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Lowe v. Dep't of Corrections of the State of California

July 29, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: David O. Carter United States District Judge Sitting by Designation


Before the Court is Defendants Alfredo Noriega, M.D., Kou-Ying Hsieh, M.D., and Raquel Padilla-Fuentes' Motion for Summary Judgment. After considering the moving and replying papers,*fn1 the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion.


Plaintiff Floyd Lowe ("Plaintiff") filed the instant lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants Alfredo Noriega ("Noriega"), Kou-Ying Hsieh ("Hsieh") and Raquel Padilla-Fuentes ("Padilla-Fuentes") were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eigth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

On October 22, 2005, Plaintiff was imprisoned in cell 227 at California State Prison Solano ("CSP Solano"). As Plaintiff climbed out of his top bunk bed, he slipped and hit his right knee against the toilet, causing both his right knee and right ankle to become swollen, and preventing him from walking without the aid of crutches.

Plaintiff alleges that he met with Doctor Bakewell ("Bakewell") on October 25, 2005, and was told that he would need physical therapy for his knee. Plaintiff alleges that he was never given the physical therapy that was recommended. Plaintiff claims that on December 15, 2005, he met with Defendant Noriega and was told he no longer needed crutches.

Plaintiff alleges that he continued to suffer tremendous pain in his right knee but was never given medical care. Finally, on October 16, 2006, Plaintiff had an MRI done which showed that his bone was cracked. Plaintiff alleges that following this MRI, he was again refused treatment for his pain.

On July 13, 2006, Plaintiff alleges that he approached Defendant Padilla-Fuentes about pain in his knee and that Padilla-Fuentes refused to seek medical treatment for Plaintiff.

On November 20, 2006, Plaintiff claims that he was given Naproxen for his pain and that when he told the doctor that the pain medication was not working, the doctor did nothing. On November 28, 2006, Plaintiff met with Defendant Hsieh who changed Plaintiff's pain medication to Tylenol 3.

Plaintiff alleges that after experiencing significant pain for some time, it was finally decided that surgery would be performed on his knee. Following surgery, Plaintiff claims that Doctor Freedhand prescribed Vicodin for the pain. Plaintiff alleges that when he returned to CSP Solano, Defendant Noriega changed his prescription to Tylenol 3. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Noriega never talked to him or saw him following surgery and that Plaintiff should have been given Vicodin or something equivalent to it for his pain.

Defendants' version of the facts are somewhat contradictory to those presented by Plaintiff in his Complaint. (Again, Plaintiff has failed to oppose this Motion). According to Defendants, Defendant Noriega saw Plaintiff for the first time on December 15, 2005, for complaints of right knee pain. Noriega noted that the x-ray of the knee was negative and that there was no swelling or tenderness. Noriega diagnosed contusion of the knee subsiding and prescribed a Neoprene brace and discontinued the prescription for crutches because there was no medical need for them.

Plaintiff was seen again on October 29, 2006, October 30, 2006, January 30, 2006 and April 24, 2006, in the medical clinic and had no complaints of knee pain on those dates.

On July 19, 2006, Plaintiff notified Defendant Padilla-Fuentes that he wanted to be seen by medical for complaints of leg pain. Officer Padilla-Fuentes claims that she contacted the medical department and spoke with the medical technical assistant who scheduled Plaintiff for an appointment on July 20, 2006. Plaintiff was seen on July 20, 2006 by Nurse practitioner Karen Mahon for complaints of right knee pain and pain to the right great toe. Nurse Mahon noted that the knee ligaments were stable and referred Plaintiff for an MRI of his knee.

An MRI was taken of the right knee on October 6, 2006, which showed a non-displaced fracture through the lateral aspect of the tibial plateau. On October 31, 2006, Plaintiff was seen for follow-up studies ...

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