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Sandigo v. Sayre

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 23, 2015

MICHAEL C. SAYRE, et al., Defendants.


WILLIAM H. ORRICK, District Judge.


Plaintiff Daniel Sandigo claims that medical staff at Pelican Bay State Prison provided constitutionally inadequate post-surgical medical care for his shoulder in violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Having provided Sandigo with the required warnings under Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 962-63 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc), defendants move for summary judgment. (Docket No. 37.) The evidence necessary to establish deliberate indifference to serious medical needs is quite substantial. Sandigo has not offered any evidence that would constitute a material disputed fact to show deliberate indifference. Accordingly, defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.


Summary judgment is proper where the pleadings, discovery and affidavits demonstrate that there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [that] the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Material facts are those which may affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery and affidavits which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, it must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party. On an issue for which the opposing party by contrast will have the burden of proof at trial, as is the case here, the moving party need only point out "that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.

Once the moving party meets its initial burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by its own affidavits or discovery, set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The Court is concerned only with disputes over material facts and "[f]actual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. It is not the task of the court to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact. Keenan v. Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996). The nonmoving party has the burden of identifying, with reasonable particularity, the evidence that precludes summary judgment. Id. If the nonmoving party fails to make this showing, "the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (internal quotations omitted).


Sandigo moves to deny (or stay) summary judgment so that he can obtain "documentation and necessary information, " including a copy of his complete medical file. (Docket No. 47 at 1.) Nothing in the record or in Sandigo's arguments warrants staying the action. Sandigo has had at least two prior opportunities to obtain the discovery he seeks. In April 2014, four months before defendants filed their motion for summary judgment, prison officials informed Sandigo he could obtain a copy of his complete medical record, but he never complied with the necessary procedures to complete discovery. Then I gave him a second chance when I denied his motion to compel, but neither he nor defendants sought to set a time to review the file and to resolve the remaining discovery disputes. (Docket No. 46.) While I blame defendants more than Sandigo for this failure, he could and should have sought to meet and confer as directed by the Court's Order. Critically, having reviewed the evidence provided with the parties' submissions on this motion for summary judgment, there is no reason to believe that the additional discovery sought by Sandigo would help him. His own admissions and the evidence he submitted in opposition to this motion show no genuine dispute as to any material fact. He provides only speculation, not persuasive reasons, that further discovery will help. Accordingly, Sandigo's motion to deny or stay is DENIED.

Sandigo moves for sanctions (Docket No. 48) because defendants did not meet and confer with him in accordance with the Court's order denying his motion to compel discovery. ( See Docket No. 46.) Each party asserts that the other failed to initiate contact regarding the Court's order. Because it appears that each party is at fault, issuing sanctions is not appropriate, and Sandigo's motion is DENIED. Sandigo's motion to strike defendants' opposition to his motion for sanctions, and for a hearing (Docket No. 56), are DENIED as moot.

Sandigo's motion to extend time to file his opposition (Docket No. 49) is GRANTED, even though the Court previously stated that time would not be extended ( see Docket No. 46). The parties failed to meet and confer as directed by the Court, thereby depriving the parties of an opportunity to resolve their discovery disputes. To make up for this lost opportunity, and in the interests of due process, the Court reviewed the opposition and considers it part of the record.


In his complaint, Sandigo alleges that Gregory Lewis, the former warden of Pelican Bay, M.A. Cook, the former Associate Warden of Health Care Operations, Michael Sayre, Chief Medical Officer at Pelican Bay, and Nancy Adam, a doctor at Pelican Bay, improperly denied him access to physical therapy ("PT") after arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, resulting in continued pain and an impaired shoulder.

The following factual allegations are undisputed unless specifically noted otherwise. On May 26, 2009, Dr. Gregory Duncan, an orthopedic surgeon who works as an independent contractor for Pelican Bay, performed arthroscopic surgery on Sandigo's left shoulder. (Mot. for Summ. J. ("MSJ"), Ex. A at 4.) The reason for the surgery was to treat a torn rotator cuff and to remove bone spurs. ( Id. ) Sandigo asserts that Duncan told him that post-surgery rehabilitation process would last ...

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