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Tholson v. Taylor

United States District Court, District of Alaska

April 28, 2015

RONALD TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.



On February 27, 2015, Leon-Michael: Tholson, representing himself, filed a Prisoner’s Civil Rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, with 66 papers attached.[1] The Court reviewed the Complaint, as required by federal law, [2]explained the deficiencies and dismissed, and permitted Mr. Tholson to “file an Amended Complaint solely on the form provided by the Court, with no attachments. He must state facts against only a single defendant in each claim for relief. He must make no legal arguments.”[3]

Mr. Tholson has moved for reconsideration as to the dismissal of claims of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, and as to the Court’s requirements for filing the Amended Complaint.[4]

1. A violation of the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, involving medical care, requires that a defendant was deliberately (in a subjective sense) indifferent 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.[5] The Court explained that a difference of medical opinion regarding medication is not enough to establish a Constitutional violation.[6] In addition, the Ninth Circuit, following the United States Supreme Court, explains as follows:

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.[7]

Nothing Mr. Tholson stated in his Motion for Reconsideration changes the fact that, under the law of the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit, a complaint alleging constitutional violations of medical care must include allegations that state officials had the subjective recklessness required to establish deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.[8]

2. A complaint must comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Mr. Tholson also wishes to submit attachments to his Amended Complaint.[9]As he has been told, however, a complaint and a brief are separate types of documents, and the case must begin with a complaint.[10] Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides as follows:

A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.[11]

Documents which are appropriately attached to complaints are those such as a final decision of the Social Security Commissioner, stating that an applicant for benefits has the right to file a federal court case within 60 days of the decision.[12]Mr. Tholson, instead of providing “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that [he] is entitled to relief, ”[13] has attached 66 documents, as might be provided with a brief or memorandum of law in support of a dispositive motion, but not with a complaint.[14]

As has been explained to Mr. Tholson, once he files a complaint that complies with Rule 8, and states federal claims for relief against appropriate defendants, he may be given an opportunity to file a brief on the issues in which he may more thoroughly argue his case with supporting documentation.[15]


1. The Motion for Reconsideration, at Docket 10, is DENIED.

2. Mr. Tholson must comply with the Court’s Order Permitting Amended Complaint and Requiring a Response to Order to Show Cause, at Docket 9, on or before May 8, 2015.

3. The Court will not address the Application to Proceed without Prepayment of Fees, at Docket 3, and will take no further action in this case, until Mr. Tholson fully complies with the Order at Docket 9. If Mr. Tholson fails to comply on or before May 8, 2015, this case will be dismissed without further notice Dated: Anchorage, Alaska, this 28th day of April, 2015.

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