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Neely v. D. Ruffin

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 6, 2017

CHARLES ALBERT NEELY, Plaintiff,
v.
D. RUFFIN, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BE GRANTED [ECF NO. 28]

         Plaintiff Charles Albert Neely is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Plaintiff consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge on February 17, 2015. Defendant has not consented or declined to United States Magistrate Judge jurisdiction; therefore, this action was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302.

         I. RELEVANT HISTORY

         This action is proceeding against Defendant D. Ruffin for use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         On May 12, 2016, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint for failure to state a cognizable claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). On September 2, 2016, the undersigned recommended that Defendant's motion to dismiss be denied. The Findings and Recommendations were adopted in full on October 11, 2016, and Defendant's motion to dismiss was denied.

         On November 11, 2016, Defendant filed an answer to the complaint, as well as a motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 27, 28.) Plaintiff filed an opposition on November 23, 2016, and Defendant filed a reply on November 30, 2016. Pursuant to Local Rule 230(1), the motion is deemed submitted for review without oral argument.

         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) (quotation marks omitted); Washington Mut. Inc. v. U.S., 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) (quotation marks omitted). 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); accord Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010).

         In resolving cross-motions for summary judgment, the Court must consider each party's evidence. Johnson v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., 658 F.3d 954, 960 (9th Cir. 2011). 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. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010).

         In judging the evidence at the summary judgment stage, the Court does not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence, Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984 (quotation marks and citation omitted), and it must draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and determine whether a genuine issue of material fact precludes entry of judgment, Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, 657 F.3d 936, 942 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         In arriving at this recommendation, the Court has carefully reviewed and considered all arguments, points and authorities, declarations, exhibits, statements of undisputed facts and responses thereto, if any, objections, and other papers filed by the parties. Omission of reference to an argument, document, paper, or objection is not to be construed to the effect that this Court did not consider the argument, document, paper, or objection. This Court thoroughly reviewed and considered the evidence it deemed admissible, material, and appropriate.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint

         On July 16, 2014, Defendant D. Ruffin invited Plaintiff in to his office to discuss a scheduling conflict. Defendant became physically and verbally agitated by pushing an office chair abruptly out of the way to then aggressively charging Plaintiff. While Defendant was screaming expletives and threats to include “I ought to beat your ass and teach you a lesson in respect, ” Plaintiff then attempted to leave the office. Defendant told Plaintiff “no, ” and grabbed him from behind. Defendant then said “what you are going to do is get your fucking ass against the wall and don't fucking move.” At which time Defendant, who was holding Plaintiff from behind, pushed Plaintiff out of the door and across the hall onto the wall. Defendant continued to scream expletives and called for back-up. Defendant cuffed Plaintiff and ordered him to “the hole” to cool off for a couple of hours. Plaintiff never resisted and complied with every order and did not need to cool off.

         B. Statement of Undisputed Facts[1]

         1. At all times relevant to this suit, Charles Albert Neely (CDC No. AE6507) was an inmate in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Taft Modified Community Correctional Facility (TMCCF) in Taft, California. (Second Amended Complaint (SAC) at 1, 3-4.) Defendant Ruffin was a ...


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