United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT BLACK'S MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NO. 180)
Caputo (“Plaintiff”) is a prisoner proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis in this this
civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The parties have consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction
and this action has been referred to the undersigned
“for all purposes within the meaning of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c), to conduct any and all further proceedings in
the case, including the trial and entry of final
judgment.” (ECF No. 195, p. 2).
action now proceeds on Plaintiff's claim for violation of
his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights against defendant
Black, for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment
against defendant Gonzalez, and for excessive force in
violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against defendant
Gonzalez. (ECF Nos. 93 & 195).
deadline for filing dispositive motions passed without either
party filing such a motion. On May 23, 2019, defendant Black
filed a motion for leave to file a motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 173). Based on the representations in the
motion, on May 30, 2019, the Court found good cause to modify
the schedule to a limited extent, and granted defendant Black
leave to file a motion for summary judgment within two weeks.
(ECF No. 177).
13, 2019, defendant Black filed a motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 180). Defendant Black moved for summary
judgment on the following bases: 1) Plaintiff failed to
exhaust his available administrative remedies; 2) Plaintiff
failed to state a claim; 3) Defendant Black did not violate
Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights; and
4) Defendant Black is entitled to qualified immunity.
(Id. at 1-2).
18, 2019, Chief District Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill, who
was the presiding judge on the case at the time, issued an
order striking the first and second bases of the motion for
summary judgement because they were “beyond the scope
of what the Court allowed in the May 30, 2019 order.”
(ECF No. 182, p. 3) (citation omitted).
8, 2019, Plaintiff filed his opposition to the motion for
summary judgment. (ECF No. 194). On July 12, 2019, defendant
Black filed her reply. (ECF No. 196).
Black's motion for summary judgment is now before the
Court. For the reasons that follow, the Court will recommend
that defendant Black's motion for summary judgment be
Fourth Amended Complaint (ECF No. 43), Plaintiff alleges that
on May 4, 2016, at around 9:30 p.m., he had taken his
evening medication when defendant Gonzalez pulled him out of
pill line. Plaintiff then choked on water, and was yelled at
by defendant Gonzalez, who accused Plaintiff of putting his
pills in his locker. Plaintiff invited defendant Gonzalez to
search his locker. Defendant Gonzalez declined. Defendant
Gonzalez then stated “I am not turning on the T.V. and
phones because Plaintiff (self) for the night.”
asked for a grievance form, and defendant Gonzalez said
“‘you want a grievance? There it is' (or I
got your grievance form right here).” Defendant
Gonzalez then pulled Plaintiff by his arm and shirt collar
into the wall four times, before throwing Plaintiff to the
floor and driving his knee into Plaintiff's lower back.
Plaintiff was never given a grievance form. After that
incident Plaintiff had trouble sleeping or being around any
officers. As a result of the incident, Plaintiff was put in
disciplinary isolation from May 4, 2016, through November 22,
Court screened Plaintiff's complaint, and all claims and
defendants were dismissed, “except for Plaintiff's
claims for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment due process
rights against defendant Black and Doe Defendant(s), for
retaliation in violation of the First Amendment against
defendant Gonzalez, and for excessive force in violation of
the Fourteenth Amendment against defendant
Gonzalez.” (ECF No. 93, p. 2).
10, 2019, the remaining Doe Defendants were dismissed
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m). (ECF No.
action now proceeds only on Plaintiff's claim for
violation of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights
against defendant Black, for retaliation in violation of the
First Amendment against defendant Gonzalez, and for excessive
force in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against
defendant Gonzalez. (ECF Nos. 93 & 195).
claim against defendant Black is proceeding based on the
allegation that he was placed in disciplinary isolation
without receiving a due process hearing. (ECF No. 81, p. 7;
ECF No. 93).
DEFENDANT BLACK'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Legal Standards for Summary Judgment
judgment in favor of a party is appropriate when 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); Albino v. Baca
(“Albino II”), 747 F.3d 1162, 1169 (9th
Cir. 2014) (en banc) (“If there is a genuine
dispute about material facts, summary judgment will not be
granted.”). A party asserting that a fact cannot be
disputed must support the assertion by “citing to
particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those
made for purposes of the motion only), admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials, or 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.
moving for summary judgment “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) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). If the moving party moves for summary judgment on the
basis that a material fact lacks any proof, the Court must
determine whether a fair-minded jury could reasonably find
for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986) (“The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff.”). “[A] complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “[C]onclusory
allegations unsupported by factual data” are not enough
to rebut a summary judgment motion. Taylor v. List,
880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989), citing Angel v.
Seattle-First Nat'l Bank, 653 F.2d 1293, 1299 (9th
reviewing the evidence at the summary judgment stage, the
Court “must draw all reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Comite de
Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach,
657 F.3d 936, 942 (9th Cir. 2011). It need only draw
inferences, however, where there is “evidence in the
record… from which a reasonable inference… may
be drawn…”; the court need not entertain
inferences that are unsupported by fact. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 330 n. 2 (citation omitted). Additionally,
“[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be
believed….” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Moreover, the Court must liberally construe Plaintiff's
filings because he is a prisoner proceeding pro se
in this action. Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144,
1150 (9th Cir. 2010).
reviewing a summary judgment motion, the Court may consider
other materials in the record not cited to by the parties,
but 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).
Defendant Black's Position
Black argues that summary judgment should be granted because
Plaintiff's due process rights were not violated, and
even if they were, it was not the result of any action or
inaction by defendant Black. (ECF No. 180, p. 15). There was
no discipline imposed on Plaintiff. (ECF No. 180, p. 17).
Moreover, even if Plaintiff was placed in Administrative
Segregation (“Ad Seg”) ...