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Woodroffe v. State

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

April 29, 2013

STATE OF OREGON, et al., Defendants.

Robert Woodroffe, Snake River Correctional Institution, Ontario, OR, Plaintiff pro se.

Shannon M. Vincent, Oregon Department of Justice, Trial Division, CLS, N.E., Salem, OR. Attorney for Defendants Theodore Kulongoski, Max Williams, Michael Gower, Brian Belleque, Michelle Dodson, Polly Stuart, Zach Erdman, John R. Kroger, Mary H. Williams, David E. Leith, Kristina Manley, Walter M. Beglau, Brandon Kelly, Gerald Long, Dennis Long, Lee Jones, Leslie Dickey, Sharon Duren, Eugene Reding, Patrick Mullen, Robert Andamson, Michael Hannon, Daniel Weber, Jana Russell, Helene Lichtman, Charles Gepford, Christy Henning, Brian Walker, Mark Nooth, Robert Real, Al Hannon, James Eastwood, Jeff Premo, Denise Parker, Frank Serrano, Stan Czerniak, Steve Shelton, Garth Gulick, Jodean Elliot-Blakeslee, Hirley Hodge, Patricia Carnig, Patricia Flores, Randy Geer, Judy Gilmore, Bill Doman, Steve Spang, Maureen Rossi-Hill, Janell Rochester, Candace Wheeler, and Aaron Felton.

Gerald L. Warren, Law Office of Gerald Warren, Salem, OR, Attorney for Defendant Coleen Clemente.


MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Robert Woodroffe, an inmate incarcerated in the State of Oregon's prison system, brings this action against some 60 defendants. Plaintiff's complaint raises several allegations, including, but not limited to: (1) that he was sexually assaulted by another inmate; (2) that he has not received adequate medical care for knee and coccyx pain;[1] (3) that he was not provided with adequate medical care after "losing a lot of blood"; (4) that he was wrongly accused of misconduct; (5) that he has been denied access to materials in the prison law library; (6) that parole board members unconstitutionally changed the date of a parole review hearing; and (7) that he has been denied certain treatment. Based on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights and for violations of Title II the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("RA"), 29 U.S.C. § 794. Plaintiff also asserts state law claims for negligence, medical malpractice, and assault and battery.

On March 14, 2012, the Court entered an order dismissing Defendants the State of Oregon, the Oregon Department of Corrections ("ODOC"), the Oregon State Penitentiary PREA Committee, the Snake River Correctional Institution TLC Committee, Saint Alphonsas Medical Center, the Oregon Board of Parole ("OBOP"), and Steven L. Brown. Dkt. 15. Defendant Coleen Clemente filed an Answer on June 14, 2012, Dkt. 37, and a motion for summary judgment the same day. Dkt. 38. The remaining Defendants ("Defendants") filed an Answer on August 21, 2012. Dkt. 57. Before the Court is Defendants' motion for partial judgment on the pleadings, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(c). Dkt. 78. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion.


A Rule 12(c) "motion for judgment on the pleadings faces the same test as a motion under Rule 12(b)(6)." McGlinchy v. Shell Chem. Co., 845 F.2d 802, 810 (9th Cir. 1988). Dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) "is proper if there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory.'" Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242 (9th Cir. 2011) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1988)). In evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint's factual allegations, the court must accept as true all well-pleaded material facts alleged in the complaint and construe them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Wilson v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 668 F.3d 1136, 1140 (9th Cir. 2012); Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010). To be entitled to a presumption of truth, allegations in a complaint "may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively." Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir 2011). All reasonable inferences from the factual allegations must be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. Newcal Indus. v. Ikon Office Solution, 513 F.3d 1038, 1043 n.2 (9th Cir. 2008). The court need not, however, credit the plaintiff's legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009).

A complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations to "plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief, such that it is not unfair to require the opposing party to be subjected to the expense of discovery and continued litigation." Starr, 652 F.3d at 1216. "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)); see also Cafasso, United States ex rel. v. Gen. Dynamics C4 Sys., Inc., 637 F.3d 1047, 1054 n.4 (9th Cir. 2011) ( Iqbal standard applies to review of Rule 12(c) motions).

A court must liberally construe pro se complaints and motions from prisoners. United States v. Seesing, 234 F.3d 456, 462 (9th Cir. 2000). "A pro se litigant must be given leave to amend his or her complaint unless it is absolutely clear that the deficiencies of the complaint could not be cured by amendment.'" Karim-Panahi v. Los Angeles Police Dep't, 839 F.2d 621, 623 (9th Cir. 1988) (quoting Noll v. Carlson, 809 F.2d 1446, 1448 (9th Cir.1987), superseded on other grounds by statute as stated in Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir.2000)). The "usual practice to allow leave to replead upon granting a motion to dismiss extends to motions for judgment on the pleadings." Trzaska v. Int'l Game Tech., 2:10-CV-2268 JCM GWF, 2011 WL 2516931, at *6 (D. Nev. June 23, 2011).


Defendants divide their partial motion for judgment on the pleadings into seven individual motions. Dkt. 78-79. The Court considers each in turn.

A. Motion One

In their first motion, Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss all claims against Defendants Kulongoski, Kroger, Williams, Hannon, Elliott-Blakeslee, Hodge, Flores, Gilmore, Gower, Nooth, Rochester, and Mullen in their individual capacities because the complaint fails to allege that they personally deprived Plaintiff of his federally protected rights.[2] Defs.' Mem. at 4. To state a claim under § 1983, "a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of State law." Long v. Cnty. of Los Angeles, 442 F.3d 1178, 1185 (9th Cir. 2006). Under § 1983, a defendant violates the rights of a plaintiff if the defendant "does an affirmative act, participates in another's affirmative acts, or omits to perform an act ...

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