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Vallejos v. Corrizon Medical G.C.C.F.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

January 10, 2020

ADAM VALLEJOS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON MEDICAL G.C.C.F. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         THIS MATTER is before the Court sua sponte under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B) on the Complaint (Tort) filed by Plaintiff Adam Vallejos (Doc. 1). The Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Adam Vallejos is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (Doc. 4). Vallejos is a prisoner incarcerated at the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility (“GCCF”) in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. (Doc. 1 at 1, 6). Plaintiff Vallejos filed his Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint asserting jurisdiction pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1 at 2). Vallejos names, as Defendants, Corizon Medical G.C.C.F. and Nurse Practitioner K. Allen. (Doc. 1 at 1, 2). Plaintiff asserts Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims for alleged deprivation of medical care at GCCF. (Doc. 1 at 2-4).

         Plaintiff Vallejos alleges that he was infected with the Hepatitis C virus in 1994 through a tattoo, and was advised that he had Hepatitis C by prison medical providers when he was incarcerated in 2003. (Doc. 1 at 2-3). Vallejos claims that he was recently advised by nursing staff at GCCF that he no longer has Hepatitis C and has been taken off the Chronic Clinic list to check liver enzymes. He believes this is “due to saving money and not carring (sic) for my health.” (Doc. 1 at 2). Vallejos' Request for Relief states:

my request is to be compensated financially and to be givin proper medication to cure the HepC Virios and watch my enzyme levels. Not taken of the Chronic Clinic list altogether and to maintain and stop the Virious from spreading at the rate it is spread.

(Doc. 1 at 7) (errors in the original).

         In response to the question whether he has exhausted administrative remedies, Plaintiff Vallejos checked the “No” box. (Doc. 1 at 5). His explanation for not exhausting the available administrative remedies states “[t]hese remedies were not exhausted due to possible retaliation or in the past not being responded to when remedies were tryed (sic).” (Doc. 1 at 5).

         ANALYSIS OF PLAINTIFF VELLEJOS' CLAIMS

         1. The PLRA's Administrative Exhaustion Requirement

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) states in pertinent part: “No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life and conditions, whether they involve general circumstances or particular events, and whether they allege excessive force or some other alleged violation of rights. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). The administrative exhaustion requirement includes claims related to prison medical care. See Price v. Shinn, 178 Fed.Appx. 803, 804 (10th Cir. 2006).

         The PLRA's administrative exhaustion requirement is mandatory. As the Supreme Court explained in Porter,

[o]nce within the discretion of the district court, exhaustion in cases covered by § 1997e(a) is now mandatory. All available remedies must now be exhausted; those remedies need not meet federal standards, nor must they be plain, speedy, and effective. Even when the prisoner seeks relief not available in grievance proceedings, notably money damages, exhaustion is a prerequisite to suit. And unlike the previous provision, which encompassed only § 1983 suits, exhaustion is now required for all action[s] . . . brought with respect to prison conditions, whether under § 1983 or any other Federal law.

534 U.S. at 524 (citations omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). “There is no question that exhaustion is mandatory under the PLRA and that unexhausted claims cannot be brought in court.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007). Further, the district court does not have discretion to excuse a failure to exhaust. See Miller v. French, 530 U.S. 327, 337 (2000); see also Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006) (“Exhaustion is no longer left to the discretion of the district court, but is mandatory.”). Exhaustion thus is a precondition to filing a suit, and “an action brought before administrative remedies are exhausted must be dismissed without regard to concern for judicial efficiency.” Ruppert v. Aragon, 448 Fed.Appx. 862, 863 (10th Cir. 2012).

         Even where a prisoner seeks only money damages through a lawsuit brought under federal law, the PLRA requires that he or she first to “complete a prison administrative process that could provide some sort of relief on the complaint stated, but no money” before filing suit. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 734 (2001). Thus, “even where the ‘available' remedies would appear to be futile at providing the kind of remedy sought, the prisoner must exhaust the administration remedies available.” Patel v. Fleming, 415 F.3d 1105, 1109 (10th Cir. 2005) (citing Jernigan v. Stuchell, 304 F.3d 1030, 1032 (10th Cir. 2002)). It is only once the inmate has completed the administrative process for the relief available through the prison administrative process that the inmate will be found to ...


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