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Baker v. Doe

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

April 13, 2016

VERNON BAKER, #A 105 8244 Plaintiff,
v.
JANE DOE, et al, Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT IN PART

J. MICHAEL SEABRIGHT, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Before the court is pro se Plaintiff Vernon Baker's prisoner civil rights Complaint. Compl., Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Oahu Community Correctional Center ("OCCC").[1] He is proceeding in forma pauperis. Plaintiff alleges OCCC staff violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by denying him timely and adequate medical care following an assault by another inmate at OCCC in March 2014.[2] Id., PagelD #18-19.

Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED in part pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) & 1915A(b). The court finds that Plaintiff states a claim against unidentified RN Defendants, Dr. Karl Ayer, and Dr. Francis Hamada, and they will be required to respond to the Complaint after service is perfected. Plaintiff fails to state a claim against Defendants Dr. Barney Toyoma and OCCC Food and Diet Supervisor John Doe, however, and those claims are DISMISSED with leave to amend.

Plaintiff may file an amended complaint curing the deficiencies in claims dismissed by this order on or before May 13, 2016. In the alternative, he may notify the court in writing on or before May 13, 2016, that he will stand on his claims against RN Defendants, Dr. Karl Ayer, and Dr. Francis Hamada. In that event, the court will order the U.S. Marshal to serve the Complaint as directed by Plaintiff, and the RN Defendants, Dr. Karl Ayer, and Dr. Francis Hamada will be directed to answer.

I. BACKGROUND[3]

Plaintiff alleges that at approximately 9:00 p.m., on March 20, 2014, he was attacked by another OCCC inmate. Plaintiff was taken to OCCC medical module 5, where he reported severe pain in his mouth and throat and requested to be taken to the hospital. RN Defendant Jane Doe photographed Plaintiff’s face and mouth, gave him an ice pack, told him to take his already-prescribed naproxen for pain. She told him there was nothing wrong and denied his request to go to the hospital.

At 11:40 p.m., Plaintiff returned to OCCC medical module 5 because he was in severe pain and begged RN Defendant Janet Doe to be taken to the hospital. Janet Doe and another nurse allegedly laughed at Plaintiff and told the guard that he had already been examined.

Two hours later, at 1:30 a.m., March 21, 2014, a guard called OCCC medical module 5 to report Plaintiff’s continuing severe pain, inability to sleep, and request to go to the hospital. RN Defendant Susan Doe explained that Plaintiff should report to sick call in the morning and denied Plaintiff’s request to go to the hospital. Plaintiff was unable to sleep because of the pain.

At 7:00 a.m. that morning, Plaintiff returned to sick call. He reported that he was in great pain and unable to chew or eat, and begged for an appointment with a doctor. He was told that a doctor’s appointment would be scheduled as soon as possible.

On March 22, 2014, Plaintiff returned to sick call at 7:00 a.m. He told “Nurse Neil” that he believed his jaw was broken. Compl., Doc. No. 1, PageID #12. Nurse Neil told Plaintiff that he would be scheduled for an appointment with a physician. Plaintiff’s extreme pain continued.

Between March 21 and 28, 2014, Plaintiff says he “told each nurse that he needed to see the doctor and complained about the pain.” Id. He was told that he was scheduled for an appointment with a doctor. Plaintiff was provided nothing for his pain, although his neck was obviously bruised, and he had a golf ball sized lump on his lower jaw. Plaintiff says he lost fifteen pounds during this week.

On March 28, 2014, Defendant Dr. Karl Ayer examined Plaintiff. Although Dr. Karl Ayer initially opined that he did not believe Plaintiff’s jaw was broken, he sent Plaintiff to OCCC dentist, Dr. Francis Hamada, for an x-ray. This x-ray revealed that Plaintiff’s jaw was, in fact, broken. Plaintiff says he begged Dr. Francis Hamada for pain medication, and Dr. Francis Hamada told him that he would discuss this request with Dr. Karl Ayer, but neither Dr. Francis Hamada nor Dr. Karl Ayer returned to speak with Plaintiff. Someone prescribed Plaintiff antibiotics and a “soft diet, ” however, and told Plaintiff he would be referred to The Queen’s Medical Center (“QMC”). Plaintiff was also told that his jaw could not be wired in place and hospitalization was not required because his “bones [were] already fusing out of place.” Id., PageID #13.

Plaintiff began receiving a meal tray that was labeled “soft diet, ” but he says it was identical to the regular diet tray he was served before his injury, and it was not kosher. Plaintiff asked someone to contact Defendant OCCC Food and Diet Supervisor John Doe about this issue, and complained to unidentified nurses and to RN Defendant Susan Doe, but his diet was not adjusted. Plaintiff says he lost twenty-five pounds until his jaw sufficiently healed to eat a regular diet again.

Between April 8 and 14, 2014, Plaintiff kept seeking pain relief, but was told he must wait until his appointment at QMC. Finally, on April 14, 2014, Plaintiff was taken to QMC, where a doctor told him the bone had set and his jaw could no longer be wired into place. This doctor prescribed Plaintiff a “liquid/ensure/yogurt diet.” Id., PageID #14. Plaintiff says he never received Ensure or a liquid diet, and his soft diet “was barely edible and never soft, ” despite his numerous written and oral requests to unidentified OCCC medical staff. Id. Plaintiff continued to lose weight and suffered headaches and insomnia.

Between April 18 and July 2014, Plaintiff filed numerous requests to see a physician due to his continuing pain and the unresolved lump in his neck. Plaintiff says Defendant Betty Doe refused to schedule him for an appointment and Defendant Kathy Doe, who is in charge of scheduling ...


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