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Freeman v. Lynch

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 4, 2019

TRAVON LEON FREEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
E. LYNCH, Defendant.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DENNIS M. COTA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is defendant's motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 68), which the undersigned concludes should be granted.

         I. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         This action proceeds on plaintiff's original verified complaint. Plaintiff names the following as defendants: (1) E. Lynch, a prison nurse; (2) M. Linggi, also a prison nurse; and (3) “John Doe, ” the prison health care appeals coordinator.[1]

         Regarding defendant Lynch, plaintiff alleges:

On 4-7-15 at evening medical call Defendant E. Lynch came to my door. I precisely told Miss E. Lynch I was feeling out of control and that I didn't have my I.D. Nurse E. Lynch said (so what do I have to varify [sic] who you are). Inmate patient told Miss. Lynch that she has to give me my mental health medication because I hear (voices and suffer from paranoia, depression, mood swings, and sleep deprivation). . . .
* * *
. . .I gave defendant E. Lynch my CDCR number yet she still refused to give me my medication. E. Lynch told me she would be back but she never did come back. Due to her reckless disregard and deliberate indifference to my serious medical need that night I became extremely paranoid and my mood became so violent I attacked my cellie . . . who had to physically restrain me. Which during this time I (BLACK OUT) and due to that restraint I could've had a severe manic attack and died. The following morning 4-8-15 when I came to E. Lynch refused me my medication again. All together [sic] I didn't receive my medication for a period of 34 hours. . . Defendant will claim she didn't know who I was but plaintiff asserts she knew who I was for she gave me my medication many time's [sic] before. . . . Defendant E. Lynch was made aware of the situation and she failed to respond properly. . . .

ECF No. 1, pgs. 4-5 (underlining in original).

         For relief, plaintiff seeks a court order requiring defendant Lynch to “work's [sic] on a different yard.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff also seeks monetary damages. See id.

         Plaintiff's allegations regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies are somewhat contradictory.[2] On this court's form complaint, plaintiff alleges a grievance process was available to him, he filed a grievance concerning the facts alleged, and the grievance process had been completed. See ECF No. 1, pg. 3. Plaintiff also provides the following narrative description of his efforts to exhaust administrative remedies:

. . .After I filed another 602 [inmate appeal] health care appeal's [sic] and I sent a letter out requesting about both 602's on 8-30-15 stating they never got another 602 and the original was sent back on 6-17-15. There is no appeal remedie [sic] available. . . .

Id. at 5.

         II. THE PARTIES' EVIDENCE

         A. Defendant's Evidence

         Defendant Lynch's motion for summary judgment is supported by her separate statement of undisputed facts, see ECF No. 68-3, as well as the following declarations and attached exhibits: defendant's counsel, D. Lee, see ECF No. 68-4; defendant E. Lynch, see ECF No. 68-5; Chief Medical Officer at Kern Valley State Prison, S. Lopez, see ECF No. 68-6; Chief of the Health Care Correspondence and Appeals Branch, S. Gates, see ECF No. 68-7. Defendant Lynch has also lodged with the court the transcript of plaintiff's deposition taken on February 26, 2019. See ECF No. 69 (notice of lodging transcript).

         According to defendant, the following facts related to plaintiff's claim that defendant Lynch is liable for failing to dispense medication are undisputed:

1. Plaintiff's claim is limited to the failure to dispense medication on April 7, 2015 (Complaint, pg. 5).
2. At all times relevant to the complaint, plaintiff was an inmate housed at California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-Sac), and received medications to manage impulsivity and assist with a sleeping problem (Complaint, pg. 1; Lee Declaration, Exhibit A; plaintiff's deposition, 13:19-14:10).
3. At all times relevant to the complaint, defendant Lynch was a “floater” licensed vocational nurse at CSP-Sac, moving from facility to facility (Complaint, pg. 3; Lynch Declaration, ¶ 1).
4. On April 7, 2015, defendant Lynch made her evening rounds to dispense medication in plaintiff's facility (Plaintiff's Deposition, 18:1; Lynch Declaration, ¶ 5).
5. Plaintiff did not have his identification to present to defendant Lynch during the pill call (Plaintiff's deposition, 22:15-17; Lynch Declaration, ¶ 5).
6. Institutional policy requires that an inmate's identification be checked prior to dispensing medication (Lynch Declaration, ¶ 3).
7. Plaintiff did not receive his medication on April 7, 2015, as a result of his inability to produce identification (Lynch Declaration, ¶ 5).

See ECF No. 68-3 (defendant's separate statement of undisputed fact).

         Defendant Lynch also contends the following facts relating to exhaustion are undisputed:

1. Between April 7, 2015, and the date the complaint was filed, plaintiff submitted two inmate grievances: (1) No. SAC-SC-15001254; and (2) No. SAC-SC-15001510 (Gates Declaration, ¶ 8).
2. Grievance No. SAC-SC-15001254, submitted on April 14, 2015, contained allegations against defendant Lynch related to the pill call on April 7, 2015 (Gates Declaration, Exhibit B).
3. Grievance No. SAC-SC-15001254 was not adjudicated at the third level of review (Gates Declaration, Exhibit B).
4. Grievance No. SAC-SC-15001510, submitted on December 20, 2015, relates to allegations that a non-party nurse was disrespectful to plaintiff on December 18, 2015 (Gates Declaration, Exhibit C).
5. Plaintiff did not process a relevant grievance concerning defendant Lynch through the third level of review (Gates Declaration, Exhibit C; plaintiff's deposition, 58:21-25).

See ECF No. 68-3 (defendant's separate statement of undisputed fact).

         Finally, in support of her argument that plaintiff's request for injunctive relief contained in the complaint is moot because plaintiff has been transferred to a different prison, defendant Lynch states it is undisputed that plaintiff is currently housed at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) See id. (citing plaintiff notice of change of address at ECF No. 57).

         B. Plaintiff's Evidence

         Attached to plaintiff's opposition brief are Exhibits A-E, as described below:

Exhibit A The first page of plaintiff's Exhibit A consists of a May 18, 2015, rejection of plaintiff's inmate appeal, No. SAC-HC-15030879, by the California Correctional Health Care Services. The grievance was procedurally rejected for “excessive verbiage or documentation.” Plaintiff was instructed to re-submit a revised grievance within 30 days.
The remainder of Exhibit A consists of an inmate grievance submitted on April 14, 2015, with a notation that it was rejected at the first level on May 18, 2015.
Exhibit B The first two pages of Exhibit B consist of an inmate grievance submitted on May 7, 2015. The next two pages consist of a June 15, 2015, first-level response to this grievance, which was assigned No. SAC-HC-15030924. The grievance was partially granted and partially denied in that the “medication violation” was “addressed, ” but prison officials did not grant plaintiff's request that defendant Linggi be retrained.
The next two pages of Exhibit B consist of another copy of the May 7, 2015, grievance. This copy indicates the grievance was “accepted” by the institution and assigned on June 25, 2015. The document also indicates the matter was closed on June 17, 2015.
The next page of Exbibit B is an October 1, 2015, notice of cancellation of plaintiff's grievance, No. SAC-HC-15030924, as untimely.
The final two pages of Exhibit B consist of an inmate grievance, apparently concerning the cancellation of the prior grievance, submitted on September 16, 2015.
Exhibit C This exhibit consists of a one-page memorandum determination of staff complaint/grievance, No. SAC-SC-15001254. The memorandum concludes the grievance does not qualify as a staff complaint.
Exhibit D Plaintiff provides a two-page document, entitled “Statewide Psychotropic Medication Consent Form, ” dated March 26, 2015, in which plaintiff consents to receiving various medications.
Exhibit E This document is a one-page form, entitled “MAR Documentation, indicating defendant Lynch recorded that plaintiff had refused medication on April 7, 2015, “after requesting to see his I.D.” See ECF No. 75, pgs. 17-41.
Also included with plaintiff's brief is the following: “Ex Par Te [sic] Motion Letter: With Exhibits Attached to Help Courts [sic] Decision with Defendants [sic] Motion for Summary Judgment.” See ECF No. 75, pgs. 44-58. In his letter, plaintiff states:
To: Mr. Dennis M. Cota as this letter in ex par te form lands in your chambers I'm respectfully requesting that you. . .take judicial notice and that these exhibits are only to be seen between plaintiff and the overseers of the arena of civil law & or litigation! These documents will surely let you see that these documents hold more weigh to what ...

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