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Carter v. Butler

July 14, 2009

DESHA M. CARTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. BUTLER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO WITHDRAW PORTION OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. 50)

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BE DENIED AND THIS MATTER BE SET FOR TRIAL (Doc. 42)

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW BE DENIED (Doc. 48)

I. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff Desha M. Carter ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding on plaintiff's amended complaint, filed June 23, 2006, against defendant Butler for use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and defendant Rousseau for violation of due process ("Defendants"). (Docs. 11, 29.) On March 25, 2009, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 42.) Plaintiff filed an opposition on April 16, 2009. (Doc. 45.)

B. Motion to Withdraw Portion of Argument

On June 15, 2009, Defendants filed a request to withdraw Parts I-B and II-A of their motion for summary judgment. Defense counsel states that she recently learned that the bases for those portions of the motion are erroneous. Plaintiff filed an opposition on June 26, 2009. (Docs. 50, 51.)

The request is granted. The Court now considers the remainder of Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

C. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that there exists no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party [A]lways 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). "[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. Id. 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. 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 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. Rule 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, Anderson 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), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, Wool v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 818 F.2d 1433, 1436 (9th Cir. 1987).

In the endeavor 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. Rule 56(c). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed, Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party, Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962) (per curiam). 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. Richards 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).

D. Undisputed Facts*fn1

1. Plaintiff is a prisoner of the State of California.

2. On January 13, 2004, defendant Butler was a correctional officer employed at Corcoran State Prison.

3. On January 13, 2004, defendant Butler was accompanying a nurse who was distributing medication to inmates in Building 4A at Corcoran State Prison.

4. On January 13, 2004, Plaintiff, Desha Carter, was an inmate housed in Building 4A, cell Number 1.

5. At approximately 4:30 p.m., defendant Butler and the nurse approached Plaintiff's cell and provided him ...


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