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McCoy v. Tann

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 19, 2015

AARON McCOY, Plaintiff,
v.
M. TANN, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO: (1) GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART DEFENDANT JAMES, JONES, AND PAZ'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 57); AND (2) GRANT DEFENDANT JIMENEZ'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF No. 60) FOURTEEN (14) DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE

MICHAEL J. SENG, Magistrate Judge.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. (ECF No. 1 & 6.) This matter proceeds against Defendants James, Jones, Paz, and Jimenez on Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment. (ECF No. 20.)

On January 10, 2014, Defendants James, Jones, and Paz filed a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 57.) On January 23, 2014, Defendant Jimenez filed a separate motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 60.) Plaintiff was granted leave to conduct additional discovery and an extension of time to file his opposition. (ECF No. 78.) Plaintiff filed his opposition on October 17, 2014 (ECF No. 79), and Defendants filed replies (ECF Nos. 80, 81). These matters are deemed submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230( l ).

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).

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. Secs. Litig., 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, and it must draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, 657 F.3d 936, 942 (9th Cir. 2011).

III. FACTUAL SUMMARY

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff is incarcerated at Kern Valley State Prison, but complains of acts that occurred in the Administrative Segregation Unit ("Ad-Seg") at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("CSATF") in Corcoran, California. His allegations may be summarized in relevant part as follows:

On June 9, 2010, Plaintiff was one of several inmates in Ad-Seg who covered up his cell windows to protest the treatment of inmates in his housing facility and to attract the Warden's attention to the inmates' grievances. Plaintiff spoke with the Warden and with Defendant James, and agreed to leave his cell provided he was restrained with waist chains and not handcuffed behind his back due to a medical condition.

Several hours later, Defendants James, Jones, Paz, and Jimenez arrived to carry out the cell extraction. Plaintiff was ordered to strip and to cuff up. Plaintiff again advised Defendants he needed waist chains to comply. Defendant Jones then used a particularly strong form of pepper spray against Plaintiff. Plaintiff experienced burning pain. He was required to go through a strip search and was not permitted to put on boxer shorts after the search. Plaintiff was handcuffed behind his back despite his medical condition and was removed naked from his cell.

Defendant Paz took Plaintiff to the shower and allowed Plaintiff to shower for four seconds. Plaintiff was taken to an outside cage where he remained naked and handcuffed behind his back for several hours. Defendant Jones saw Plaintiff outside. Plaintiff complained to him of pain, but Jones refused to remove Plaintiff's handcuffs. Plaintiff eventually was uncuffed, given boxer shorts, and returned to administrative segregation.

Plaintiff's claims for cruel and unusual punishment are based on the allegation that Defendants failed to adequately decontaminate him following the application of pepper spray.

B. Undisputed Facts

The Court finds, based on the submissions of the parties, that the following relevant facts are undisputed.

On June 9, 2010, Plaintiff was one of several inmates in Ad-Seg who covered up cell windows. The Associate Warden instructed Defendant James to initiate tactical cell extraction of the inmates. Defendants James, Jones, Paz, and Jimenez participated in the cell extraction.

Defendant James approached Plaintiff's cell and gave him a cell extraction admonishment. Plaintiff refused to comply.[1] Defendant James then instructed Defendant Jones to administer a single burst of pepper spray into Plaintiff's cell through the food port. There is a dispute as to whether Plaintiff attempted to comply following the first burst of pepper spray. Regardless, Defendant James instructed Defendant Jones to administer a second burst of pepper spray. This burst hit Plaintiff in the groin.

Following the second burst of pepper spray, Plaintiff uncovered his windows, was searched and handcuffed, and was removed naked from his cell. Plaintiff was taken by an escort team, including Defendant Paz, to a shower. Plaintiff was placed under the shower for approximately four seconds. He then was taken to an outdoor management cell. While in the outdoor management cell, he complained to medical staff of burning pain in his groin.

Defendant James did not see or communicate with Plaintiff after he was removed to the outdoor cell. Defendant Paz escorted Plaintiff to the outdoor cell. Defendant Jones spoke with Plaintiff while he was in the outdoor ...


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