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Eldridge v. Osage

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 27, 2017

CLINTON T. ELDRIDGE, Plaintiff,
v.
A. OSAGIE, P.A., G. SANTINI, M.D., and P. LAIRD, R.N., Defendants.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE KATHLEEN M. TAFOYA

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on review of the Report and Recommendation by United States Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya (Recommendation) (Doc. # 44), issued on January 23, 2017, and recommending that this Court grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Clinton T. Eldridge's Eighth Amendment claims against them (Doc. # 31). The Recommendation is incorporated herein by reference. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). For the following reasons, the Court adopts the Recommendation and grants Defendants' Motion.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Mr. Eldridge objects to the Recommendation in its entirety. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3) thus requires that this Court conduct a de novo review of the issues. In so doing, the Court “may accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Id. Any arguments raised for the first time in objections are deemed waivable and need not be considered by this Court. Marshall v. Chater, 75 F.3d 1421, 1426 (10th Cir. 1996).

         II. BACKGROUND

         In his Amended Complaint, Mr. Eldridge, an inmate at the Administrative Maximum facility of the Federal Correctional Complex in Florence, Colorado, argues that for the past ten years, Defendants A. Osagie, a physician assistant, and G. Santini, a physician, have denied him treatment for HCV in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. # 12 at 4-5, 7.) He also contends that Defendant P. Laird, a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Regional Director, violated his Eighth Amendment rights by rejecting a requested medical transfer to a facility that would provide better HCV treatment. (Id. at 8-10.) Defendants contend that Mr. Eldridge has failed to sufficiently plead these claims and that his Amended Complaint should therefore be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).[1]

         III. LAW GOVERNING A RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION TO DISMISS

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can plead no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Golan v. Ashcroft, 310 F.Supp.2d 1215, 1217 (D. Colo. 2004). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) may also be based on the lack of a cognizable legal theory. Id. at 1217. In reviewing a motion to dismiss, courts take all well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true and construe the allegations in the light most favorable to plaintiff. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Khalik v. United Air Lines, 671 F.3d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 2012).

         However, a litigant's “conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). A court may not assume that a plaintiff can prove facts that have not been alleged, or that a defendant has violated laws in ways that a plaintiff has not alleged. Associated Gen. Contractors of Cal., Inc. v. Cal. State Council of Carpenters, 459 U.S. 519, 526 (1983); see also Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (court may not “supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint”).

         Mr. Eldridge appears pro se in this matter. The Court, therefore, “review[s] his pleadings and other papers liberally and hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.” Trackwell v. United States, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Mr. Eldridge's pro se status does not, however, entitle him to the application of different rules. See Montoya v. Chao, 296 F.3d 952, 957 (10th Cir. 2002). Moreover, the Court may not “construct arguments or theories for [Mr. Eldridge] in the absence of any discussion of those issues.” Drake v. City of Fort Collins, 927 F.2d 1156, 1159 (10th Cir. 1991).

         IV. MR. ELDRIDGE'S EIGHTH AMENDMENT CLAIMS

         The Eighth Amendment protects against the infliction of “cruel and unusual punishments.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII. This protection encompasses “deliberate indifference” by prison officials to a prisoner's serious medical needs. Howard v. Waide, 534 F.3d 1227, 1235 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 (1976)). Specifically:

Deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain” proscribed by the Eighth Amendment. This is true whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access ...

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