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Carter v. McGuinness

August 21, 2009

DARNELL CARTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM MCGUINNESS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Mikel H. Williams United States Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

Pending before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 23). Having reviewed the motion and relevant portions of the record, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary to resolve the motion. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Report and Recommendation.

REPORT

I. Background

Plaintiff Darnell Carter ("Plaintiff") brings this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment while he was incarcerated at California State Prison Corcoran ("Corcoran"). The Defendants include Dr. William J. McGuinness, the Chief Medical Officer ("CMO") at Corcoran, Dr. David G. Smith, a medical doctor at Corcoran, and Naomi Loadholt, N.P, a nurse practitioner at Corcoran.

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that he injured his right knee while playing basketball which resulted in an anterior cruciate ligament tear and medial meniscus tear. He claims he was deprived of medical attention and surgery for over eight months and only given pain medication which did not help. He asserts that the Defendants were fully aware of his problems but acted in an unprofessional manner in caring for his injury. Additionally, he stated that although he undergone arthroscopy on his knee, he still suffers from torn ligaments, pain, inflammatory fluids and a meniscus tear.

On January 5, 2009, Defendants McGuinness, Smith and Loadholt filed a motion for summary judgment (Docket No. 23). Plaintiff did not file an objection or any response to this motion.

II. Discussion

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is 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). One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . . ." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a disfavored procedural shortcut," but is instead the "principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).Material facts are those which may affect the outcome of the case. See id. at 248.

The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, id. at 255, and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. Direct testimony of the non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence. McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir. 1988). In addition, the Court must be "guided by the substantive evidentiary standards that apply to the case." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255.

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 532 (9th Cir. 2000).

This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor. Id. at 256-57. The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show by "affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file" ...


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