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Baptiste v. Dunn

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 19, 2014

KENNETH E. BAPTISTE, Plaintiff,
v.
G. DUNN, et al., Defendants.

ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

CAROLYN K. DELANEY, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is California prisoner proceeding pro se with an action for violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The remaining defendants, Simpson, Felker, Leo and Hopson, have filed a motion for summary judgment, as has plaintiff. ECF Nos. 95 and 103. This action is proceeding on plaintiff's amended complaint which was filed October 24, 2011. ECF No. 46.

I. Remaining Claims

Plaintiff's amended complaint concerns the adequacy of dental care he received while housed at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). Many of plaintiff's claims and the defendants identified in plaintiff's amended complaint were dismissed on March 30, 2013 pursuant to a motion to dismiss. ECF No. 83. The claims which survived are as follows:

1. A claim against defendant C. Hopson, DDS, for cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment based upon denial of adequate dental care. At HDSP, defendant Hopson was responsible for plaintiff's dental care from July 27, 2006 to January 7, 2007. ECF No. 46 at 4. Plaintiff alleges that Hopson denied plaintiff's request for treatment of a gum infection, telling him that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) does not provide funds for treatment of oral infections and that plaintiff's only option was "full mouth tooth extractions." Id.

2. A claim against defendant D. Simpson, DDS, for cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment based upon denial of adequate dental care. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Simpson was responsible for plaintiff's dental care from June 27, 2007 until April 20, 2008. ECF No. 46 at 4. Plaintiff alleges that Simpson recognized that plaintiff had a gum infection and, per prison policy, indicated that treatment would consist of tooth extractions rather than providing plaintiff with access to a specialist because it was easier to simply extract. Id.

3. A claim for injunctive relief against defendants R.J. Leo, the Chief Dental Director at HDSP, and T. Felker, the Warden at HDSP, seeking examination by an "independent specialist" and treatment for gum infection.

II. Motions To Strike

Defendants filed a motion to strike certain evidence presented by plaintiff with his opposition to defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 107) and a separate motion to strike evidence presented by plaintiff with his motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 103).[1] Defendants' motions to strike are granted in that the court does not consider any opinion rendered by plaintiff as to how any injury or disease concerning his teeth should have been treated because plaintiff is not a qualified expert witness concerning treatment of dental injuries or diseases. See Fed.R.Evid. 701 et seq. The motion is also granted with respect to plaintiff's Exhibit E, which consists of letters sent to various parties by plaintiff concerning the condition of his teeth and responses thereto. ECF No. 103 at 50. These materials constitute inadmissible hearsay. See Fed.R.Evid. 801 et seq. In all other respects, except as otherwise addressed below, defendants' motions to strike are denied as the evidence identified does not affect the court's conclusion that defendants' motion for summary judgment should be granted and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment should be denied.

III. Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment

A. Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when it is demonstrated that 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). A party asserting that a fact cannot be disputed must support the assertion by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials..." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A).

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 Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Id.

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 their 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 or show that the materials cited by the movant do not establish the absence of a genuine dispute. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); 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. ...


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