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Chappell v. Mandeville

March 31, 2009



Plaintiff is a California prisoner proceeding pro se with an action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He alleges numerous violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.*fn1 The defendants' motion for summary judgment is before the court.

I. Standard of Review for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when the movant demonstrates that there exists "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).

Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any," which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the 'pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file.'" Id. Indeed, summary judgment should be entered, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Seeid. at 322. "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Id. In such a circumstance, summary judgment should be granted, "so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment, as set forth in Rule 56(c), is satisfied." Id. at 323.

If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n.11. The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. SeeAnderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). The opposing party must also demonstrate that the dispute is genuine, i.e., that the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, seeWool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that "the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., 809 F.2d at 631. Thus, the "purpose of summary judgment is to 'pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.'" Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) advisory committee's note on 1963 amendments).

In resolving the summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed. SeeAnderson, 477 U.S. at 255. All reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. SeeMatsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. Nevertheless, inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. SeeRichards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F. Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D. Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898, 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue, the opposing party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citation omitted).

On September 15, 2005, the court advised plaintiff of the requirements for opposing a motion pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc), cert. denied, 527 U.S. 1035 (1999); Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988).

II. Factual Background

At the time of the incident giving rise to this lawsuit, plaintiff was a prisoner at California State Prison-Sacramento (CSP-Sac). Defendant Mandeville was Captain of the Investigative Services Unit (ISU) at CSP-Sac. See Defs.' Ex. H ¶ 1.*fn2 Defendant Rosario was the Acting Warden. See Defs.' Ex. I ¶ 4. The other defendants were lower-level officers at the prison.

On April 28, 2002, plaintiff received a visit from his fiancée, Philissa Richard. See Pl.'s Ex. A. Ms. Richard arrived wearing a hairpiece in the shape of a ponytail. See id. A correctional officer observed Ms. Richard wearing the hairpiece and asked her to remove the bobby pins from it. See Pl.'s Ex. B (Letter of June 10, 2002). Ms. Richard complied, but it appears she was allowed to enter the visiting facility with the hairpiece despite prison rules to the contrary. See id. (Letter of August 19, 2002).

The following day, April 29, ISU was informed that the hairpiece had been found in a trash can near the visiting area.*fn3 See Pl.'s Ex. B-1. The discovery precipitated an emergency institutional count. See id. The visiting area was searched, and some spandex undergarments were discovered in the women's restroom. See Pl.'s Ex. B-1 at 1. The hairpiece and undergarments were subjected to an Ionscan test on April 30. Id. On both items, the test returned an initial positive "alarm" for cocaine residue. Defs.' Ex. A, Attach. A at 3. A background check of Ms. Richard revealed that she possessed two California driver's licenses and had "a long well documented history of felony and misdemeanor infractions." Pl.'s Ex. B-1 at 1. The prison's visiting records, surveillance video of visitors and interviews with prison staff linked the hairpiece to Ms. Richard and Ms. Richard to plaintiff. Defs.' Ex. A ¶ 10; Pl.'s Ex. A.

As a result of the investigation, plaintiff was placed on contraband watch beginning April 30, on suspicion of secreting contraband in his digestive system. Defs.' Ex. A ¶ 12 & Ex. I ¶ 2. Defendant Mandeville, as ISU Captain, was in charge of the investigation. Mandeville denies he was the official who ordered the contraband watch. See Defs.' Ex. H ¶ 3. Mandeville states that his function was only "to conduct investigations and provide the information to facility staff to take appropriate action." Id. According to the defendants,

CSP-Sac's contraband watch procedures require that the decision to place an inmate on contraband watch be made by a prison official of the rank of Captain or above. Normally, the decision to place an inmate on contraband watch is made by high level officials in the facility where the inmate is housed. The official placing an inmate on contraband watch must notify the Warden's office of the placement.

Defs.' Statement of Undisputed Facts No. 21 (referencing Defs.' Ex. B ¶ 3 & Ex. H ¶ 3). It is undisputed that defendants Mandeville and Rosario both had the authority to place plaintiff on contraband watch. However, the record is inconclusive as to the identity of the prison official who actually made the decision to do so.

Plaintiff was told of the discovery of the hairpiece on the night of April 29, the same day he received the visit from Ms. Richard. See Chappell Dep. Tr. (Defs.' Ex. L) at 21:16-22:9.*fn4 He was therefore apprised of the reason for his placement on contraband watch when his confinement there began the next day.

Contraband watch*fn5 is a special, temporary confinement used to determine whether an inmate has ingested or secreted contraband in his digestive tract and, if so, to recover it. The affidavit of Officer Hill, an associate warden of health care at CSP-Sac, describes the procedures and conditions of contraband watch at CSP-Sac in 2002:*fn6

. . . The inmate is placed in a secure cell where he can be closely monitored by custody staff, and his bowel movements can be searched. Once he has passed several bowel movements free of contraband staff can reasonably infer he does not have contraband in his digestive system, and he can be released from contraband watch. . . . .

Contraband procedures at CSP-Sacramento in 2002 were as follows. Before placement on contraband watch the inmate was thoroughly searched. Once searched, the inmate was placed in two pair of underwear, one worn correctly, the other placed on backwards. The underwear were then taped at the waist and thighs in such a way that the tape does not touch the skin. The inmate was then placed in two jumpsuits, one correctly, the other backwards. The jumpsuits were then taped at the thighs, ankles, waist and upper arms, in such a way as not to touch the skin. The purpose of the taping is to shut off the openings of the clothing to prohibit the inmate from excreting contraband or moving it around in his clothing.

Once clothed, the inmate was placed in waist chain restraints.

Waist restraints are commonly used in prison, as for example when an inmate is being transported. In the waist restraints used for an inmate on contraband watch, the inmate wears handcuffs that are separated and chained to [the] side of his waist. The purpose of this type of restraint is to keep the inmate's hands close to his waist, and to prevent the inmate from being able to reach his rectum. These restraints were kept on for the duration of the contraband watch. However, the restraint connecting the handcuffs to the waist chain was adjustable so that custody staff could lengthen the restraint approximately 6 inches to permit the inmate greater range of motion when reasonably necessary, for example, when the inmate was eating meals.

The inmate was then placed in the contraband watch surveillance cell.... No mattress or other furniture was allowed in the cell to prevent the inmate from concealing contraband, but the inmate was permitted to have a blanket on the bed.

At least one custody staff member was assigned to constantly observe the inmate on contraband [watch] at all times. The observation was direct and constant, to prevent the inmate from disposing of contraband.

The cell did not contain a toilet or running water. When the inmate needed to defecate he notified custody staff who brought him a chair lined with plastic, similar to the type of moveable toilet used in a hospital. The chair consisted of an aluminum frame with a plastic-lined bucket underneath the seat. Once the inmate had used the chair custody staff removed the plastic and searched the waste to determine if it contained contraband.

During contraband watch staff must be able to see the inmate at all times. Therefore, the lights were kept on at all times.

Inmates on contraband watch received the same food as all other inmates. Therefore, the inmate on contraband watch received three meals a day, with a beverage.

Defs.' Ex. B ¶¶ 2, 4-10.*fn7

During his contraband watch, plaintiff complained about the tape around his jumpsuit. See Defs.' Ex. E ¶ 5. The sergeant responsible for the contraband watch facility states that he checked the tightness of the taping himself and offered to have medical staff check plaintiff but plaintiff refused. See id. ¶¶ 5-6. Plaintiff does not dispute that the tape was checked and that he refused medical attention for it. See Opp'n at 16. However, on May 3, plaintiff did receive medical attention for his complaint that the wrist and leg cuffs were too tight. The nurse who examined him recorded that he had an "indentation on the right wrist cuff" and that his right ankle was "swollen." Pl.'s Ex. M. The nurse referred him for examination by a doctor. See id. However, there is no record or statement from either party as to whether any follow-up examination occurred.

On May 2, plaintiff was ordered to submit to a urinalysis test, but he refused to comply. See Pl.'s Ex. Q at 1; Defs.' Ex. L at 50:22-51:21. He was reported for a rules violation and brought up on disciplinary charges for his refusal. Pl.'s Ex. Q. The rules violation report, submitted by Defendant Rasmussen, states that "Chappell was ordered to submit to urine analysis as a result of cocaine residue being discovered on panty hose and a wig belonging to Chappell's visitor...." Id. at 2-3. The charge was later dismissed "in the interest of justice" and plaintiff found not guilty after Rasmussen admitted that "he did not write, nor was he familiar with information relating to Chappell's visitor having residue on panty hose or wig." Id. at 5. The order of dismissal carries a "Special Notation: There was not evidence submitted for the hearing to satisfactorily explain the circumstances surrounding the charges." Id.

Plaintiff remained on contraband watch until May 6 (roughly seven days total), after having three bowel movements that revealed no contraband. See Defs.' Ex. I ΒΆ 2. On May 6, he was given an x-ray that concluded there was "[n]o foreign body... in the lower abdomen." Pl.'s Ex. L. The ...

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