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Bradley v. Crowther

United States District Court, D. Utah

July 17, 2017

VICTOR R BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT CROWTHER, RICHARD GARDEN, DOE PRISON MEDICAL PROVIDERS 1-10, DOE DIALYSIS TECHNICIANS 11-12, ARSALAN HABIB, DOE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH HEALTHCARE MEDICAL PROVIDERS 13-20, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND GRANTING DEFENDANT ARSALAN HABIB'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Ted Stewart United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Dr. Arsalan Habib's Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the Motion, but will do so without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The relevant facts alleged in the Complaint are as follows. Plaintiff Victor R Bradley ("Plaintiff) pleaded guilty to a first degree felony in 1984 and was subsequently placed at Utah State Prison ("USP") where he is currently an inmate. Plaintiff began receiving dialysis treatments at some point during his incarceration at USP. These dialysis treatments are critical to Plaintiffs health.

         University of Utah Healthcare, through South Valley Dialysis, provides dialysis treatments to USP inmates and detainees pursuant to a contract with USP. A dialysis technician working for South Valley Dialysis was originally scheduled to administer dialysis treatments at USP on April 3, 2015, and April 4, 2015. However, a second dialysis technician agreed to switch shifts with the first technician and therefore became responsible for administering dialysis treatments at the prison on those dates. The technicians noted the change on a communications log at USP, however, neither technician appeared at the prison to administer treatment on either April 3, 2015, or April 4, 2015. As a result, Plaintiff did not receive his scheduled dialysis treatments. This deprivation caused Plaintiff to suffer three strokes and a heart attack.

         Defendant Dr. Arsalan Habib ("Defendant") is the medical director for South Valley Dialysis. Plaintiff has brought four claims against Defendant, among others, under 42U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and violation of the Constitution of the State of Utah. Defendant moves to dismiss these claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6), all well-pleaded factual allegations, as distinguished from conclusory allegations, are accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff as the nonmoving party.[1]Plaintiff must provide "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, "[2] which requires "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation."[3] "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'"[4]

         "The court's function on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is not to weigh potential evidence that the parties might present at trial, but to assess whether the plaintiffs complaint alone is legally sufficient to state a claim for which relief may be granted."[5] As the Court in Iqbal stated,

only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not shown-that the pleader is entitled to relief[6]

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. CLAIMS UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

         Plaintiffs first three claims are as follows: (1) violation of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; (2) failure to train and/or supervise in violation of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and (3) unlawful custom, policy or practice in violation of the Eighth and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The parties appear to dispute whether Plaintiffs claims should be analyzed under the Eighth or the Fourteenth Amendments.

         "[W]here constitutional protection is afforded under specific constitutional provisions, alleged violations of the protection should be analyzed under those provisions and not under the more generalized provisions of substantive due process."[7] The Supreme Court has held that "the Eighth Amendment . . . serves as the primary source of substantive protection to convicted prisoners."[8] More specifically, the Supreme Court has held:

[D]eliberate 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 to ...

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