United States District Court, E.D. California
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WILLIAM B. SHUBB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Knolts Hutchinson filed this action against defendants
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
(“CDCR”), Warden Rackley, Warden Duffy, Associate
Warden Kaplan, and Facilities Sergeant Romero, for violations
of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”),
the Rehabilitation Act, the California Disabled Person Act
(“CDPA”), the Unruh Civil Rights Act
(“Unruh Act”), and deliberate indifference in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. Pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 56, defendants now move for summary
judgment against plaintiff. (Docket No. 39.) I. Factual and
Procedural Background Plaintiff is a paraplegic inmate
incarcerated by the CDCR. He is paralyzed from the chest
downwards, lacks bowel and bladder control, and requires the
use of a wheelchair.
March 2013, plaintiff filed a lawsuit in federal court
against the CDCR and several employees, alleging he had been
injured at the California Medical Facility
(“CMF”) because he was provided with a locker
that did not comply with the ADA. That case was voluntarily
dismissed on November 14, 2016. See Hutchinson v. Cal.
Dep't of Corr. & Rehab., Civ. No. 2:16-00620 MCE
AC (E.D. Cal.).
October 27, 2013, plaintiff was transferred from the CMF to
the California Health Care Facility (“CHCF”).
CHCF houses and treats inmates who require a higher level of
care due to disability. Duffy was the CMF Acting Warden from
2012 to August 25, 2014, and was the CHCF Acting Warden from
August 25, 2014, to April 23, 2015. (Defs.' Statement of
Undisputed Facts, Ex. C (“Duffy Decl.”)
¶¶ 2-3 (Docket No. 39-2).) Rackley was the CHCF
Warden prior to August 25, 2014. (Id., Ex. D
(“Rackley Decl.”) ¶ 2.)
November 4, 2013, plaintiff filed a request for an adjustable
trapeze bar that would allow him to transfer from his bed to
his wheelchair by himself, similar to the one he had in the
(Id., Ex. H (“Trapeze Bar Request”).) On
November 25, 2013, and prior to his First Level of Review for
this request, plaintiff received a trapeze bar.
(Id., Ex. I (“First Level Appeal”).)
Romero and Kaplan subsequently granted plaintiff's
trapeze bar request at the First Level of Review based on
plaintiff's representation that “[t]he issue had
been resolved” and based on their understanding that
plaintiff was receiving assistance from medical staff when
transferring from his bed to his wheelchair and could also
transfer without assistance. (Id.) In March 2015,
plaintiff received a different trapeze bar that was
adjustable and moveable. (Hutchinson Dep. 96:15-97:4 (Docket
November 10, 2013, plaintiff filed a request for a rolling
commode chair. (Defs.' Statement of Undisputed Facts, Ex.
J (“Rolling Commode Request”).) He wanted the
chair, in part, so he could defecate in the shower.
(Id., Ex. L (“Dr. Williams Decl.”)
¶ 8.) On review, Romero denied plaintiff's request
for a rolling commode chair because he could transfer himself
from the toilet to the shower, assistance from medical staff
was available, and medical staff determined it was not safe
or medically necessary. (Id., Ex. F (“Romero
Decl.”) ¶¶ 11-13.) Plaintiff instead received
a stationary commode chair and shower chair. (Id.)
Dr. Williams reviewed Romero's decision and reaffirmed
that the rolling commode chair was not safe and did not
provide better accommodation than the stationary commode
chair. (Dr. Williams Decl. ¶ 8.)
brought this suit and alleges the following causes of action:
(1) violation of Title II of the ADA (“Title
II”); (2) retaliation in violation of Title V of the
ADA; (3) violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
(“Section 504”); (4) violation of the CDPA; (5)
violation of the Unruh Act; and (5) deliberate indifference
to plaintiff's medical needs in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. (Second Am. Compl. (Docket No. 33).) Now before
the court is defendants' Motion for summary judgment on
all causes of action. (Docket No. 39.)
judgment is proper “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). A material fact is one that could affect the outcome
of the suit, and a genuine issue is one that could permit a
reasonable jury to enter a verdict in the non-moving
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party moving for summary
judgment bears the initial burden of establishing the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact and can satisfy this
burden by presenting evidence that negates an essential
element of the non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Alternatively,
the moving party can demonstrate that the non-moving party
cannot produce evidence to support an essential element upon
which it will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id.
the moving party meets its initial burden, the burden shifts
to the non-moving party to “designate ‘specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Id. at 324 (quoting then-Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(e)). To carry this burden, the non-moving party
must “do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “The mere existence of a
scintilla of evidence . . . will be insufficient; there must
be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
[non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
“[T]he non-moving party may not rely on the mere
allegations in the pleadings in order to preclude summary
judgment.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec.
Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.
deciding a summary judgment motion, the court must view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party
and draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255. “Credibility determinations, the
weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate
inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a
judge . . . ruling on a motion for summary judgment . . .
Retaliation in Violation of Title V of the ADA
argues the individual defendants retaliated against him by
transferring him from CMF to CHCF and denying him a rolling
commode chair and moveable trapeze bar because of his prior
lawsuit against the CDCR. Title V of the ADA provides:
“No person shall discriminate against any individual
because such individual has opposed any act or practice made
unlawful by this chapter or because such individual made a
charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any matter in
an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this
chapter.” 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a).
out a prima facie retaliation case, the plaintiff must show
“(1) involvement in a protected activity, (2) an
adverse . . . action and (3) a causal link between the
two.” Brown v. City of Tucson,336 F.3d 1181,
1187 (9th Cir. 2003) (quoting Brooks v. City of San
Mateo,229 F.3d 917, 928 (9th Cir. 2000)). If the
plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, the defendant has
the burden to “offer legitimate reasons for the
adverse . . . action.” Pardi v. Kaiser Found.
Hosps.,389 F.3d 840, 849 (9th Cir. 2004). If the