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Reynaldo J. Castillo v. Solano County Jail

February 7, 2012

REYNALDO J. CASTILLO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SOLANO COUNTY JAIL, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Carolyn K. Delaney United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a California prisoner proceeding pro se with an action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action proceeds on the amended complaint filed by plaintiff on September 29, 2009. Plaintiff's claims are against employees of the Solano County Jail and concern his pretrial detention there. Defendants Senesackda, Dolan, Cameron, Cullison and Pereda (defendants) have filed a motion for summary judgment. The court notes that plaintiff has filed a sur-reply with respect to the motion for summary judgment. Under Local Rule 230(l), sur-replies are not permitted. Because plaintiff did not seek leave to file a sur-reply, it will not be considered.

I. Plaintiff's Requests For Dismissal

In his opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment, plaintiff asks that his claim for excessive force against defendant Senesackda be dismissed. Defendants do not object to this request so it will be granted. Since the only claim remaining against defendant Senesackda is the excessive force claim (see October 21, 2009 Order) he will be dismissed from this action.

Plaintiff also asks that his due process claim against defendant Pereda be dismissed. Defendants do not object to this request so it will also be granted. Since the only claim remaining against defendant Pereda is the due process claim (see October 21, 2009 Order) he will be dismissed from this action.

II. Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment

A. 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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

Under summary judgment practice, the moving party always 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) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). "[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. See 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. See 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 allegations or 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. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 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, see 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, see 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. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The evidence of the opposing party is to be believed. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. All reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. 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. See 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).

On December 10, 2009, the court advised plaintiff of the requirements for opposing a motion pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc) and Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988). Despite the court's warning, plaintiff has failed to present any affidavits with his opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment.*fn1

B. Analysis

1. Introduction

Plaintiff's allegations in his amended complaint begin with a physical confrontation plaintiff had with certain Solano County Jail officers on January 13, 2009.*fn2

Plaintiff was speaking with his mother on the phone when an officer ordered plaintiff to pull up his pants. Plaintiff complied but admits that he responded to the officer "[i]f you feel it is so important, why [don't] you do it?" The officer became agitated, approached plaintiff and began screaming at him. Plaintiff turned his back on the officer. The officer then told plaintiff to "lock down." Plaintiff responded that he would lock down after speaking with his mother. At some point the officer grabbed plaintiff and began to drag him away from the phone area. Plaintiff then struck the officer. After that, a full-blown physical confrontation erupted involving plaintiff and at least two officers. After plaintiff was subdued, he was taken to "Z Module" and he remained there until February 13, 2009. After that, plaintiff was housed in "C Module" and he remained there until May 5, 2009. The claims which are before the court for purposes of the pending motion for summary judgment concern ...


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