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Tate v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

January 15, 2014



CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, District Judge.

Proceedings: (IN CHAMBERS): MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkt. #28, filed November 1, 2013)


Plaintiff Kenneth Tate filed this action in Los Angeles County Superior Court on January 27, 2012, against defendants Kaiser Foundation Hospitals ("Kaiser"), James Edsel Moore, M.D., Bryan Giao Ngo, M.D., Adelene Rose James, M.D., Haroutyan Keshishian Shamamian, M.D., five unknown officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, and Does 1 through 100. Dkt. #1. Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint ("FAC") on August 1, 2012. Id . The FAC asserts five claims for relief, as follows: (1) violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (2) violation of rights secured by the California Constitution, (3) violation of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act ("LPS Act"), Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 5100, et seq., (4) false imprisonment, and (5) medical negligence. Id . Defendants removed the action to this Court on October 22, 2012. Id . The remaining defendants in this action are Kaiser and Doctors Moore, Ngo, James, and Shamamian.

Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as to all claims on November 1, 2013. Dkt. #28. Plaintiff filed an opposition on December 20, 2013, dkt. #40, and defendants replied on January 8, 2014, dkt. #41. The Court held a hearing on January 13, 2014. At the hearing, the Court granted plaintiff leave to file a supplemental brief to address the applicability of Sturm v. El Camino Hospital, 2010 WL 725563, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2010), to the present case. Dkt. #50. Plaintiff filed a supplemental brief on January 13, 2014, dkt. #48, and defendants responded on January 14, 2014, dkt. #49. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.


The parties contest the facts underlying this action. Defendants assert the following facts, based on information contained in plaintiff's medical records.[1] Plaintiff was taken to the emergency room of the Kaiser hospital located at 4867 Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles County, at 11:57 pm on November 23, 2010, with an "altered level of consciousness." Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("SUMF") ¶ 1. According to the records, plaintiff was accompanied by paramedics and police, who noted "bizarre behavior and agitation" by plaintiff. Id . ¶ 2. The records state that plaintiff was verbally abusive to fire department and police department personnel who encountered him prior to bringing him to the emergency room. Id . ¶ 3. Plaintiff also made threats to Kaiser physicians and staff members. Id . ¶ 4.

The records further state that Bryan Ngo, M.D., evaluated plaintiff in the emergency room. Id . ¶ 5. The evaluation showed that plaintiff was hypertensive, and tests indicated possible marijuana use and an elevated blood alcohol level. Id . ¶¶ 6-9. Plaintiff was sedated using Haldol and Ativan. Id . ¶ 11. The records also state that Ngo ordered a lumbar puncture to rule out possible meningitis or encephalitis, and a "two physician consent" was obtained for the procedure, which was performed at 2:30 am on November 24, 2010.[2] Id . ¶¶ 11-12. The lumbar puncture results were negative. Id . ¶ 13. The records state that, thereafter, physicians at Kaiser conducted additional tests, but were unable to determine the cause of plaintiff's mental condition. Id . ¶¶ 15-20. Ilan Bernstein, M.D. spoke with plaintiff's mother on the morning of November 24, 2010, and she informed him that plaintiff had developed "pressured speech" approximately one week prior to plaintiff's arrival at Kaiser. Id . ¶ 21. Additionally, one of plaintiff's friends informed Dr. Bernstein that he encountered plaintiff on the night of November 23, 2010, and found plaintiff to be "agitated and combative." Id . ¶ 23. The records state that Dr. Bernstein admitted plaintiff for further evaluation and ordered a psychiatric consultation. Id . ¶ 25.

According to the records, Paul Hartman, M.D. attempted to perform a psychiatric consultation on the afternoon of November 24, 2010, but plaintiff was sedated and unable to be evaluated. Id . ¶¶ 26-27. The records state that Adelene James, M.D. performed a psychiatric consultation on November 25, 2010, and also spoke with plaintiff's father. Id . ¶ 28. Dr. James assessed plaintiff with "altered mental status, rule out bipolar disorder." Id . ¶ 29. Dr. James wrote an application to detain plaintiff for 72 hours pursuant to Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code § 5150. Id . ¶ 30. Plaintiff was transferred to Kaiser Mental Health Center, located at 765 West College Street, in Los Angeles County, and thereafter evaluated by Nathalie Maullin, M.D. on November 26, 2010. Id . ¶¶ 30-31. The records state that Dr. Maullin documented plaintiff's version of the events leading to his arrest and subsequent arrival at the Kaiser Sunset facility. Id . ¶¶ 31-33. Based on that evaluation, Dr. Maullin's diagnosis was "Axis I mood disorder not otherwise specified, rule out bipolar disorder type I, most recent episode manic, rule out substance induced mood disorder, cannabis and alcohol abuse." Id . ¶ 34. The records further state that Dr. Maullin determined that plaintiff met the criteria for a 72 hour hold under Cal. Welfare & Institutions Code § 5150. Id . ¶ 35. The records state that, during the hold, plaintiff attended group sessions and was counseled regarding bipolar disorder. Id . ¶ 36. Dr. Moore discharged plaintiff on November 28, 2010. Id . ¶ 39.[3] Additionally, Kent Shoji, M.D., and Thomas Garrick, M.D., state that they reviewed plaintiff's medical records and are of the opinion that the medical treatment provided to plaintiff was within the standard of care. Id . ¶¶ 43-44; 56-57.

Plaintiff submits a separate statement of material facts ("SSMF"), in which he disputes the version of events detailed in defendants' SUMF.[4] According to plaintiff, he was taken by force from his apartment on November 23, 2010, and was brought to the Kaiser facility on Sunset Boulevard. SSMF ¶ 2. Plaintiff states that he was "conscious, able to recognize [his] environment, able to communicate with others, able to understand what others were saying to [him], and in complete disagreement about the situation [he] found [himself] in, including the fact that [he] was physically restrained and being moved about with [his] consent and over [his] objection." Id . ¶ 2. According to plaintiff, he was not under the influence of marijuana or alcohol at the time that the police and firefighters arrived at his apartment. Id . ¶ 6. Additionally, plaintiff states that he "was never a physical threat to any staff member at Kaiser, " and was "always physically restrained." Id . ¶ 7. Plaintiff asserts that he was never informed that he would be sedated with Haldol and Ativan, and if asked, he would have refused the administration of those drugs. Id . ¶ 7.

Plaintiff states that a lumbar procedure was then performed without his consent, and if asked, he would have refused his consent. Id . ¶ 9. Plaintiff also states that he was not interviewed by Dr. James or Dr. Maullin. Id . ¶ 14. Additionally, plaintiff asserts that the records are inaccurate with regard to his account of the events leading up to his hospitalization.[5] Id . Finally, plaintiff asserts that he never received any documents explaining the basis for his detention, either at the Kaiser facility on Sunset Boulevard, or the Kaiser Mental Health Center on West College Street. Id . ¶¶ 9-10.


Summary judgment is appropriate where "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of identifying relevant portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a fact or facts necessary for one or more essential elements of each claim upon which the moving party seeks judgment. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

If the moving party meets its initial burden, the opposing party must then set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e). The nonmoving party must not simply rely on the pleadings and must do more than make "conclusory allegations [in] an affidavit." Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n , 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990); see also Celotex , 477 U.S. at 324. Summary judgment must be granted for the moving party if the nonmoving party "fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to ...

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