The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES BREYER, District Judge
This civil rights lawsuit arises out of the suicide of Will Henry, a
ward of the San Mateo County juvenile court. Now before the Court are
defendants' motions for summary judgment. The primary issue is whether
defendants were deliberately indifferent to Will's medical needs. After
carefully considering the papers filed by the parties, and having had the
benefit of oral argument, defendants' motions for summary judgment are
GRANTED as to all claims against Luke Moix, M.D., and as to the federal
claims against the Daytop Village defendants.
Will Henry, age 15, was adjudged a ward of the San Mateo County
juvenile court pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code
Section 602. On April 19, 2000, Will was placed in McAuley
Neuro-psychiatric Institute ("St. Mary's"). Approximately five days
later, Dr. Moix discharged Will to juvenile hall.
For three weeks Will stayed at Hillcrest, juvenile hall, awaiting
admission to Daytop Village. Daytop Village ran a facility which provided
substance abuse treatment in a setting which provides no level of
security for minors who are wards of the San Mateo County Superior Court.
Will was finally admitted to Daytop Village on May 22, 2001. A few weeks
later Will walked out of Daytop and killed himself. This lawsuit
Plaintiffs, the parents and sole heirs of Will, subsequently filed this
lawsuit in federal court against several defendants including St. Mary's
Hospital, Dr. Moix, two San Mateo probation officers, Daytop Village, and
various Daytop Village employees. They made claims for a violation of
section 1983 based on deliberate indifference to a serious medical need,
and conspiracy to violate section 1983, as well as state law claims for
medical malpractice and negligence. Plaintiffs also alleged that the
County of San Mateo and St. Mary's had a policy of deliberate
indifference to County patients. Plaintiffs subsequently amended the
complaint to add Eli Lilly, the manufacturer of Prozac, as a defendant.
Eli Lilly later settled with plaintiffs.
After three rounds of motions to dismiss the following claims remain:
(1) Dr. Luke Moix: medical negligence, wrongful death and survivorship,
and 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) St. Mary's Medical Center: medical
negligence, wrongful death and survivorship, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
(3) Daytop Village defendants: medical negligence, wrongful death and
survivorship, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (4) San Mateo County:
derivative liability for Daytop Village's negligence.
All remaining defendants now move for summary judgment on all claims,
state and federal.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient
evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact finder could find for
the nonmoving party, and a dispute is "material" only if it could affect
the outcome of the suit under governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986). A principal purpose of the
summary judgment procedure "is to isolate and dispose of factually
unsupported claims." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no
`genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Ind. Co. v. Zenith
Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
"In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court may not weigh
the evidence or make credibility determinations, and is required to draw
all reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving
party." Freeman v. Arpaio, 125 F.3d 732, 735 (9th Cir. 1997).
However, an inference may be drawn in favor of the non-moving party only
if the inference is "rational" or "reasonable" under the governing
substantive law. See Matsushita, 477 U.S. at 588.
Moreover, in determining whether to grant or deny summary judgment, it is
not a court's task "to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of
triable fact." Keenan v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th
Cir.1996) (internal quotations omitted). Rather, a court is entitled to
rely on the nonmoving party to identify with reasonable particularity the
evidence that precludes summary judgment. See id.
On April 18, 2000, Will's mother, Vicky Henry, called Will's probation
officer, Kim Minelli, to have Will taken into custody because she did not
want him in her home. That same day the County of San Mateo ("the
County") took Will into custody for a probation violation. While Will was
being booked into juvenile hall, he informed the booking officer that he
was suicidal. The County transferred Will to the San Mateo County
Hospital on a California Welfare and Institutions Code section 5150
72-hour detainment. Hospital staff diagnosed Will with adjustment
disorder, depression and polysubstance abuse.
The next day Will was transferred to the McAuley Neuropsychiatric
Institute at St. Mary's Hospital on a Welfare and Institutions Code
section 5150 hold. Dr. Moix first evaluated Will on April 20. He admitted
Will on a 5150 hold in order to evaluate him for a major depressive
disorder, adjustment disorder with disturbance of mood, and underlying
polysubstance abuse. On April 21, Dr. Moix certified Will for further
treatment under section 5250 as a danger to himself.
Dr. Moix and McAuley staff saw and assessed Will on a daily basis while
he was at McAuley. He was placed on suicide precautions and was checked
every 15 minutes during all shifts.
On April 24, Dr. Moix discussed Will returning to juvenile hall. Will
expressed anxiety about returning. That same day Dr. Moix started Will on
the anti-depressant Prozac at a dose of 10 mg per day.
Dr. Moix again evaluated Will on April 25. Will again reported being
anxious about returning to juvenile hall. Dr. Moix increased Will's
dosage to 20 mg per day. That same day nursing staff reported that Will