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Guy v. County of San Diego

February 22, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. United States District Judge


Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion") as to all claims in Plaintiff Shawn Guy's ("Plaintiff") Complaint. [Doc. No. 34.] Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment ("Opposition"), and Defendants filed a Reply to the Opposition ("Reply"). [Doc. Nos. 38, 40.] Pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), the Court decides the matter on the pleadings submitted and without oral argument. See S.D. Cal. Civ. Rule 7.1(d)(1). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment in its entirety.

Factual Background

Defendants' Version of the Facts

A. Transfer to Central Jail for Medical Care Following Nurse Evaluation

At about 7:00 a.m. on September 18, 2004, Plaintiff asked to see a nurse at the Descanso honor camp detention facility reporting that he was hit in the left side of his torso during a fight with other prisoners the day prior. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 4; Decl. Jason Roland ¶ 10; Ex. A.) He was immediately taken to the dispensary. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 4; Decl. Jason Roland ¶ 10; Exs. A, B.) At about 7:06 a.m., Nurse Antonio Gonzales, RN, evaluated Plaintiff because of his complaints of pain accompanying movement. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 4; Ex. B.) Slight bruising was seen about Plaintiff's left side ribs. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 4; Ex. B.) Because of a small amount of blood found in Plaintiff's urine, Nurse Gonzales arranged for Plaintiff to be transported to Central Jail for further medical evaluation. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 4; Ex. B.) Plaintiff was driven to the Central Jail and arrived at about 9:22 a.m. that same morning. (Decl. Jason Roland ¶ 10; Ex. H1.)

B. Sergeant Roland's Contact With Plaintiff

On the morning of September 18, 2004, Sergeant (Sgt.) Jason Roland was at the elevator lobby on the second floor of the Central Jail when he observed Plaintiff in a nearby holding cell. (Decl. Jason Roland ¶ 4.) The cell contained a phone, and was located about 30 feet away from the jail's nursing station. (Id.) Plaintiff got Sgt. Roland's attention, and informed Sgt. Roland that he had been in a fight and was waiting to see medical. (Id.) Sgt. Roland informed him that there were some restrictions on housing inmates with medical problems at the Descanso honor camp facility and that his status would be determined by medical staff. Plaintiff was not pleased. (Id.) According to Sgt. Roland, Plaintiff did not appear to be in pain or having any other problems. (Id.) Plaintiff did not complain of pain, and did not ask Sgt. Roland to get medical staff to see him. (Id.) The contact between Plaintiff and Sgt. Roland lasted about thirty seconds to one minute. (Id.)

Between thirty minutes to an hour after speaking with Plaintiff, Sgt. Roland picked up a telephone call that had been forwarded to the inmate processing office. (Id. at ¶ 5.) The caller identified herself as Plaintiff's mother and expressed concern about his condition. (Id.) Sgt. Roland informed the caller that Plaintiff looked fine with no obvious signs of injury, and that Plaintiff's primary concern seemed to be returning to Descanso as quickly as possible. (Id.) The caller said she had just gotten off the phone with Plaintiff, and that he said he was in serious pain and urinating blood. Sgt. Roland asked the Plaintiff's mother to hold for five minutes so he could check on Plaintiff's condition. (Id. at ¶ 6.)

Sgt. Roland went to the holding cell where he first met Plaintiff and saw Plaintiff was still occupying the cell. (Id.) He told Plaintiff that Plaintiff's mother was on the phone and expressing concern about his condition. (Id.) Plaintiff did not complain about any medical condition, nor did he request medical care. (Id.) Plaintiff's appearance had not changed since Sgt. Roland's observation of him during their first contact. (Id.)

Sgt. Roland left Plaintiff's cell and went to the nursing station to have a nurse look up Plaintiff's medical status. (Id. at ¶ 7.) The nurse found no information indicating that Plaintiff was experiencing any urgent or serious medical condition. (Id.) Rather, the nurse informed Roland that medical staff knew Plaintiff was present and ready for evaluation. (Id.) Sgt. Roland returned to the phone to report the information to Plaintiff's mother, but she had hung up without leaving a call back number and did not call back. (Id.) Sgt. Roland did not see or hear from Plaintiff until after Plaintiff collapsed in his cell five days later. (Id. at ¶ 8.)

C. Physician Evaluation and Nursing Assessment on Morning of September 18th

At about 10:09 a.m. at the Central Jail, Nursing staff assessed Plaintiff and obtained his vital signs. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 5; Ex. C.) At about 10:18 a.m., Dr. Frank Lin evaluated Plaintiff. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 5; Ex. D.) Plaintiff reported that he could not take a deep breath, and felt somewhat light headed and dehydrated. Dr. Lin's impression on examination was that Plaintiff had bruised or possibly fractured ribs. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 5; Ex. D.) Dr. Lin prescribed Naprosyn for the physical discomfort and suggested x-rays if there was no improvement in three to four days. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 5; Ex. D.)

D. Nursing Evaluation the Evening of September 18, 2004

At 10:21 p.m., Nursing staff examined Plaintiff because he reported having blood in his urine. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 6; Ex. E.) Nurse staff found that Plaintiff was ambulatory, had a steady gait, was alert, oriented and did not otherwise exhibit any signs of distress. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 6; Ex. E.) His urine was observed to be clear and yellow and the urine dip conducted was negative for blood and otherwise unremarkable. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 6; Ex. E.) Plaintiff was informed that the discomfort would persist, but if it did not improve or became worse he should inform the staff. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 6; Ex. E.)

E. Other Medical Evaluations and Treatment Between September 19, 2004, and Plaintiff's Collapse on September 23, 2004

Pursuant to Dr. Lin's prescription, Naprosyn was administered to Plaintiff on several occasions between his evaluation and his collapse. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 8; Ex. G.) Plaintiff did not submit any subsequent sick call requests for medical care. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 11.) Plaintiff had social visits on September 19, 2004, and September 22, 2004 without reporting medical distress. (Decl. Jason Roland ¶ 11; Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 11; Ex. J.) Medical staff took x-rays of Plaintiff on September 21, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 7; Ex. F.) The x-rays were negative for left rib fracture and no other problems were noted. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 7; Ex. F.)

F. Plaintiff's Early Morning Collapse

On September 23, 2004, at about 12:34 a.m., medical staff attended to Plaintiff in his housing unit, responding to a report that he had collapsed while using the toilet. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 9; Ex. I.) Plaintiff's symptoms at the time included low blood pressure, an altered state of awareness, diaphoresis, and cold, clammy skin. He did not have these symptoms previously. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 9; Ex. I.) Plaintiff was sent to the emergency room at UCSD medical center, where he was admitted and underwent an emergency spleenectomy that same day. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 9; Ex. I.) Plaintiff recovered without complications. (Decl. Earl Goldstein ¶ 9.)

Plaintiff's Version of the Facts

On September 18, 2004, as a result of an attack on Plaintiff's person at the Descanso detention facility, Plaintiff was so badly injured that he needed immediate hospitalization. Instead, he was transported to Central Jail. (Pls. Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. at 2.) Upon arrival at Central Jail, Plaintiff saw a physician who prescribed Naprosyn for pain from his physical injuries. (Second Am. Compl. at 1-2. ("SAC") at ¶ 10.) A nurse examined him later that evening, and he was scheduled for an x-ray three days later. (Id.) The nurse told Plaintiff to notify staff if the pain persisted. (Id.)

Over the course of the next few days, Plaintiff's condition deteriorated and he experienced excruciating pain in his chest, stomach, and side. (Id. at ΒΆ 11.) He was also nauseous, hot, sweaty, and extremely weak. (Id.) Between September 19 and September 23, Plaintiff filed numerous written requests for medical attention. (Id.) Plaintiff's pain and symptoms became progressively worse, and he pleaded with deputies and nurses to help him obtain medical care every time they walked past his cell. (Id.) Plaintiff was x-rayed on September 21, and received Naprosyn as prescribed every day, but received no other medical attention. (Id.) ...

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