United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS THAT (1) PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL BE DENIED,
& (2) DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BE GRANTED (ECF NOS. 39, 48) OBJECTIONS DUE IN FOURTEEN DAYS
MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Arthur Luna is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed November 9, 2010 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter proceeds on the Second Amended Complaint's claim of medical indifference by Defendant Dr. Ugwueze M.D.
Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on December 2, 2013. Plaintiff filed opposition to the motion on March 3, 2014. Defendant replied to the opposition on March 10, 2014, objecting and moving to strike portions of Plaintiff's declaration in opposition and Second Amended Complaint. The matter is deemed submitted for ruling. Local Rule 230( l ).
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff claims Defendant, a physician at the California Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility - Corcoran California ("CSATF"), denied and delayed treatment ordered by an orthopedic specialist for his injured shoulder.
Specifically, Plaintiff claims that he re-injured his surgically repaired shoulder in a May 16, 2009 fall. On June 1, 2009, his orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Smith, ordered morphine for pain and an MRI of the shoulder. Plaintiff claims Defendant discontinued the morphine in favor of another pain medication and delayed the MRI for three months. Additionally, Defendant told Plaintiff there was nothing wrong with the shoulder and that a budget crisis required all medications and surgeries be cut.
Plaintiff seeks monetary compensation along with an order that he receive proper medical care.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Any party may move for summary judgment, and the Court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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); Wash. Mut. Inc. v. United States, 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Each party's position, whether it be that a fact is disputed or undisputed, must be supported by (1) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including but not limited to depositions, documents, declarations, or discovery; or (2) showing that the materials cited do not establish the presence or absence of a genuine dispute or that the opposing party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The Court may consider other materials in the record not cited to by the parties, but it is not required to do so. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3); Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001).
Plaintiff bears the burden of proof at trial, and to prevail on summary judgment, he must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for him. Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). Defendants do not bear the burden of proof at trial and, in moving for summary judgment, they need only prove an absence of evidence to support Plaintiff's case. In re Oracle Corp. Securities Litigation, 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010).
In judging the evidence at the summary judgment stage, the Court may not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence. Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. It must draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and determine if a genuine issue of material fact precludes judgment. Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, 657 F.3d 936, 942 (9th Cir. 2011).
A. Summary of Defendant's Argument
Defendant argues that he did not deny, and could not have denied, Plaintiff medication and treatment in 2009 as alleged because Defendant did not begin his employment at that facility until January 2010.
Defendant also argues that his care for Plaintiff during 2010 was medically appropriate. He examined Plaintiff on six different occasions, the first being January 14, 2010. Defendant progressively increased Plaintiff's pain medication and provided orthopedic referrals back to Dr. Smith who performed further surgery on Plaintiff's shoulder on March 2, 2010. Defendant also provided Plaintiff with a post-surgical accommodation chrono to limit use of the injured shoulder.
Defendant did not see or treat Plaintiff after December 2010.
Defendant maintains that he is, in any event, entitled to qualified immunity for the ...