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Jaimes v. Barnes

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 19, 2017

JUAN JAIMES, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. ROBERT J. BARNES, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANT BARNES' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BE GRANTED

         Plaintiff Juan Jaimes is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Currently before the Court is Defendant Dr. Barnes' motion for summary judgment, filed October 14, 2016.

         I.

         RELEVANT HISTORY

         This action is proceeding against Defendants Dr. Barnes and Neighbors for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.[1]

         Defendant Neighbors filed an answer to the complaint on September 15, 2015, and Defendant Barnes filed an answer to the complaint on September 21, 2015.

         On August 2, 2016, Defendants' exhaustion-related motions for summary judgment were granted in part and denied in part, and the action was determined to proceed against Defendants Dr. Barnes and Neighbors for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.[2]

         As previously stated, on October 14, 2016, Defendant Dr. Barnes filed a motion for summary judgment. Although Plaintiff requested and received two extensions of time to file an opposition, no opposition was filed and the time to do so has expired.[3] Accordingly, Dr. Barnes' motion for summary judgment is deemed submitted for review without oral argument. Local Rule 230(1).

         II.

         SUMMARY JUDGMENT 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 Mutual 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 School Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001); accord Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010).

         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). If Defendants meet their initial burden, the burden then shifts to Plaintiff “to designate specific facts demonstrating the existence of genuine issues for trial.” In re Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). This requires Plaintiff to “show more than the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence.” In re Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986)).

         However, 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 (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). The Court determines only whether there is a genuine issue for trial and in doing so, it must liberally construe Plaintiff's filings because he is a pro se prisoner. Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1150 (9th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citations 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 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 April 6, 2012, while at KVSP Facility B-yard, between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m., Plaintiff was playing basketball and jumping for the ball, he landed and was pinned between several other inmates. Approximately a minute later, Plaintiff felt his back crack/pop/snap causing sharp throbbing and excruciating pain. Plaintiff was not able to move or stand from the waist up. Although Plaintiff summoned medical assistance, he did not receive any assistance. Plaintiff heard Defendant Neighbors and another unidentified correctional officer say, “you need to get your ass up and walk to the clinic if you want to get checked out, because I am not going to be carrying your ass, you decide.” Plaintiff explained to Defendant Neighbors that he could not get up because his back snapped. Defendant Neighbors stated that he did not care because it was not his problem. Plaintiff observed two unknown inmates who witnessed the incident, and the two inmates carried and moved Plaintiff from where he was laying on his back to the clinic. While at the yard clinic, an unknown licensed vocational nurse (LVN) took Plaintiff's vitals and Plaintiff explained what happened. The LVN told Plaintiff that she was going to prepare the paperwork so that Plaintiff could be seen by a doctor at the Correctional Treatment Center (CTC) located within the facility. Shortly thereafter, Defendant Neighbors and an unknown officer went to Plaintiff's location and informed Plaintiff that he would have to be placed in shackles in order to transport him to CTC. Plaintiff stated that he could not get up or move at all. Defendant Neighbors again stated that Plaintiff would not be going anywhere until he was shackled, and Plaintiff was forced into shackles by Defendant Neighbors and an unknown officer.

         Plaintiff arrived at CTC by ambulance between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Upon arrival, Plaintiff was placed in an observation room and approximately twenty minutes later his vital signs were taken. Plaintiff informed the nurse that he could not move any part of his upper body and was experiencing excruciating pain.

         Between approximately 7:30 and 8:00 p.m., Defendant J. Barnes examined Plaintiff. Plaintiff explained that he injured his back and could not move due to the excruciating pain. Defendant Barnes told Plaintiff he looked fine. Shortly thereafter Plaintiff was taken to the x-ray room, and during the transport Defendant Barnes stated, “you guy[s] complain about everything, even when there [is] nothing wrong, you guys get better treatment then the people out here.” After the x-rays, Plaintiff was taken back to the observation room where he stood for hours at a table. Defendant Barnes returned to the room and told Plaintiff he was fine that it was just muscle back spasms. Plaintiff was discharged back to custody officer Defendant Neighbors without further treatment.

         Plaintiff requested that Defendant Neighbors get supervisor approval to cuff Plaintiff in front due to the pain in his back but his request was not accommodated. Plaintiff was escorted and placed in his cell where he laid on his back for five days, and he was forced to get from his bed and walk the stairs to shower and receive food. During the shower, there was no chair or bench to assist Plaintiff. Plaintiff had to endure this treatment from April 6, 2012, through April 17, 2012.

         B. Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Facts[4]

         1. On April 6, 2012, Plaintiff was playing basketball at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) when he fell and other inmates landed on top of him. (Dep. of Juan Jaimes (“Pl. Dep.”) at 9:5-9, 9:14-19; Levin Decl. at ¶ 6(a).)

         2. Plaintiff sustained injuries to his back from the accident. (Pl. Dep. at ...


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