Wilhelm v. Rotman

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 05-25-2012
  • Case #: 11-16335
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Graber for the Court; Circuit Judges Schroeder and O'Scannlain
  • Full Text Opinion

A party’s written consent to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge continues when a new magistrate is substituted for the initial magistrate assigned to the case.

Steven Wilhelm filed a complaint against two prison medical providers alleging deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Doctors diagnosed Wilhelm with a hernia in 2005, and after a series of delayed appointments, misdiagnosis, inadequate documentation, and an erroneous claim that the issue had resolved itself, Wilhelm finally received surgery in 2009. Following surgery, Wilhelm filed a § 1983 claim and consented to the jurisdiction of Magistrate Judge Austin. The district court later transferred the case to Magistrate Judge Cohn, who dismissed the case for failure to state a claim. Wilhelm appealed, arguing that he properly stated a claim, and additionally challenging the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge to dismiss his case. The Court found that consent to the jurisdiction of “a” magistrate judge includes consent to any magistrate, even though a specific one may be listed on the consent form. Additionally, the Court found the claim to be properly dismissed against one doctor because his misdiagnosis amounted to negligence, not deliberate indifference. The magistrate, however, improperly dismissed the claim against the second doctor, because his inadequate documentation and erroneous claims created a plausible action for deliberate indifference. AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED and REMANDED in part.

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