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Atilano v. County of Butte

August 28, 2008

ANTONIO ATILANO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE COUNTY OF BUTTE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Frank C. Damrell, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment, or alternatively, summary adjudication brought by defendant County of Butte ("defendant"). By its motion, defendant seeks adjudication in its favor on the complaint filed by plaintiff Antonio Atilano ("plaintiff"), which alleges claims for (1) violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (2) violation of California Civil Code § 43, which provides that every person has "the right of protection from bodily restraint or harm, from personal insult, from defamation, and from injury to his personal relations." Plaintiff opposes defendant's motion.

For the reasons set forth below, the court GRANTS defendant's motion for summary judgment.*fn1

BACKGROUND*fn2

I. Butte County Jail and its Policies

Defendant, a municipality, is responsible for setting the policies, practices and customs of the Butte County Jail.*fn3 Defendant states that part of its philosophy in supervising the jail is to ensure remanded inmates are provided with safe, secure, and humane treatment consistent with applicable standards, laws, and judicial decisions. (Def.'s Stmt. of Undisputed Facts ("SUF"), filed June 24, 2008, ¶ 1.) Defendant also states that it has the philosophy of providing to inmates "essentials of human life," which includes medical and health care. (SUF ¶ 2.)

In order to carry out these philosophies, defendant has instructed its correctional officers to follow certain procedures when dealing with an inmate in need of medical care. (SUF ¶ 3.) When an inmate is booked, it is the policy of defendant to have the medical unit complete a Medical Pre-Screening Form in which inmates are asked questions regarding the state of their health. (SUF ¶ 5.) Inmates are also provided with a Corrections Division Jail Information Handbook. (SUF ¶ 7.) This handbook informs inmates, among other things, that a private medical company provides health care to inmates; that inmates can submit a Sick Slip if they wish to disclose more information about their health; and that inmates will be seen immediately in case of emergency. (SUF ¶ 8.)

Once they are in jail, inmates can also submit a Sick Slip, which are available in the housing units, if they feel a need for medical attention. (SUF ¶ 3.) The jail's medical unit then schedules inmates to be seen at a sick call. (SUF ¶ 3.) During a medical emergency, correctional officers are to immediately notify the medical unit of the emergency. (SUF ¶ 3.) The medical unit then determines how to handle the emergency. (SUF ¶ 3.)

Additionally, correctional officers are required to conduct direct and visual security checks of each inmate, which, per custom and practice, occur hourly. (SUF ¶ 12.) During these security checks, inmates have the opportunity to inform correctional officers of any health problems. (SUF ¶ 13.) If an inmate tells a correctional officer that he or she is in need of medical care, the correctional officer will then notify the medical unit. (SUF ¶ 15.)

Inmates are able to make a formal grievance in the event they believe they were not given proper medical care. (SUF ¶ 16.) The grievance is then promptly investigated and referred to either the Shift Sergeant or Administrative Sergeant for timely determination. (SUF ¶ 17.)

Defendant has retained a private medical company, California Forensic Medical Group ("CFMG"), to administer medical care to inmates. (SUF ¶ 9.) Defendant has no supervisory authority over CFMG. (SUF ¶ 10.) The contract with CFMG does, however, require CFMG medical personnel to be present around the clock at the jail. (SUF ¶ 11.)

II. Plaintiff's Stay at Butte County Jail

On July 25, 2006, plaintiff was admitted to Butte County Jail after turning himself in on outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court cases in both Butte County and Tehama County. (SUF ΒΆ 18.) At the time he was booked, plaintiff did not identify any medical problems on the jail's standard classification questionnaire, nor did plaintiff ...


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