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William Young v. S. Herrmann

February 4, 2013

WILLIAM YOUNG SUTHERLAND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
S. HERRMANN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that on March 3, 2008, the defendant correctional officers violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment by placing him in wrist restraints that were too tight and failing to adjust those restraints over a five hour period while they transported from California State Prison-Sacramento ("CSP-Sacramento") to University of California Davis Medical Center ("U.C. Davis Medical Center") for treatment.

Pending before the court is the motion of defendants Spinks and Parmar for summary judgment in their favor filed on April 25, 2012 (Doc. No. 95).*fn1 Therein, defendants Spinks and Parmar contend that they are entitled to summary judgment because they were not in the van in which the events that gave rise to this civil action occurred and were unaware of any complaints by plaintiff about his handcuffing. Defendants Spinks and Parmar argue that they are entitled to summary judgment in their favor on the merits of plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim and, alternatively, on the grounds of qualified immunity from liability. Plaintiff has opposed the motion (Doc. No. 100). By order filed August 14, 2012 (Doc. No. 102), plaintiff was provided with the notice required by Woods v. Carey, 684 F.3d 934 (9th Cir. 2012), Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc), and Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988) with respect to the opposing of such motions, and was granted an opportunity to file a supplemental opposition to defendants' pending motion. Plaintiff has not filed a supplemental opposition.

ANALYSIS

I. Legal Standards Applicable to a Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 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).

As referred to above, both on October 1, 2009 and again on August 14, 2012, 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); Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988).

II. Discussion

A. Facts

1. Undisputed Facts

At all times relevant to this action, plaintiff was an inmate housed at CSP-Sacramento. (Defs' Statement of Undisputed Facts In Support of Mot. for Summ. J. (DUF), filed April 25, 2012 (Doc. No. 95), at ¶¶ 1-2.) On March 3, 2008, plaintiff was transported to and from U.C. Davis Medical Center for an appointment. (Doc. No. 95 at ¶ 6.) All four defendants in this action were present during the transport. Id. at ¶ 7. The moving defendants, defendants Spinks and Parmar, are female. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Defendants Hermann and Scicluna are male. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Defendants Hermann and Scicluna rode in the transportation van in which ...


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