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Butler v. CDCR

July 1, 2010

MARCELLUS BUTLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CDCR, L. WOLCOTT, B. WEBSTER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert H. Whaley United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; REMANDING STATE CLAIMS

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Ct. Rec. 23). The motion was heard without oral argument.

On February 8, 2008, Plaintiff filed an action in the Lassen County Superior Court. Defendants removed the action to the Eastern District of California on April 22, 2008, asserting that removal was proper because Plaintiff was asserting an Eighth Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

In their motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot sustain a § 1983 claim against Defendants because he cannot show that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his safety needs. Defendants also assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if 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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). There is no genuine issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The moving party has the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). If the moving party meets it initial burden, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 325; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

In addition to showing that there are no questions of material fact, the moving party must also show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Smith v. University of Washington Law School, 233 F.3d 1188, 1193 (9th Cir. 2000). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the non-moving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

When considering a motion for summary judgment, a court may neither weigh the evidence nor assess credibility; instead, "the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson, 477 U.S.at 255.

BACKGROUND FACTS

Plaintiff is an inmate confined at High Desert State Prison ("HDSP"). Defendant Webster is a Supervising Cood at HDSP; Defendant Wolcott is a Sergeant on A Facility at HDSP.

On July 4, 2007, Plaintiff slipped and fell while dumping his food tray after dinner. There was water on the floor that caused Plaintiff to slip.

Just before Plaintiff slipped and fell, Defendant Wolcott was outside the A Facility dining hall, performing pat down searches of inmates as they entered and exited the dining hall. Before the fall, Wolcott did not know that there was any water on the floor in the area where Plaintiff fell. At that time, Defendant Webster was working in the A Facility kitchen area. From where she was working, Webster could see the general area where Plaintiff slipped, but not the floor. Before the fall, Webster did not know that there was any water on the floor in the area where Plaintiff fell.

The area where Plaintiff fell has a slanted floor that permits water to drain from the area. In addition, the floor is covered with a textured-cement-like tile, designed to provide traction and make it not slippery, even when wet.

Before Plaintiff slipped, he saw water on the floor, but did not tell anyone that the floor was wet. He believed that if he had, ...


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