United States District Court, E.D. California
F.L. ODINSON CROWELL, Plaintiff
E. BEELER, Defendant
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
(DOC. NO. 38)
a failure to provide reasonable accommodation case brought by
Plaintiff F.L. Odinson Crowell (“Crowell”), a
prisoner at the California Substance Abuse and Treatment
Facility in Corcoran, against Defendant E. Beeler
(“Beeler”), a correctional sergeant. Crowell
alleges that he was denied reasonable accommodation for
paruresis (aka bashful bladder syndrome), in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the
Rehabilitation Act. Beeler now moves for summary judgment on
Crowell's claim against her. For the reasons that follow,
the motion will be granted.
judgment is proper when it is demonstrated that there exists
no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co.,
398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Fortyune v. American
Multi-Cinema, Inc., 364 F.3d 1075, 1080 (9th Cir. 2004).
The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden
of informing the court of the basis for its motion and of
identifying the portions of the declarations (if any),
pleadings, and discovery that demonstrate an absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986); Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509
F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). A fact is
“material” if it might affect the outcome of the
suit under the governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); United
States v. Kapp, 564 F.3d 1103, 1114 (9th Cir. 2009). A
dispute is “genuine” as to a material fact if
there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return
a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248; Freecycle Sunnyvale v. Freecycle
Network, 626 F.3d 509, 514 (9th Cir. 2010).
the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at
trial, the movant must affirmatively demonstrate that no
reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the
movant. Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. Where the
non-moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at
trial, the movant may prevail by presenting evidence that
negates an essential element of the non-moving party's
claim or by merely pointing out that there is an absence of
evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving
party's claim. See James River Ins. Co. v. Herbert
Schenk, P.C., 523 F.3d 915, 923 (9th Cir. 2008);
Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984. If a moving party fails
to carry its burden of production, then “the non-moving
party has no obligation to produce anything, even if the
non-moving party would have the ultimate burden of
persuasion.” Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v.
Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1105-06 (9th Cir. 2000). If
the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine
issue as to any material fact actually exists. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103.
The opposing party cannot “‘rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of [its] pleading' but must
instead produce evidence that ‘sets forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Estate of Tucker v. Interscope
Records, 515 F.3d 1019, 1030 (9th Cir. 2008).
opposing party's evidence is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences that may be drawn from the facts
placed before the court must be drawn in favor of the
opposing party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587; Narayan v. EGL,
Inc., 616 F.3d 895, 899 (9th Cir. 2010). While a
“justifiable inference” need not be the most
likely or the most persuasive inference, a "justifiable
inference" must still be rational or reasonable. See
Narayan, 616 F.3d at 899. Summary judgment may not be
granted “where divergent ultimate inferences may
reasonably be drawn from the undisputed facts.”
Fresno Motors, LLC v. Mercedes Benz USA, LLC, 771
F.3d 1119, 1125 (9th Cir. 2015); see also Holly D. v.
Cal. Inst. of Tech., 339 F.3d 1158, 1175 (9th Cir.
2003). Inferences are not drawn out of the air, and it is the
opposing party's obligation to produce a factual
predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See
Fitzgerald v. El Dorado Cnty., 94 F.Supp.3d 1155, 1163
(E.D. Cal. 2015); Sanders v. City of Fresno, 551
F.Supp.2d 1149, 1163 (E.D. Cal. 2008). “A genuine issue
of material fact does not spring into being simply because a
litigant claims that one exists or promises to produce
admissible evidence at trial.” Del Carmen Guadalupe
v. Agosto, 299 F.3d 15, 23 (1st Cir. 2002); see
Bryant v. Adventist Health System/West, 289 F.3d 1162,
1167 (9th Cir. 2002). The parties have the obligation to
particularly identify material facts, and the court is not
required to scour the record in search of a genuine disputed
material fact. Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., 609 F.3d
1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010). Further, a “motion for
summary judgment may not be defeated . . . by evidence that
is ‘merely colorable' or ‘is not
significantly probative.'” Anderson, 477
U.S. at 249-50; Hardage v. CBS Broad. Inc., 427 F.3d
1177, 1183 (9th Cir. 2006). If the nonmoving party fails to
produce evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of
material fact, the moving party is entitled to summary
judgment. Nissan Fire, 210 F.3d at 1103.
is an inmate of the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and at all times relevant
to this litigation, was housed at the California Substance
Abuse and Treatment Facility (“CSATF”) in
Corcoran, California. DSUF 1. Crowell states that he has
suffered from paruresis his entire life. Crowell Dec. at 2.
Crowell further states that he is not able to urinate in
front of others and needs to be in a private area away from
others in order to urinate. Id. Crowell has never
been physically evaluated or diagnosed with paruresis by any
medically trained and licensed professional. DSUF 5. Crowell
admits this fact, but claims he has been denied any type of
evaluation by either Dr. Kokor, his primary care provider in
prison, or Mr. Horowitz, a clinical social worker at the
prison. PRDSUF 5; Crowell Dec. at 19.
has been diagnosed with, and currently receives medical
treatment for, an enlarged prostate. DSUF 6. Crowell's
enlarged prostate has been successfully managed for a lengthy
period of time by the prescription drug Terazosin. DSUF 7.
Crowell also maintains that he has managed his enlarged
prostate by his own diligent efforts to take care of his
health and by taking additional supplements. PRDSUF 7.
Crowell has spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars to
treat his enlarged prostate. Crowell Dec. at 22. Crowell has
been taking Saw Palmetto for years to alleviate the symptoms
of his enlarged prostate. Id. Crowell states that he
has “been prescribed Terazosin since May 8, 2009, for
my enlarged prostrate which inhibits free urine flow and
bladder function.” Crowell Dec. at 3.
is no record, document, or notation contained within
Crowell's CDCR medical records supporting the contention
that Crowell requires a medical accommodation in the form of
an alternative drug testing method in lieu of the standard
urinalysis testing method. DSUF 9. Crowell admits this fact,
but claims this is only because his request for an
accommodation has been ignored. PRDSUF 9.
January 18, 2014, Beeler was informed by Officer H. Perez
that Crowell had verbally requested an accommodation for the
standard urine sample collection procedure due to an alleged
medical disability. DSUF 10. Crowell informed custody staff
that he had an enlarged prostate and paruresis. Crowell Dec.
at 4. The specific accommodation Crowell asked for was to
provide his sample outside the presence of others.
Id. Beeler directed that Crowell provide a urine
sample in the standard manner provided by the CDCR Department
Operations Manual. DSUF 17. Beeler told Crowell that:
“If you don't do this it's the same as a dirty
test. You will be written up, placed on C status when
you're found guilty and you will lose your
privileges.” Crowell Dec. at 8. Thereafter, Crowell
provided his urine sample within approximately seventy
minutes, which was within the three-hour time limit allotted
for a sample's timely submission. DSUF 18. Crowell
maintains that while he was able to provide the sample, he
was able to do so only after undergoing excruciating pain,
and that the pain lasted for several weeks after January 18,
2014. PRDSUF 18; Crowell Dec. at 11.
member of CSATF custody staff, Beeler is not permitted to
review an inmate's CDCR medical records. DSUF 14. Aside
from basic First Responder training, Beeler possesses no
medical training and is unable to diagnose any medical
disability that an inmate may suffer from, or prescribe
medical accommodations that an inmate may require. DSUF 15.
maintains that in response to Crowell's request, she
reviewed the documents in her possession provided by CSATF
medical personnel, which memorialize which CSATF inmates
require an accommodation to perform their various life tasks.
DUSF 11. Beeler further maintains that she reviewed whether
Crowell had been provided or prescribed any medical
accommodation by CSATF medical personnel in regards to his
providing a drug-testing sample, and that the documents she
reviewed on January 18, 2014 indicated that, as of that date,
Crowell had not been prescribed or given any such
accommodation which would permit her to allow Crowell to
either (1) provide a urine sample which deviated from the
requirement that the collecting staff member directly observe
the flow of urine from Crowell's body into the collection
bottle; or (2) provide a hair or blood sample instead of a
urine sample. DSUF 12-13. Crowell maintains that Beeler did
not review any documents prior to denying his request for a
reasonable accommodation, asserting that while he was talking
to Beeler, she did not leave to call medical, nor did he
observe her reviewing any documents about his
condition. Crowell Dec. at 12; PRDSUF 12-13.
the urine test on January 18, 2014, Crowell attempted to
discuss paruresis with Dr. Kokor. Crowell Dec. at 15. Dr.
Kokor is a physician and surgeon licensed to practice
medicine in California, and employed by the CDCR. Kokor Dec.
at 1. Dr. Kokor has served as Crowell's primary care
provider from Crowell's arrival at CSATF on June 24, 2013
through the present. Id. Dr. Kokor has reviewed
Crowell's medical records from January 2008 through March
24, 2016. Id. at 2. Based on this review, Dr. Kokor
confirms that Crowell's medical records do not indicate
any diagnosis of paruresis. Id. at 5. Further, based
on Dr. Kokor's review of Crowell's medical records,
Dr. Kokor's interactions with and treatment of Crowell as
his primary care provider, and Dr. Kokor's medical
training and experience, it is Dr. Kokor's medical
opinion that Crowell: “does not suffer from and has not
been diagnosed by any CDCR medical professional as suffering
from paruresis . . . .” Id. at 6. Further, Dr.
Kokor stated that it is his medical opinion that:
“Crowell's enlarged prostate does not hinder,
inhibit, or in any [way] prevent him from providing a urine
sample, upon request, within the three hour period provided
by Section 52010.20 of the CDCR Department Operations Manual,
and he did not and does not require a medical accommodation
in the form of an alternative drug-testing method in lieu of
the standard urinalysis testing method . . . .”
Id. at 6.
appealed to the Reasonable Accommodation Panel
(“Panel”) within CSATF, requesting to be allowed
to provide a blood test instead of a urine test. Crowell
Dec., Ex. A. The matter was reviewed by the Panel on December
10, 2014. The Panel consists of the ADA Coordinator, the
Appeals Coordinator, the Health Care Appeals Coordinator, and
the Chief Medical Officer (clinician). Id.
“The [Panel] determined that [Crowell's] request
for an accommodation to provide a blood test instead of a
urine test for random drug testing was not medically
necessary. Pursuant to Dr. Enenmoh, Chief Physician and
Surgeon, [Crowell's] current medical condition does not
prevent him from being able to produce urine for random drug
then submitted a second-level appeal to CSATF, but because
Crowell “provided no information or evidence at the
Second Level of Review to modify the findings of the [Panel],
” the appeal was denied. Id. Crowell finally
submitted a third-level appeal to the Director of CSATF.
Id. The Appeals Examiner reviewed the Panel's
findings and noted that Crowell “provided no
information or evidence, which would warrant a modification
to the institution's decision.” Id.
Crowell's third-level appeal was denied on April 27,
November 3, 2014, Crowell filed a complaint against Beeler in
both her individual and official capacities, alleging one
cause of action for failure to provide reasonable
accommodation under both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.
Crowell seeks injunctive relief in the form of a reasonable
accommodation (preferably in the form of a blood test for
drug testing), costs of suit, and reasonable attorneys'
fees and costs.
argues, inter alia, that Crowell's ADA failure
to accommodate claim fails because he is not disabled.
Crowell has not been diagnosed with paruresis, nor is there
any evidence from a medical professional that Crowell
requires any accommodation as an alternative to the standard
urinalysis drug testing method. While Crowell has been
diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, this condition does not
prohibit Crowell from providing a urine sample upon request
and within a three-hour time period. Beeler argues that
Crowell admits that he never sought any medical treatment for
paruresis until after January 18, 2014, which is the date
upon which his claim against Beeler is founded. Additionally,
Beeler argues that Crowell's claim for injunctive relief
against her in her individual capacity is not legally viable,
because the ADA bars such relief.