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McCoy v. Ramirez

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 6, 2017

J. RAMIREZ, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter proceeds on Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint on an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Defendant Correctional Officer (“CO”) J. Ramirez. Both parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned.

         Now pending is Defendant's motion for summary judgment, which Plaintiff opposes. The motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         I. Plaintiff's Allegations

         On July 10, 2013, CO Ramirez escorted Plaintiff in handcuffs from the law library to his cell. During escort, CO Ramirez asked Plaintiff, “What the fuck is your problem? You have an attitude with my partner and you're suing Cacciola.” Plaintiff attempted to defuse the situation by obeying orders, but CO Ramirez twice tried to push Plaintiff into a door, injuring Plaintiff's arm and wrist. Plaintiff saw a nurse for his injury and still has wrist problems.

         II. Legal Standards for Summary Judgment

         Any party may move for summary judgment, and “[t]he [C]ourt 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). 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 absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         The party seeking summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). If the movant will have the burden of proof at trial, it must demonstrate, with affirmative evidence, that “no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party.” Id. at 984. In contrast, if the nonmoving party will have the burden of proof at trial, “the movant can prevail merely by pointing out that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Id. (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must point to "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)).

         In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court does not make credibility determinations or weigh evidence. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255. Rather, “[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Id. Only admissible evidence may be considered in deciding a motion for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). “Conclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment.” Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007).

         III. Undisputed Facts

         The facts underlying this action occurred while Plaintiff was housed at California Correctional Institution (“CCI”) in Tehachapi, California, where Defendant CO Ramirez was employed as a CCI Correctional Officer. Decl. of J. Ramirez in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. (ECF No. 102-2) ¶ 1.

         On July 10, 2013, CO Ramirez worked as an A-4 Search and Escort Officer. Ramirez Decl. ¶ 2. That morning, he and CO Mullins (not a party to this action) escorted Plaintiff from the law library back to his cell. Id. ¶ 2.

         Per Defendant, CO Mullins placed Plaintiff in handcuffs prior to the escort, and CO Ramirez then held Plaintiff by the right bicep in order to begin the escort back to Plaintiff's cell. Ramirez Decl. ¶ 3. During the escort, Plaintiff used profanity and loudly complained that his handcuffs were too tight. Id. ¶ 4. CO Ramirez stopped to inspect Plaintiff's handcuffs. Id. After determining that there was sufficient space between the handcuffs, the officers continued the escort. Id. During the remainder of the escort, Plaintiff continued to use profanity to provoke CO Ramirez. Id. ¶ 5. When Plaintiff was returned to his cell, the handcuffs were removed. Id. ¶ 6. Following the escort, CO Ramirez drafted a General Chrono to document Plaintiff's incendiary behavior, which CO Ramirez construed as an attempt to instigate an altercation. Id. ¶ 7, Ex. A. Defendant denies using any force against Plaintiff during this escort. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8.

         Per Plaintiff, CO Ramirez twice used his body weight to shove Plaintiff into a door. Sec. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-24. Each time, Plaintiff was able to avoid hitting the door and avoid falling. Id. As a result of this incident, Plaintiff claims that he experienced a sharp pain radiating from his left wrist into his left forearm. Id. ΒΆ 25. He also claims to have sustained a ...

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