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David Ormiston v. Charles Teddington

January 25, 2012

DAVID ORMISTON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHARLES TEDDINGTON,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Defendant Charles Teddington ("Teddington") moves for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff David Ormiston's ("Ormiston's") claims, arguing Ormiston "lacks sufficient evidence to establish that [Teddington] violated any of [Ormiston's] civil rights" and that "Teddington is entitled to absolute and qualified immunity." (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. ("Mot.") 1:25-27.) Ormiston opposes the motion.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "A fact is 'material' when, under the governing substantive law, it could affect the outcome of the case." Thrifty Oil Co. v. Bank of Am. Nat. Trust & Sav. Ass'n, 322 F.3d 1039, 1046 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). An issue of material fact is "genuine" when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

When the defendant is the moving party and is seeking summary judgment on one or more of a plaintiff's claims, [The defendant] has both the initial burden of production and the ultimate burden of persuasion on [the motion]. In order to carry its burden of production, the [defendant] must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the [plaintiff's claim] or show that the [plaintiff] does not have enough evidence of an essential element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial. In order to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion on the motion, the [defendant] must persuade the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact.

Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Cos., Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted). If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, "the non-moving party must set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 56, specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The "non-moving plaintiff cannot rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading but must instead produce evidence that sets forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Estate of Tucker ex rel. Tucker v. Interscope Records, Inc., 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Further, Local Rule 260(b) requires: Any party opposing a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication [must] reproduce the itemized facts in the [moving party's] Statement of Undisputed Facts and admit those facts that are undisputed and deny those that are disputed, including with each denial a citation to the particular portions of any pleading, affidavit, deposition, interrogatory answer, admission, or other document relied upon in support of that denial.

If the non-movant does not "specifically . . . [controvert duly supported] facts identified in the [movant's] statement of undisputed facts," the non-movant "is deemed to have admitted the validity of the facts contained in the [movant's] statement." Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 527 (2006).

Because a district court has no independent duty to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact, and may rely on the nonmoving party to identify with reasonable particularity the evidence that precludes summary judgment, . . . the district court . . . [is] under no obligation to undertake a cumbersome review of the record on the [nonmoving party's] behalf.

Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

Evidence must be viewed "in the light most favorable to the non-moving party," and "all reasonable inferences" that can be drawn from the evidence must be drawn "in favor of [the non-moving] party." Nunez v. Duncan, 591 F.3d 1217, 1222-23 (9th Cir. 2010).

II. UNCONTROVERTED FACTS

"On April 1, 2003, [Teddington, an investigator for the California Department of Health Services (hereinafter, 'the Department'),*fn1 ] was assigned to investigate an incident that occurred on April 13, 200[0],*fn2 wherein [Ormiston] discharged a patient . . . from [Ormiston's] skilled nursing home." (Pl.'s Response to Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Pl.'s Response to SUF") #2-1; Teddington Dep. 32:9-10.) "At the conclusion of his investigation, [Teddington] authored a report[,] . . . [which] was completed prior to July 24, 2003." (Pl.'s Response to SUF #2-2, 2-4.) "On August 21, 2003, the Department . . . commenced an administrative action against [Ormiston's] nursing home [administrator's] license [(hereinafter, 'Ormiston's license')]" based upon Teddington's report. (Pl.'s Response to SUF #1-1; Teddington Dep. 595:16-24.) The Department "[sought] an order suspending [Ormiston's] . . . license for a period of six months." (Proposed Decision 2:20-21, In the Matter of Ormiston, Appeal No. NH5-04-0072-MD (June 29, 2009, Cal. Dep't of Health Care Servs.) (attached as Ex. 2 to Hensley Decl.).) Ormiston appealed the Department's decision. Id.

The administrative law judge (hereinafter, the "ALJ") stated the following in the order he issued at the ...


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