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King v. California Dep't of Corrections

April 28, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge


I. Introduction

Plaintiff, a former state prisoner, is proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The case proceeds on the second amended complaint filed June 26, 2006 which alleges excessive force and Eighth Amendment medical malpractice. Pending before the court are all remaining defendants' motions for summary judgment both filed on October 3, 2008.*fn1 After initially failing to respond, plaintiff appeared in court on January 20, 2009, and was provided two weeks to file an opposition.*fn2 Plaintiff filed an opposition on February 3, 2009. Defendants filed replies on February 9th and 10th, 2009. Most recently, plaintiff filed another unauthorized opposition on April 23, 2009.

II. Complaint

Plaintiff names ten (10) defendants who were employed at High Desert State Prison (HDSP): Dr. Rohlfing; Dr. Sandham; Medical Technical Assistant (MTA) Watkins; Dr. Bocian; Correctional Officer (C/O) Rausch; C/O Look; C/O Goforth; C/O Hitt; C/O Correa; and Warden Runnels.*fn3

Plaintiff alleges that on September 11, 2004, defendant Rausch confiscated his cane despite plaintiff's protest that he was authorized to possess it for medical reasons. Second Amended Complaint (SAC) at 5. Later that day, plaintiff's back went out on him as a result of not having use of the cane. Id. Plaintiff fell in the restroom. Id. Defendant Rausch, Goforth, Look, Hitt and Watkins responded. Id. Plaintiff stated that he could hardly move and was in pain. Id. Defendants Rausch and Goforth jerked plaintiff up off the ground and dragged him around. Id. Plaintiff contends that defendant MTA Watkins did not treat plaintiff and told the other defendants that she did not want him in the medical clinic. Id., at 6. Plaintiff was then thrown into a cage, as a result of which he suffered an injury to his head. Id., at 6-7.

On November 25, 2004, plaintiff was assaulted by defendant Correa after a riot broke out between the northern Mexican and black inmates. Id., at 8. Plaintiff alleges that MTA Watkins was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs and the correctional officers used excessive force.

Plaintiff alleges that defendant Runnels, the warden, on a ratification theory, refused to investigate his claims regarding the incidents described above after plaintiff complained that his administrative appeals had been improperly denied. Id., at 8-10. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Runnels was acting under the code of silence when he refused to investigate his claims because he knew that there was no system in place to discipline the misconduct of the other defendants. Id.

Plaintiff states that Dr. Rohlfing was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Plaintiff alleges that on August 20, 2004, defendant Dr. Rohlfing prepared a medical report falsely stating that he saw no verification that plaintiff had a disability. Id., at 17-20. Plaintiff claims that defendant Rohlfing prepared this report without examining plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff alleges that there were forms in his medical file stating that he was permanently mobility impaired. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that defendant Sandham, the Chief Medical Officer, was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and violated the American with Disabilities Act when he signed the form removing plaintiff from the disability placement program and authorized the discontinuance of plaintiff's use of a cane. Id., at 20-23.

Plaintiff alleges that defendant Dr. Boican examined plaintiff two days after the September 11, 2004, incident. Id., at 23-25. Plaintiff claims that defendant Boican decided not to admit him to the prison hospital in order to protect defendant MTA Watkins. Id. Plaintiff also claims that defendant Boican upheld the decision to discontinue plaintiff's authorization to use of a cane. Id.

Defendants move for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff has failed to establish triable issues of fact to support his complaint with respect to the defendants.

III. Motion for Summary ...

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