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Wallace v. Pierce County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

May 16, 2019

William James Mathew Wallace II, Plaintiff,
Pierce County Sheriff's Department et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff William James Mathew Wallace II, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed and screened Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court declines to serve Plaintiff's Complaint but provides Plaintiff leave to file an amended pleading by June 16, 2019 to cure the deficiencies identified herein. The Court also denies Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel (Dkt. 15) and Motion for Subpoena (Dkt. 16).


         Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail, alleges Defendants Naphcare Medical (“Naphcare”) and Pierce County Jail Sheriff's Department acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Dkt. 13. Plaintiff alleges in 2017 he was arrested and confined at the Pierce County Jail (“the Jail”). Dkt. 13 at 2-3; 14 at 2. Plaintiff alleges he had broken his leg prior to his arrest and was under the care of an orthopedic surgeon at the time. Id. Plaintiff alleges upon his placement in the Jail, he did not receive any accommodations for his leg and was housed on an upper bunk. Id. Plaintiff alleges he requested medical attention for three weeks but was not seen by the Jail's contracted medical provider, Defendant Naphcare. Id. After the three-week wait, Plaintiff alleges an x-ray was taken and a cast[1] was put on leg. Id. Plaintiff alleges the individual who put on the cast stated she didn't know what she was doing and her co-worker assisted her with the “help of a picture book.” Dkt. 14 at 2. Plaintiff alleges he was given crutches and moved to the Jail's medical unit. Id. Plaintiff alleges during his time in the medical unit, he was given incorrect medications and confused with another prisoner. Id. Plaintiff alleges he went to the medical clinic for a check-up and the splint was replaced. Dkt. 14. at 2.

         Plaintiff alleges four weeks later another x-ray was taken. Id. Plaintiff alleges the x-ray technician told him his leg was still broken, and it was a complicated break. Id. Two days later, Plaintiff alleges he saw a doctor for the first time, who told Plaintiff his leg was no longer broken. Dkt. 13 at 3-4; 14 at 2. Plaintiff alleges the doctor removed Plaintiff's cast and took the crutches. Dkt. 13 at 4; Dkt. 14 at 2. Plaintiff also alleges he fell in the medical unit and hit his head when he attempted to put weight on his leg. Dkt. 14 at 2. Plaintiff alleges medical was called, and his vitals were checked. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges he was moved from the medical unit into general population at the Jail, placed on an upper bunk, unable to walk, and in severe pain. Dkt. 14 at 2. Plaintiff alleges for the next six weeks he was ignored and only provided a muscle rub for his leg. Id. Plaintiff alleges the entire time he was housed at the Jail he was without access to ADA compliant showers or cells and no accommodations were made. Id. at 3.

         Plaintiff alleges he has now seen two orthopedic surgeons who have determined Plaintiff has a non-union of his medial malleolus of the left tibia, and both surgeons stated this is because of the delay in proper treatment. Id. at 3. Plaintiff alleges he will never be able to walk normally again and without pain. Id. Plaintiff alleges he has been approved to have corrective surgery which will entail a bone graft and screws to re-attach his bones. Id. Plaintiff alleges he now uses a wheelchair for mobility. Id.

         When Plaintiff was transferred from the Jail to the Department of Corrections (“DOC”) he alleges he was sent without any medical records, transported improperly, and forced to walk. Dkt. 13 at 4.

         Plaintiff seeks $1 billion dollars in damages. Dkt. 13 at 5.


         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, the Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must “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.” Id. at (b); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); see Barren v. Harrington, 152 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir. 1998).

         I. Section 1983 Claims

         In order to state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege that: (1) he suffered a violation of rights protected by the Constitution or created by federal statute, and (2) the violation was proximately caused by a person acting under color of state law. See Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418, 1420 (9th Cir. 1991). The first step in a § 1983 claim is therefore to identify the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994). To satisfy the second step, a plaintiff must allege facts showing how individually named defendants caused, or personally participated in causing, the harm alleged in the complaint. See Arnold v. IBM, 637 F.2d 1350, 1355 (9th Cir. 1981).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment when he was denied medical treatment for his broken leg and received incorrect medication. Dkts. 13, 14. Based on the allegations in the Complaint, Plaintiff was not incarcerated following a formal adjudication of guilt at the time of the alleged violations. Dkts. 13, 14. As such, conditions of confinement imposed on him are governed by the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 n. 16 (1979); Frost v. Agnos, 152 F.3d 1124, 1128 (9th Cir. 1998). “Because pretrial detainees' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment are comparable to prisoners' ...

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