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Howell v. Macomber

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 4, 2018

KAREEM J. HOWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
J. MACOMBER, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          KENDALL J. NEWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner, proceeding without counsel. Plaintiff claims defendants M. Brady, C. Igbokwe, and D. Tran violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him from an inmate attack during an October 8, 2014 transport.[1] Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment[2] is before the court. Defendants filed an opposition, and plaintiff filed a reply.

         As set forth below, the undersigned finds that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment should be denied.

         II. Plaintiff's Verified Complaint

         In August of 2014, while housed at the California State Prison, Sacramento (“CSP-SAC”), defendant Cannedy approved two chronos for plaintiff: (1) plaintiff should have no escorts with inmate Barrett, CDC #AF-7863, [3] based on Barrett's August 11, 2014 assault on plaintiff; and (2) no group escorts, based on the “high attempted assault rate on” plaintiff. (ECF No. 1 at 10-11.) Plaintiff alleges that on October 8, 2014, despite these chronos, as well as plaintiff verbally informing the officers at the time of the escort about these chronos, defendants Brady, Igbokwe, and Tran ignored plaintiff, and defendants Brady and Igbokwe escorted Barrett, while defendant Tran escorted plaintiff with a group of other inmates, out of the treatment center and back to the living unit together. (ECF No. 1 at 4.) At the living unit, Barrett “managed to slip out of his handcuffs and brutally attack” plaintiff, punching him in the face three times, fracturing his left jaw and cutting the inside of his lip. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         III. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment

         Plaintiff seeks an order granting summary judgment on his claims that defendants failed to protect plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff argues that defendants failed to comply with the chronos issued to protect plaintiff from harm, but also failed to heed plaintiff's verbal warning at the time of the escort, and thus were deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk to plaintiff's safety during the escort. Defendants argue that material disputes of fact preclude entry of summary judgment on plaintiff's behalf.

         A. Legal Standards for Summary Judgment

         A court will grant summary judgment “if . . . 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). The “threshold inquiry” is whether “there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of showing the district court “that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party, which “must establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact. . . .” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585 (1986). In carrying their burdens, both parties must “cit[e] to particular parts of materials in the record . . .; or show [ ] 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); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 (“[the nonmoving party] must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”). Moreover, “the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact. . . . Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

         “[A]t this stage of the litigation, the judge does not weigh conflicting evidence” or “make credibility determinations with respect to statements made in affidavits. . . .” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987)

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court draws all inferences and views all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88; Whitman v. Mineta, 541 F.3d 929, 931 (9th Cir. 2008). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (quoting First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).

         B. Facts[4]

         1. Plaintiff is a California prison inmate who was confined at CSP-SAC at all relevant times.

         2. Defendants Brady, Igbokwe, and Tran were correctional officers employed at CSP-SAC.

         3. On August 11, 2014, CSP-SAC Facility Captain Cannedy approved and issued a 128-B chrono stating plaintiff shall have no escorts with inmate Barrett, CDCR #AF-7863, based on Barrett's August 11, 2014 assault on plaintiff. (ECF No. 50 at 16.)

         4. On August 11, 2014, CSP-SAC Facility Captain approved and issued a 128-B chrono stating that plaintiff shall not be included in a group escort, based on the “high attempted assault rate” on plaintiff's life (there were three ...


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