THE federal court has dismissed without prejudice the lawsuit of an inmate, Xiao Ping Wang, who has accused some Department of Corrections officials of withholding medical attention for eight hours after he was severely beaten by another inmate.
Without prejudice means that the plaintiff can refile his complaint.
Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona of the District Court for the NMI dismissed Wang’s complaint but allowed him time to amend his lawsuit.
She also granted Wang’s request to waive the court filing fee.
Named as defendants were Corrections Commissioner Wally Villagomez and department officials Georgia Cabrera and Ken Camacho.
Wang sued them for violating his constitutional and civil rights, and is seeking damages in the amount of $100,000 for his suffering, “emotional stress and depression.”
In her order on Tuesday, Judge Manglona said if Wang “wishes to pursue his claim, he must file a first amended complaint by placing it in the prison mail no later than November 12. Failure to file an amended complaint by this deadline will result in the court dismissing this action with prejudice and directing the clerk to close the case.”
According to the judge, Wang alleged that he had a broken nose, severe bleeding, and swollen eyes after the beating incident.
“This allegation satisfies the objective prong of stating the existence of a serious medical need, as severe bleeding could demonstrate an immediate need for medical attention. As to the subjective element, however, Wang fails to establish that any of the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. While the court notes that a delay [of] eight hours for medical treatment could demonstrate a deliberate indifference, nothing in his allegations suggest that the named defendants were the ones who were indifferent to his need,” Judge Manglona said.
As to defendants Villagomez and Cabrera, Wang failed to allege that they were aware of his immediate medical needs, the judge added.
“Wang does not even mention Cabrera in any of his documents other than listing Cabrera as a defendant. Furthermore, the filing of a grievance with Commissioner Villagomez does not evince his knowledge of any medical need immediately after the beating. Also, the general statement of seeking help after the beating without any response from whoever was noticed is too broad,” the judge said.
She added that Wang does not mention any personal involvement by Villagomez or Cabrera and fails to establish any sort of causal connection.
Accordingly, the judge said, Wang fails to establish a constitutional violation committed by defendants for failure to provide adequate medical care.
Wang also alleged that Corrections Officer Ken Camacho’s absence during the time of the beating violated the department internal rules and regulations.
Judge Manglona noted the department’s Inmates and Correctional Facility Rules and Regulations § 57-20.1-2105 prohibiting an officer from leaving a duty station during his or her shift unless given specific permission to do so by the chief of Corrections or duty officer; and § 57-20.1-2110, which prohibits an officer from leaving the duty station at the end of a shift until replaced by the next officer or with permission.
“Camacho’s shirk of his supervisory duties — akin to lack of staffing — in this instance may constitute an objective risk of substantial harm,” the judge said.
“However, as to the second prong, Wang fails to provide any indicia that Camacho was aware of a substantial risk to his safety or that the risk was obvious. No facts are alleged regarding whether Camacho was aware that [inmate] Josh Martin was prone to violence or posed a threat to Wang. Wang’s broad claim that Camacho should have been present but was not when the beating occurred is not sufficient to establish deliberate indifference. Wang needs to identify more facts about Camacho’s role and knowledge prior to the beating. Wang thus fails to state an Eighth Amendment failure to protect violation, although the deficiency in his claim may be cured by alleging more facts.”
In his complaint, Wang said although he “suffered massive swollen face, bleeding gums, and bloody eyes, my medical attention needs were delayed for eight hours thus subjecting me to excruciating pain and suffering.”
Wang said he was told by Corrections Officer Ken Camacho to “write a sick call to get medical attention.”
He said the incident happened on June 21, 2020, adding that he suffered headaches, depression, fear, and emotional distress for six months.
He said he should be treated equally as the rest of the other inmates and as a detainee he must be separated from other inmates.
Wang said he tried to get help, treatment for his suffering but was always ignored and neglected.
“The injustice I suffered in the care of [Corrections] is unprecedented and it’s happening to other inmates also,” Wang added.
Wang was arrested in December 2018 on charges of illegal possession of a controlled substance and drug trafficking.
In February 2021, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison with five years suspended. He was also given credit for the one year, 11 months, and 18 days that he had already served in prison. He will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of his mandatory sentence.