United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; STAY AND
REFERRAL TO MEDIATION Re: Dkt. No. 33
PHYLLIS J. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights case brought pro se by a state prisoner under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. His claims arise from his detention in
San Quentin State Prison (“SQSP”). Plaintiff
alleges that defendant nurse Brim was deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs and retaliated
against plaintiff after he filed an inmate appeal. Defendant
has filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has filed
an opposition, and defendant has filed a reply. For the
reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
for Summary Judgment
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper where the pleadings, discovery and
affidavits show 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). Material facts are
those which may affect the outcome of the case. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
dispute as to a material fact is genuine if there is
sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict
for the nonmoving party. Id.
moving party for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
identifying those portions of the pleadings, discovery and
affidavits which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986); Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v.
Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). When
the moving party has met this burden of production, the
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by its own
affidavits or discovery, set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. If the
nonmoving party fails to produce enough evidence to show a
genuine issue of material fact, the moving party wins.
summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party: if evidence
produced by the moving party conflicts with evidence produced
by the nonmoving party, the judge must assume the truth of
the evidence set forth by the nonmoving party with respect to
that fact. See Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1865
(2014); Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1158
(9th Cir. 1999).
Eighth Amendment Standard
indifference to serious medical needs violates the Eighth
Amendment's proscription against cruel and unusual
punishment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976); McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050, 1059 (9th
Cir. 1992), overruled on other grounds, WMX Technologies,
Inc. v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133, 1136 (9th Cir. 1997) (en
banc). A determination of “deliberate
indifference” involves an examination of two elements:
the seriousness of the prisoner's medical need and the
nature of the defendant's response to that need.
Id. at 1059.
“serious” medical need exists if the failure to
treat a prisoner's condition could result in further
significant injury or the “unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain.” Id. The existence of an
injury that a reasonable doctor or patient would find
important and worthy of comment or treatment; the presence of
a medical condition that significantly affects an
individual's daily activities; or the existence of
chronic and substantial pain are examples of indications that
a prisoner has a “serious” need for medical
treatment. Id. at 1059-60.
prison official is deliberately indifferent if he or she
knows that a prisoner faces a substantial risk of serious
harm and disregards that risk by failing to take reasonable
steps to abate it. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994). The prison official must not only “be aware
of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, ” but he
“must also draw the inference.” Id. If a
prison official should have been aware of the risk, but was
not, then the official has not violated the Eighth Amendment,
no matter how severe the risk. Gibson v. County of
Washoe, 290 F.3d 1175, 1188 (9th Cir. 2002). “A
difference of opinion between a prisoner-patient and prison
medical authorities regarding treatment does not give rise to
a § 1983 claim.” Franklin v. Oregon, 662
F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981).
First Amendment Standard
the prison context, a viable claim of First Amendment
retaliation entails five basic elements: (1) An assertion
that a state actor took some adverse action against an inmate
(2) because of (3) that prisoner's protected conduct, and
that such action (4) chilled the inmate's exercise of his
First Amendment rights, and (5) the action did not reasonably
advance a legitimate correctional goal." Rhodes v.
Robinson, 408 F.3d 559, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2005) (footnote
omitted). Accord Pratt v. Rowland, 65 F.3d 802, 806
(9th Cir. 1995) (prisoner suing prison officials under §
1983 for retaliation must allege that he was retaliated
against for exercising his constitutional rights and that the