimani. He also alleges injury to his finger
that later required cortisone injections and surgery. But he
does not allege any facts suggesting that immediate medical
attention to his finger was necessary or would have helped.
to the pleadings, neither Melgoza nor Kimani was indifferent
to Williams' serious medical needs, both because the
needs were not serious for purposes of Eighth Amendment
analysis, and because neither of them was indifferent.
Melgoza did not call for medical help, but did allow Williams
to talk to the sergeant about his medical needs, which
resulted in Williams being seen by a nurse, Kimani.
part, Kimani examined Williams and inquired about the cause
of his injuries. Although he alleges she should have examined
him for bruises, at least some parts of his body (his
forehead and neck) that he said were throbbing in pain were
visible to her. Objectively, the injuries were not serious
for Eighth Amendment purposes. Besides the pain, he says he
“showed her my bruised, cut wrist mainly on top and
fresh dried blood all over my wrist and the cut in my
nose.” (Compl. at 5(b).) ...