United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT [DKT. NO. 43]
GONZALO P. CURIEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment submitted by
Defendant Ajmel Sangha, M.D. Dkt. No. 43. Plaintiff Jones has
not opposed Defendant's motion. Upon review of the moving
papers and the applicable law, the Court hereby GRANTS
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
September 3, 2013, the head nurse at Centinela State Prison
(CSP), K. Wyatt, attended to Plaintiff Jones. Def.'s
Exhibit 1, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 4; Ajmel Sangha, M.D. Decl., Dkt.
No. 43-5 at 2, ¶ 5. Jones informed Wyatt that he had
lost vision in his right eye and that he had undergone
cataract removal surgery on that same eye three months
earlier, on June 5, 2013. See Def.'s Exhibit 1,
Dkt. No. 43-4 at 4; Sangha Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 2, ¶
5. Wyatt referred Plaintiff to the optometry clinic.
Def.'s Exhibit 1, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 4. Plaintiff's
medical records indicate that Wyatt had arranged for Jones to
be seen in the clinic the following morning, on September 4,
2013. See id.; see also Sangha Decl., Dkt.
No. 43-5 at 2, ¶ 5. After completing the evaluation of
Plaintiff, Wyatt sent a Physician's Order to the office
of Defendant Ajmel Sangha, M.D., the Chief Medical Officer at
CSP, seeking approval for Plaintiff's optometry
appointment. See Sangha Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 2,
¶ 5. The Physician's Order was received by
Defendant's office on September 4, 2013, and at some time
thereafter, Defendant approved the Order. Id.
attending optometrist did not see Plaintiff on September 4,
2013. See Def.'s Exhibit 2, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 6.
The patient log for specialty visits kept by CSP indicates
that Jones was not scheduled for an optometry visit on
September 4, 2013. Id. The log also indicates that
none of the inmates with appointments to see an optometrist
on September 4, 2013 were seen as scheduled “because of
[the] Specialist.” Id.
saw Dr. Irene Pulido, an optometrist, on September 13, 2013.
Def.'s Exhibit 4, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 12; Sangha Decl., Dkt.
No. 43-5 at 3, ¶ 6. Dr. Pulido completed an
Ophthalmologic Examination form, which recorded her findings
and recommended a referral to ophthalmology for a second
opinion. Def.'s Exhibit 5, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 14; Sangha
Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 3, ¶ 6. The referral was
routine, meaning, Dr. Pulido intended for Plaintiff to be
seen by an ophthalmologist within ninety days. See
Sangha Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 3, ¶ 6. Another
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(CDCR) physician, not Defendant Sangha, approved
Plaintiff's referral to the ophthalmologist. Id.
two months later, on November 14, 2013, Defendant Sangha
signed a Physician's Order that approved an off-site
appointment for Plaintiff with Dr. Narendra Patel, an
ophthalmologist in El Centro. Id. at 4, ¶ 7;
see also Def.'s Exhibit 7, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 34.
Dr. Patel, the same doctor who had performed Plaintiff's
cataract removal surgery, diagnosed Plaintiff with retinal
detachment. Sangha Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 4, ¶ 7;
Def.'s Exhibit 9, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 34.
6:33pm that same day, Plaintiff arrived at the Hillcrest
Emergency Department of the UC San Diego Health System
(“UCSD”). Def.'s Exhibit 9, Dkt. No. 43-4 at
26. He was seen by a number of physicians and ultimately
diagnosed with retinal detachment by a Dr. Theodore Craig
Chan, an ophthalmologist. Id. at 26-31. Dr. Chan
indicated in his notes that there was no need for urgent
intervention as to Plaintiff's retinal detachment because
the condition had been present for two months and typically
detachments are repaired within 7 to 10 days of occurring.
Id. at 31. Dr. Chan requested that Plaintiff be seen
in the glaucoma clinic in 2-4 weeks and that he be seen by a
Dr. Aresh Mozayan on November 26, 2013 to plan for repair.
Id. Dr. Mozayan evaluated Plaintiff on November 25,
2013. See Sangha Decl., Dkt. No. 43-5 at 4, ¶
8; Def.'s Exhibit 10, Dkt. No. 43-5 at 39. Defendant Sangha
had approved Plaintiff's off-site visit via Physician
Order that same day. Def.'s Exhibit 11, Dkt. No. 43-4 at
November 26, 2013, Defendant Sangha signed yet another
Physician's Order approving Plaintiff's visit to an
ophthalmologist at UCSD, per the recommendation of the
previous consultation. Def.'s Exhibit 11, Dkt. No. 43-4
on December 12, 2013, Defendant Sangha signed a
Physician's Order approving Plaintiff to be seen by a
UCSD specialist who would perform a vitrectomy on
Plaintiff's right eye within a month. Def.'s Exhibit
12, Dkt. No. 43-4 at 45.
filed suit against Defendant Sangha, and two other
Defendants,  under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that
their deliberate indifference to his medical needs violated
the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and usual
punishment. FAC, Dkt. No. 6. On September 16, 2015, the Court
granted Defendant Sangha's motion to be dismissed in his
official capacity. Dkt. No. 19. The Court, however, denied
Sangha's motion to be dismissed in his personal capacity.
Id. About a year later, Defendant moved for summary
judgment, on October 20, 2016. Def.'s Summary Judgment
Motion (DMSJ), Dkt. No. 43-2. Defendant argues that there is
no triable issue that he was deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's serious medical need and that he is entitled
to qualified immunity. Id. Plaintiff has not opposed
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
of Civ. P. 56 empowers courts to enter summary judgment on
factually unsupported claims or defenses, and thereby
“secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination
of every action.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 325, 327 (1986). Summary judgment is
appropriate if the “pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of ...