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Ramos v. Martinez

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

December 23, 2019

JOHN RAMOS, Plaintiff,


         THIS MATTER comes before the Court, under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B) and rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on the Civil Rights Complaint Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, filed January 23, 2017 (Doc. 1)(“Complaint”). The Court will dismiss Plaintiff John Ramos' federal civil rights claims for failure to state a claim and for lack of § 1983 jurisdiction, and will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any state law claims.


         Ramos filed his Complaint against Defendants Warden Ricardo Martinez, Dr. Naranjo, and Dr. Bruce R. Boyton (Med Dir.) Concordia Insurance, Mississippi. See Complaint at 1-2. Ramos asserts constitutional claims under the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America, and medical negligence claims, arising out of a broken thumb. See Complaint ¶ C1, at 4-5. Ramos seeks relief “[f]or pain and suffering $100, 000. For negligence by Dr. Naranjo and Dr. Bruce R. Boynton, Concordia Insurance Medical Director $150, 000.” Complaint ¶ E1, at 6. In support of his claims, Ramos alleges:

Dr. Naranjo examine my left thumb without physically touching me/my hand. Dr. Naranjo stated he didn't think it was broken! On 7 Jul, 016, I was Xrayed. Until 20 Jul, 016, Dr. Naranjo basically forgot I existed. On 20 Jul, 016, I again saw Dr. Naranjo who kept repeating “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!” He ordered me transported to El Paso Medical Center (UMC), where I was examined by a Dr. Van T. Dr. Van T stated it was a simple fix if it had been fixed immediately! Dr. Van T send/sent back PT order for my thumb. On 6 Oct, 016, I was again Xrayed. On 4 Nov, 016, I again saw Dr. Naranjo who informed me that a Dr. Boyton, Concordia Insurance, Mississippi, was disapproving my PT. On 15 Nov, 016, I was again transported to UMC, saw a Dr. Gonzales, who again ordered PT! On 21 Dec, 016, more Xrays, on 27 Dec, 016, saw a Dr. Borrejo who stated that “PT was a waste of time and money!”

         Complaint ¶ C2, at 4 (capitalization and spelling as in original).


         The court has the discretion to dismiss a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A court should dismiss a claim where it is legally or factually insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)(“Twombly”). Under rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pled factual allegations, but not conclusory, unsupported allegations, and may not consider matters outside the pleading. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Dunn v. White, 880 F.2d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 1989). The court may dismiss a complaint under rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim if “it is ‘patently obvious' that the plaintiff could not prevail on the facts alleged.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1109 (10th Cir. 1991)(quoting McKinney v. Okla. Dep't of Human Services, 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991)). A plaintiff must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         Courts liberally construes the factual allegations in reviewing a pro se complaint. See Northington v. Jackson, 973 F.2d 1518, 1520-21 (10th Cir. 1992). Courts judge a pro se plaintiff's pleadings by the same legal standards that apply to all litigants, however, and a pro se plaintiff must abide by the court's applicable rules. See Ogden v. San Juan Cty., 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir. 1994). The court is not obligated to craft legal theories for the plaintiff or to supply factual allegations to support the plaintiff's claims. Nor may the court assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1110.


         Section 1983 is the exclusive vehicle for vindication of substantive rights under the U.S. Constitution. See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n.3 (1979); Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994)(stating that § 1983 creates no substantive rights; rather it is the means through which a plaintiff may seek redress for deprivations of rights established in the Constitution); Bolden v. City of Topeka, 441 F.3d 1129 (10th Cir. 2006). Section 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage of any State . . . subjects or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law . . . .

42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         A state is not a “person” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and, therefore, there is no remedy against states under § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 63-64 (1989). Section 1983 is a “remedial vehicle for raising claims based on the violation of constitutional rights.” Brown v. Buhman, 822 F.3d 1151, 1161 n.9 (10th Cir. 2016)(quotation marks omitted). It does not abrogate the states' sovereign immunity, and the states, their agencies, and their officials who are sued solely in their official capacity do not qualify as “persons” under § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. at 67, 71.

         To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must assert acts by government officials acting under color of law that result in a deprivation of rights which the Constitution of the United States secures. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). There must be a connection between official conduct and violation of a constitutional right. Conduct that is not connected to a constitutional violation is not actionable under § 1983. See Trask v. Franco, 446 F.3d 1036, 1046 (10th Cir. 2006).

         Further, a civil rights action against a public official or entity may not be based solely on a theory of respondeat superior liability for the actions of co-workers or subordinates. A plaintiff must plead that each government official, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009). Ramos must allege some identified official's personal involvement in the alleged constitutional violation to succeed under § 1983. See Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523 F.3d 1147, 1162 (10th Cir. 2008). To hold private entities acting under color of state law or county entities liable under ยง 1983, a plaintiff must allege a policy or custom, and a direct causal ...

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