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Tholson v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Alaska

April 6, 2015

LEON-MICHAEL: THOLSON, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.

ORDER PERMITTING AMENDED COMPLAINT AND REQUIRING A RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE

SHARON L. GLEASON, District Judge.

Leon-Michael: Tholson, who has filed several pro se prisoner's civil rights cases in this Court, [1] has filed another Prisoner's Civil Rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, with 66 papers attached.[2]

Because Mr. Tholson is a prisoner, the Court is required to "identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief."[3]

The Court is mindful that it must liberally construe a self-represented plaintiff's pleadings and give the plaintiff the benefit of the doubt.[4] Before the Court may dismiss Mr. Tholson's Complaint, the Court should provide him with a statement of the deficiencies in the Complaint and an opportunity to amend, unless it is clear that amendment would be futile.[5]

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. They possess only that power authorized by Constitution and statute."[6] It is Mr. Tholson's burden, as the plaintiff, to show that the Court has jurisdiction to hear his claims.[7] "Section 1983... creates a private right of action to vindicate violations of rights... secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United States. Under the terms of the statute, " the plaintiff must show that (1) a defendant "act[ed] under color of state law"; to (2) "deprive [the plaintiff] of a constitutional right."[8]

1. A violation of the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, involving medical care, requires the deliberate indifference to a plaintiff's serious medical needs.

To state a claim for violations involving medical care, a prisoner must show that a defendant has been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.[9] A "showing of nothing more than a difference of medical opinion' as to the need to pursue one course of treatment over another [i]s insufficient, as a matter of law, to establish deliberate indifference. In other words, where a defendant has based his actions on a medical judgment that either of two alternative courses of treatment would be medically acceptable under the circumstances, plaintiff has failed to show deliberate indifference, as a matter of law."[10] Thus, a difference of medical opinion regarding medication is not enough to establish a Constitutional violation.[11]

"A medical need is serious if failure to treat it will result in significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.'... A prison official is deliberately indifferent to that need if he knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health.'"[12]

To establish an Eighth Amendment violation, a plaintiff must satisfy both an objective standard-that the deprivation was serious enough to constitute cruel and unusual punishment-and a subjective standard-deliberate indifference.
To meet the objective standard, the denial of a plaintiff's serious medical need must result in the "unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain."
The subjective standard of deliberate indifference requires "more than ordinary lack of due care for the prisoner's interests or safety."... The state of mind for deliberate indifference is subjective recklessness.[13]

In his first claim for relief, Mr. Tholson alleges that John Stolpman, a mental health counselor, [14] is personally liable for violating his right to due process[15] and medical care because Mr. Stolpman responded to Mr. Tholson's request for mental health help "by telling [him] that being incarcerated was proper treatment for [his] mental health disorders. Because of the failure to provide [Mr. Tholson with] mental health care, [Mr. Tholson's] mental health got progressively worse until [he] tried to kill [himself] on 8/28/14."[16] Mr. Tholson's allegations against John Stolpman do not meet either the subjective or objective standard because he indicates that Mr. Stolpman ...


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