United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' COMBINED MOTION TO
WILLIAM MARTÍNEZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
James Sardakowski (“Plaintiff”), proceeding
pro se, alleges that Defendants Colorado Department
of Corrections' Chief of Psychiatry Dr. Darren Lish and
Plaintiff's treating psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Thiele
(jointly, “Defendants”), violated his Eighth
Amendment rights by changing his treatment plan. (ECF No. 6
at 3.) Defendants filed a Combined Motion to Dismiss and
Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 17
(“Motion”).) Plaintiff filed a Response to the
Motion (ECF No. 30 (“Response”)) and Defendants
did not timely file a Reply.
States Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya filed a Report and
Recommendation recommending that Defendants' Motion be
granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a).
(ECF No. 36 (“Recommendation”).) Plaintiff filed
an Objection to Judge Tafoya's Recommendation. (ECF No.
37.) Defendants did not timely respond to Plaintiff's
Objection. Upon review, the Court adopts Judge Tafoya's
recommended disposition, although for reasons different than
those relied upon by Judge Tafoya. As a consequence,
Defendants' Motion is granted.
is an inmate in the custody of the Colorado Department of
Corrections (“CDOC”), currently incarcerated at
the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility
(“CTCF”) in Cañon City, Colorado.
Plaintiff was previously prescribed Wellbutrin and Neurontin
for unspecified mental health problems. Plaintiff claims that
while he was on these medications, “he was functioning
well in all areas.” (ECF No. 6 at 4.) Indeed, according
to Plaintiff, he was “well enough to be removed from
CDOC Residential Treatment Program (RTP)-a program for the
seriously mentally ill prisoners-to General
claims that Defendants discontinued his prescriptions for
Wellbutrin and Neurontin because of “a potential abuse
hazard by all prisoners” and because Wellbutrin and
Neurontin are “not approved for [h]is symptoms.”
(Id. at 3, 4.) In lieu of Wellbutrin and Neurontin,
Defendants prescribed Effexor to Plaintiff. (Id. at
4.) Plaintiff alleges that since his medication was changed,
he has failed college courses, cannot participate in mental
health groups, and has high anxiety. (Id.) Plaintiff
argues that in thus changing his treatment plan, Defendants
violated his Eighth Amendment rights.(Id. at 4.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive
matter, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3) requires
that the district court judge “determine de
novo any part of the magistrate judge's
[recommendation] that has been properly objected to.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). In conducting its review, “[t]he
district court judge may accept, reject, or modify the
recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the
matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.”
Id. An objection is proper if it is filed within
fourteen days of service of the magistrate judge's
recommendations and is specific enough to enable the
“district judge to focus attention on those
issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the
parties' dispute.” United States v. 2121 East
30th Street, 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996)
(quoting Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 147 (1985)).
“When no timely objection is filed, the court need only
satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of
the record in order to accept the recommendation.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b) advisory committee's note; see
also Summers v. Utah, 927 F.2d 1165, 1167 (10th Cir.
1991) (“In the absence of timely objection, the
district court may review a magistrate's report under any
standard it deems appropriate.”).
judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Henderson v.
Inter-Chem Coal Co., Inc., 41 F.3d 567, 569 (10th Cir.
1994). Whether there is a genuine dispute as to a material
fact depends upon whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or, conversely,
is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49
(1986); Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132
(10th Cir. 2000).
is “material” if it pertains to an element of a
claim or defense; a factual dispute is “genuine”
if the evidence is so contradictory that if the matter went
to trial, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for either
party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court must
resolve factual ambiguities against the moving party, thus
favoring the right to a trial. Houston v. Nat'l Gen.
Ins. Co., 817 F.2d 83, 85 (10th Cir. 1987).
reviewing a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) the Court
will “assume the truth of the plaintiff's
well-pleaded factual allegations and view them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff.” Ridge at Red
Hawk, LLC v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.
2007). Thus the Court “must accept all allegations as
true and may not dismiss on the ground that it appears
unlikely the allegations can be proven.” Robbins v.
Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008).
“[A] well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it
strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is
improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and
unlikely.” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)
withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
enough allegations of fact ‘to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Robbins,
519 F.3d at 1247 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
This means that “[t]he burden is on the plaintiff to
frame a ‘complaint with enough factual matter (taken as
true) to suggest' that he or she is entitled to relief.
‘Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level.'”
Robbins, 519 F.3d at 1247 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 545 & 556). Plaintiff “does not need
detailed factual allegations” but must plead more than
merely “labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
the Court is mindful of Plaintiff's pro se
status, and accordingly reads his pleadings and filings
liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972); Trackwell v. United States Gov't, 472
F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007). The Court, however, cannot
act as advocate for Plaintiff, who still must comply with the
fundamental requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110
(10th Cir. 1991); see also Ledbetter v. City of Topeka,
Kan., 318 F.3d 1183, 1188 (10th Cir. 2003).