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Wallace v. Washington County Jail

United States District Court, D. Oregon

June 24, 2019

WILLIAM JAMES MATTHEW WALLACE, II, Plaintiff,
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY JAIL, NAPHCARE MEDICAL, et al., Defendants.

          William James Matthew Wallace, II, pro se.

          Christopher A. Gilmore, Sr. Assistant County Counsel, Office of Washington County Counsel, Hillsboro, OR 97124. Of Attorneys for Defendant Washington County.

          ORDER

          Michael H. Simon, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff William James Matthew Wallace, II was an inmate in the Washington County Jail.[1] He asserts five claims against Defendant Washington County Jail and Naphcare Medical, alleging violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Naphcare Medical has not yet been served in this case. Plaintiff moves for a second time for the appointment of counsel and asks the Court to issue several subpoenas. Plaintiff's forms for the issuance of a subpoena are not completed, although Plaintiff has entered information in the first section of the form. The remaining sections of each form, however, including the portions of the form describing where and when documents should be produced, are blank. For those reasons, Plaintiff's motions for subpoenas (ECF 21 and 22) are DENIED.

         Defendant moves to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF 25) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         STANDARDS

         A. Motion for Appointment of Counsel

          Generally, there is no constitutional right to counsel in a civil case. United States v. 30.64 Acres of Land, 795 F.2d 796, 801 (9th Cir. 1986). The Court has discretion, however, under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) to appoint volunteer counsel for indigent civil litigants in exceptional circumstances. Palmer v. Valdez, 560 F.3d 965, 970 (9th Cir. 2009); Agyeman v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 390 F.3d 1101, 1103 (9th Cir. 2004). Although a court may appoint volunteer counsel in exceptional cases, it has no power to make a mandatory appointment. Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for S. Dist. of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 301-08 (1989).

         In determining whether exceptional circumstances exist, a court evaluates the plaintiff's likelihood of success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his or her claim pro se in light of the complexity of the legal issues involved. Palmer, 560 F.3d at 970; Agyeman, 390 F.3d at 1103. However, “[n]either of these factors is dispositive and both must be viewed together before reaching a decision on request of counsel under [former] section 1915(d).” Wilborn v. Escalderon, 789 F.2d 1328, 1331 (9th Cir. 1986); Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991).

         B. Motion to Dismiss

          A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim may be granted only when there is no cognizable legal theory to support the claim or when the complaint lacks sufficient factual allegations to state a facially plausible claim for relief. Shroyer v. New Cingular Wireless Servs., Inc., 622 F.3d 1035, 1041 (9th Cir. 2010). 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 plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). “The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Mashiri v. Epstein Grinnell & Howell, 845 F.3d 984, 988 (9th Cir. 2017) (quotation marks omitted).

         A court must liberally construe the filings of a pro se plaintiff and afford the plaintiff the benefit of any reasonable doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010). “Unless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect, . . . a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend prior to dismissal of the action.” Garity v. APWU Nat'l Labor Org., 828 F.3d 848, 854 (9th Cir. 2016) (alteration in original) (quoting Lucas v. Dep't of Corrections, 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam)). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), however, every complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” This standard “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations, '” but does demand “more than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         BAC ...


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