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Christopher W. Cardwell v. A. Kettelhake

March 30, 2012

CHRISTOPHER W. CARDWELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
A. KETTELHAKE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable James L. Robart U.S. District Court Judge

ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on Defendants Nurse Kettelhake, Nurse Camacho, Nurse Miller, Nurse Unterreiner, Doctor Colleti, and Doctor James's (collectively, "Defendants") motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff Christopher W. Cardwell's Eighth Amendment claims of cruel and unusual punishment. (Mot. (Dkt. # 56).) Having reviewed Defendants' motion (Dkt. # 56), Mr. Cardwell's response (Dkt. # 63), Defendants' reply (Dkt. # 66), the remainder of the record, and the relevant law, the court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendants' motion (Dkt. # 56).

II. BACKGROUND

At all times relevant to the present motion, Mr. Cardwell was an inmate incarcerated within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). (Mot. at 3.) Mr. Cardwell alleges that while incarcerated he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, Mr. Cardwell alleges that each of the Defendants acted with deliberate indifference by causing delay in provision of prescribed medication for Mr. Cardwell's lower back pain. (See generally Compl. (Dkt. # 1); Resp. (Dkt. # 63).)

On or around November 26, 2007, Mr. Cardwell was transferred from Mule Creek State Prison ("Mule Creek") to High Desert State Prison ("High Desert"). (Mot. at 3; Resp. at 3.) At the time of his transfer, Mr. Cardwell was taking a narcotic called Gabapentin for his lower back pain. (Resp at 3.) Doctor Wesl Hashimoto, a physician at Mule Creek, had prescribed Gabapentin (or Neurontin) to Mr. Cardwell on August 27, 2007, with an expiration date of February 11, 2008. (Resp. at 3.)

In connection with Mr. Cardwell's transfer, on November 21, 2007, Nurse Kettelhake, who worked at Mule Creek, filled out a "Confidential Medical Health Information Transfer -- Sending Institution" form ("Sending Form"). (Mot. at 3; Resp. at 3; Compl. Ex. A; Request for Judicial Notice ("RJN") (Dkt. # 56-2) Ex. A ("Sending Form").) On the Sending Form, under "Medications Prescribed," Nurse Kettelhake wrote "See MAR," which the parties agree stands for Medication Administration Record. (Sending Form.) Nurse Kettelhake did not, however, list out on the Sending Form the specific medications Mr. Cardwell was taking at the time of his transfer. The parties dispute whether or not the Medication Administration Record, referenced in the Sending Form, was sent to High Desert, where Mr. Cardwell was transferred. (See Mot. at 3 ("There is no dispute that Plaintiff's medical records were sent to High Desert . . . ."); Resp. at 3 ("The Plaintiff's medical records were not received on transfer from [Mule Creek] . . . .").)*fn1 The Medical Administration Record for Mr. Cardwell listed his prescription for Gabapentin. (Compl. Ex J ("Medical Admin. Record").) The Sending Form sent by Mule Creek shows a reviewing signature at High Desert of "J. Camacho RN," with a date of "11/26/07" and time of "1530." (Sending Form.")

On Mr. Cardwell's arrival at High Desert on November 26, 2007, Form 7277, also known as the "Standardized BUS Screening Form," was filled out. (Mot. at 3; Resp. at 6; RJN Ex. B ("Bus Screening Form").) Although the name "J. Camacho, RN" also appears typed in the signature block at the bottom of the Standardized Bus Screening Form, the parties agree that it was Nurse T. Reshke who actually filled out and signed the form. (Mot. at 9; Resp. at 4.) Upon Mr. Cardwell's arrival at High Desert, he was not given his prescribed Gabapentin for his lower back pain. (See generally Resp.)

On November 27, 2007, Mr. Cardwell submitted a "Health Care Services Request Form" stating that he had not received his pain medications for his back disability and identifying Gabapentin and Tylenol as desired medications. (Resp. at 15; Dkt # 61 at 22 ("Health Care Services Request Form").) Then, on December 3, 2007, Nurse Miler and Nurse Unterreiner saw Mr. Cardwell saw Mr. Cardwell and administered him 800 milligrams of Motrin apparently for pain in Mr. Cardwell's right hand.*fn2 (See RJN Ex. C.)

Mr. Cardwell did not receive Gabapentin from either Nurse Miller or Nurse Unterreiner. (See generally id.; Mot.; Resp.)

On January 14, 2008, Doctor G.W. James saw Mr. Cardwell at High Desert in response to a grievance submitted by Mr. Cardwell. (Mot. at 4-5; Resp. at 5.) According to Doctor James' notes from that day, Dr. James examined Mr. Cardwell and found that Mr. Cardwell had recently had surgery on his hand, but that the hand was "well healed and patient can make a fist." (RJN Ex. D ("Dr. James' January Notes").) Nevertheless, Dr. James requested an orthopedic consultation for Mr. Cardwell's hand. (Id.) Dr. James also noted that Mr. Cardwell's gait was normal and without limp or evidence of pain. (Id.) With respect to Mr. Cardwell's back, Dr. James determined that Mr. Cardwell experienced "discomfort all along the lumbar spine when pressed on" and had a history of spinal disk disease. As a result, Dr. James requested a nerve conduction study of Mr. Cardwell's lower extremities. (Id.) Dr. James also prescribed "salsalate 500 milligrams t.i.d.," but declined to prescribe Gabapentin until after the nerve conduction study was completed.*fn3 (Id.)

Dr. James saw Mr. Cardwell again on February 14, 2008. (See RJN Ex. E ("Dr. James' February Notes").) In his notes from the examination, Dr. James stated that Mr. Cardwell had a history of lower back pain and that an orthopedic consultation was pending. Dr. James' examination revealed several areas of Mr. Cardwell's back where movement resulted in pain. Additionally, Dr. James noted that he did not have Mr. Cardwell's unit health record or date of birth. (Id.) Dr. James decided to "reorder" the Gabapentin at 600 milligrams nurse administered and also the "salicylate 500 mg one p.o. b.i.d. for back pain . . . ." (Id.) Dr. James requested a follow-up with Mr. Cardwell in 60 days so that Dr. James could review Mr. Cardwell's health records for previous nerve conduction studies and MRI scans. (Id.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is properly granted when no genuine and disputed issues of material fact remain, and when, viewing the evidence most favorably to the non-moving party, the movant is clearly entitled to prevail as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no material factual dispute. Id. at 323-25. Therefore, the court must regard as true the opposing party's evidence, if supported by affidavits or other evidentiary material. Id. at 324. The court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Intel Corp. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 952 F.2d 1551, 1558 (9th Cir. 1991). Material facts which would preclude entry of ...


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