Rosati v. Igbinoso

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 06-26-2015
  • Case #: 13-15984
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per curiam; Circuit Judges Gould, Hurwitz, and Silverman
  • Full Text Opinion

A complaint should not be dismissed without leave to amend deficiencies, unless the court finds it absolutely clear that amendment could not cure the deficiencies.

Philip Rosati (now Mia Rosati), a transgendered inmate in California, suffers from severe gender dysphoria and sought sexual reassignment surgery as a necessary medical treatment. The Pleasant Valley State Prison Chief Medical Officer and the Director of California Department of Correction (“prison officials”) refused Rosati the surgery. Rosati filed a pro se complaint against prison officials alleging their refusal to provide the surgery amounted to deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The district court dismissed the complaint. Rosati, with counsel, appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit applied the Iqbal standard to determine whether the complaint sufficiently pled a plausible claim for relief. To show deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, an inmate must provide evidence that prison officials were both subjectively aware of the serious medical need and failed to respond to that need. The panel held that a complaint should not be dismissed without leave to amend deficiencies, unless the court finds it absolutely clear that amendment could not cure the deficiencies. In the instant case, the prison officials agreed that Rosati should have been granted leave to amend the complaint. Rosati's complaint, although shoddily drafted, developed plausibility regarding her need for sexual reassignment surgery. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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