United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING CROSS-MOTIONS
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF NOS. 64, 69)
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Reginald Ray York is a state prisoner appearing pro
se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for
summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court
recommends that both Plaintiff's motion for summary
judgment and Defendants' motion for partial summary
judgment be denied.
action is proceeding on Plaintiff's complaint, filed on
December 7, 2015, against Defendant Garcia for excessive
force in violation of the Eighth Amendment, against Defendant
Neighbors for failure to protect Plaintiff from the excessive
use of force in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and
against Defendants Garcia and Neighbors for failure to
decontaminate Plaintiff's cell in violation of the Eighth
Amendment. (ECF Nos. 1, 17.)
March 10, 2017, Defendants Garcia and Neighbors filed answer
to Plaintiff's complaint. (ECF No. 20.) On March 16,
2017, the Court issued the discovery and scheduling order.
(ECF No. 21.)
17, 2018, the Court granted Defendants' motion to modify
the discovery and scheduling order and extended the deadline
for filing a dispositive motion until October 22, 2018. (ECF
previously stated, on December 3, 2018, Plaintiff filed a
motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 64.)
December 18, 2018, the District Judge issued an order
granting in part Defendants' motion for sanctions and
denying Plaintiff's motion for sanctions. (ECF No. 66.)
The District Judge imposed an evidentiary sanction on
Plaintiff and ordered that Plaintiff is prohibited from
supporting his case or opposing Defendants' defenses with
any evidence that Plaintiff had not already disclosed to
December 20, 2018, the Court issued another order amending
the discovery and scheduling order. (ECF No. 67.) In that
order, the Court extended the dispositive motion deadline
until February 4, 2019, and deemed Plaintiff's motion
timely filed. (Id.) Further, the Court extended
Defendants' time to file an opposition to Plaintiff's
summary judgment until February 4, 2019. (Id.)
February 4, 2019, Defendants filed an opposition to
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, as well as their
own motion for partial summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 68,
February 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply to his motion for
summary judgment. (ECF No. 70.) On February 28, 2019,
Defendants filed a reply to their motion for partial summary
judgment. (ECF No. 71.) Also, on February 28, 2019, Plaintiff
filed an opposition to Defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment. (ECF No. 72.)
March 7, 2019, Defendants filed a motion to strike
Plaintiff's opposition to Defendant's motion for
summary judgment. (ECF No. 73.) On March 18, 2019, the Court
denied Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiff's
February 28, 2019 opposition, but granted Defendants leave to
file a supplemental reply within seven days. (ECF No. 74.) On
March 22, 2019, Defendants filed their supplemental reply.
(ECF No. 74.)
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and
Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment are
deemed submitted for review, without oral argument. Local
judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, disclosure
materials, discovery, and any affidavits provided establish
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
may affect the outcome of the case under the applicable law.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248 (1986). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is
such that a reasonable [trier of fact] could return a verdict
for the nonmoving party.” Id.
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). The exact nature of this
responsibility, however, varies depending on whether the
issue on which summary judgment is sought is one in which the
movant or the nonmoving party carries the ultimate burden of
proof. See Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509
F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007). If the movant will have the
burden of proof at trial, it must “affirmatively
demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other
than for the moving party.” Id. (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). 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.
movant satisfies its initial burden, the nonmoving party must
go beyond the allegations in its pleadings to “show a
genuine issue of material fact by presenting affirmative
evidence from which a jury could find in [its] favor.”
F.T.C. v. Stefanchik, 559 F.3d 924, 929 (9th Cir.
2009) (emphasis omitted). “[B]ald assertions or a mere
scintilla of evidence” will not suffice in this regard.
Id. at 929; see also Matsushita Elec. Industrial
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(“When the moving party has carried its burden under
Rule 56, its opponent must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.”) (citation omitted). “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 Arizona v. Cities
Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).
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
presence or absence of a genuine dispute or that the opposing
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1) (quotation marks omitted). The Court
may consider other materials in the record not cited to by
the parties, but it is not required to do so. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(3); Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch.
Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001); accord
Simmons v. Navajo Cnty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th
resolving a summary judgment motion, “the court does
not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting
evidence.” Soremekun, 509 F.3d at 984.
Instead, “[t]he evidence of the [nonmoving party] is to
be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn
in [its] favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Inferences, however, are not drawn out of the air; the
nonmoving party must produce a factual predicate from which
the inference may reasonably be drawn. See Richards v.
Nielsen Freight Lines, 602 F.Supp. 1224, 1244-45 (E.D.
Cal. 1985), aff'd, 810 F.2d 898 (9th Cir. 1987).
arriving at these findings and recommendations, the Court
carefully reviewed and considered all arguments, points and
authorities, declarations, exhibits, statements of undisputed
facts and responses thereto, if any, objections, and other
papers filed by the parties. Omission of reference to an
argument, document, paper, or objection is not to be
construed to the effect that this Court did not consider the
argument, document, paper, or objection. This Court
thoroughly reviewed and considered the evidence it deemed
admissible, material, and appropriate.
Exhibit D of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary
object to Exhibit D of Plaintiff's motion for summary
judgment, (ECF No. 64, at 46-50), which are Plaintiff's
medical records, on the grounds that the medical records are
hearsay and are inadmissible without proper foundation and
authentication under Federal Rule of Evidence 901.
Additionally, Defendant asserts that the medical records
contained in Exhibit D are irrelevant to Plaintiff's
objections to Exhibit D are overruled. Initially, with
regards to hearsay, at summary judgment, the focus is not on
the “admissibility of the evidence's form, ”
but rather on the “admissibility of its
contents.” Fraser v. Goodale, 342 F.3d 1032,
1036-37 (9th Cir. 2003). With regards to lack of foundation
and authentication, the fact that Plaintiff did not submit a
Custodian of Records declaration is not fatal to the
admissibility of Exhibit D. Defendants have made no showing
that Plaintiff could not bring a qualified witness into court
at trial to lay a foundation for and testify as to the
medical records. JL Beverage Co., LLC v. Jim Beam Brands
Co., 828 F.3d 1098, 1110 (9th Cir. 2016) (“[A]t
summary judgment a district court may consider hearsay
evidence submitted in an inadmissible form, so long as the
underlying evidence could be provided in an admissible form
at trial[.]”). Regardless, the Court's
consideration of the records are not dispositive of the
regards to relevancy, given the Court's duty to determine
whether there exists a genuine dispute as to any material
fact, objections to evidence as irrelevant are both
unnecessary and unhelpful. See e.g., Carden v.
Chenega Sec. & Protections Servs., LLC, No. CIV
2:09-1799 WBS CMK, 2011 WL 1807384, at *3 (E.D. Cal. May 10,
2011); Arias v. McHugh, No. CIV 2:09-690 WBS GGH,
2010 WL 2511175, at *6 (E.D. Cal. Jun. 17, 2010);
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