United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT; AND ADDRESSING PENDING MOTIONS
GONZALEZ ROGERS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 filed by Plaintiff Henry Desean Adams, a state
prisoner who is currently incarcerated at the California
Men's Colony (“CMC”). The operative complaint
in this action is the second amended complaint
(“SAC”), in which Plaintiff alleges deliberate
indifference to his medical needs during his previous
incarceration at Martinez Detention Facility
(“MDF”) from 2016 to 2017. Dkt. 20 at
was transferred from MDF to California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (âCDCRâ) custody on December
13, 2018 and then to CMC on April 25, 2019. Dkt. 52 at 1, fn.
Court begins by outlining the procedural background of this
matter. On January 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed his original
complaint. Dkt. 1. On August 1, 2017, the Court reviewed
Plaintiff's original complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A and dismissed the complaint with leave to amend
with various instructions to correct certain deficiencies,
including that Plaintiff must file an amended complaint that
complies with the joinder requirements of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 20(a). Dkt. 13. The Court provided Plaintiff
with the rules regarding joinder of Defendants as well as
other pleading requirements. See id. Thereafter,
Plaintiff filed his amended complaint. Dkt. 14.
January 19, 2018, the Court reviewed Plaintiff's amended
complaint and dismissed it with leave to amend with
instructions to correct deficiencies, including that
Plaintiff must establish legal liability of each person for
the claimed violation of his rights. Dkt. 16.
mentioned, on January 31, 2018, Plaintiff filed his SAC,
which is the operative complaint. Dkt. 17. In his SAC,
Plaintiff named the following Defendants: MDF Medical
Director Jessica Hamilton; MDF Nurse Provider Paul Manaut;
and “MDF Pill Call Nursing Staff, ” including
Licensed Vocational Nurses (“LVNs”) Stephanie
Monahan, Maritess Rayrao, and Mary Bolds, as well as Nurses
“Sahara, Samaria, Vince, and
Jennifer.” Id. at 1. Plaintiff seeks
monetary damages. Id. at 3.
Order dated July 5, 2018, the Court determined that the SAC
raised a cognizable claim for deliberate
to his serious medical needs against the above named
Defendants. See Dkt. 20.
September 7, 2018, Defendants filed an answer to the SAC.
parties are now presently before the Court on Defendants'
dispositive motion. Dkt. 34. Defendants move for summary
judgment on Plaintiff's claim of deliberate indifference
to his serious medical needs on the following grounds: (1)
Defendants were not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs; (2) Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity; (3) issue preclusion bars this Court from
reviewing Plaintiff's claim because a state court has
already decided that Defendants were not deliberately
indifferent; and (4) Plaintiff failed to exhaust
administrative remedies. Id. Specifically, as to
their first arguments on the merits of Plaintiff's
claims, Defendants contend that “[t]here is
insufficient evidence of a genuine issue of material
fact” as to the following deliberate indifference
claims: (a) for the administration of the “wrong
medicine”; (b) for refusing to treat Plaintiff's H.
Pylori and prostate infections; (c) for lying to Plaintiff
regarding his medical test results and delaying treatment;
(d) for refusing to perform certain medical testing; and (d)
for administering medication to Plaintiff after being told by
him that the medication caused him illness.
filed an opposition to Defendants' motion. Dkt. 50.
have filed a filed a reply with objections to certain
arguments, statements and documents submitted by Plaintiff in
support of his opposition, which the Court will construe as a
motion to strike. Dkt. 52 at 5-8. Specifically, Defendants
assert they should be stricken because some of
Plaintiff's exhibits contain inadmissible hearsay
testimony. First, the federal rules of evidence provide that
a witness may make any statement from his own personal
knowledge. See Fed. R. Evid. 602. If any of these
supporting arguments, statements and documents were not based
on his personal knowledge or were not relevant to the issues,
the Court has not considered them. Second, the Court
concludes that even if any of them were admitted and accepted
at face value, Defendants still would be entitled to judgment
as a matter of law, as set forth below. Although some of the
documents in question are discussed in its analysis, the
Court also points out that such evidence is not sufficient to
defeat summary judgment. Accordingly, Defendants' motion
to strike is DENIED as moot. Dkt. 52.
November 6, 2018, Defendants also filed a Request for
Judicial Notice in support Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. Dkt. 36. Additionally, Defendants filed an
Administrative Motion to File Under Seal on November 6, 2018.
Id. On July 2, 2019, the Court granted Defendants
Administrative Motion to File Under Seal. Dkt. 53.
April 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting hours at
the law library and assistance in obtaining a lab specialist,
medical examiner, and a doctor, along with other materials to
prepare an effective case. Dkt. 51. On May 31, 2019,
Defendants filed an opposition to Plaintiff's request.
read and considered the papers submitted in connection with
this matter, the Court hereby GRANTS Defendants' motion
for summary judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff's
Fourteenth Amendment claim. Dkt. 34. Because the Court will
resolve a similar deliberate indifferent claim in favor of
the served Defendants, it also GRANTS summary judgment as to
the deliberate indifference claim against unserved Defendants
“Sahara, Samaria, Vince, and Jennifer.” The Court
also addresses all other pending motions below. Dkts. 36, 51,
time of the events set forth in his SAC, Plaintiff was a
pretrial detainee who was incarcerated at MDF. See
Hamilton is a Board Certified Family Practitioner and the
lead physician for Contra Costa County Detention Health
Services. Declaration of Jessica Hamilton (“Hamilton
Decl.”) ¶¶ 2-3. Defendant Hamilton personally
tended to Plaintiff at least six times and discussed
Plaintiff's condition with the other coworkers who were
also providing care to Plaintiff. Hamilton Decl. ¶ 4.
Defendant Hamilton also reviewed Plaintiff's medical
charts as part of the proposed treatment plan. Id.
Manaut is a nurse practitioner employed with Contra Costa
County Health Services. Declaration of Paul Manaut
(“Manaut Decl.”) ¶ 3. He has personally met
with Plaintiff approximately ten times, and reviewed
Plaintiff's medical records and charts in the course of
care that was provided to Plaintiff while incarcerated at
MDF. Id. at ¶¶ 5-6.
Rayrao, Monahan, and Bolds are all LVNs (collectively
“LVN Defendants”) who provide medication to
inmates at MDF among other duties. See e.g.,
Declaration of Maritess Rayrao, LVN (“Rayrao
Decl.”) ¶ 4; Declaration of Mary Bolds, LVN,
(“Bolds Decl.”) ¶ 4.
MDF Medical Procedures
medication is given to inmates either at a deputy desk within
a given module at MDF, or at the cell door of patients who
are not free to leave their cell. In both cases, an LVN
administering the prescription watches the inmate-patient
take the prescribed medication. Bolds Decl. ¶ 5. This
process is informally called the “pill pass.”
Id. When an inmate refuses to take a prescribed
medication, LVN charts the refusal and typically has the
patient sign a document entitled “refusal of medical
care.” Any medication refused is noted in the detention
facility's medical records. Bolds Decl. ¶ 7.
of their duties, the LVN Defendants work as “pill pass
nurses, ” who administer medication to inmates.
Id. ¶ 10. (However, Defendant Rayrao has not
administered medication to Plaintiff since April 2016, and
works mostly with clinicians at the present time.
See Rayrao Decl. ¶ 4.) As LVNs, these
Defendants cannot decide whether to administer medications or
not. Id. Only a clinician can start, stop, or change
a prescription administered by the LVN Defendants; they have
no control over what is given to Plaintiff. Id. at
¶ 8; Rayrao Decl. ¶5; Hamilton Decl. ¶ 44.
appointments are made through request slips provided to
deputies or nurses, and inmates are seen on a priority basis,
depending on the seriousness of the issue and other factors.
Manaut Decl. ¶ 21. Appointments may be delayed or
rescheduled due to many factors, including the patient being
in court, the sick call clinics being overbooked, the sick
call clinics closing for the day, or there being no escort
deputy available, as patients must be escorted to all doctor
appointments by a deputy. Id.
appointments for inmate-patients, such as diagnostic testing
beyond the capabilities of the detention center medical
office, are scheduled through the Contra Costa Regional
Medical Center (“CCRMC”), which is responsible
for determining who can conduct outside testing or treatment.
Id. at ¶22. When scheduling appointments with
inmate-patients the factors taken into consideration include
available deputies, type of testing or treatment sought, and
the availability of CCRMC staff to perform the requested
medical care. Id. CCRMC and MDF medical staff do not
delay or deny treatment to inmate-patients based on their
incarceration status. Id. Defendants allege that all
of Plaintiff's tests were taken in the normal course and
scope of the operation of the health facilities at MDF and
CCRMC. Hamilton Decl. ¶¶ 47-48.
claims that in the month of June 2016, he was provided with
the “wrong medication” that caused adverse
effects. Dkt. 17 at 3. Plaintiff further alleges that he
consequently contracted “H. pylori and a prostate
infection, ” which the MDF medical staff refused to
treat. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that his blood and
urine tests results were abnormal, but Defendants Hamilton
and Manaut stated that the tests were normal and “lied
about [the] test results on numerous of other occasions,
” delaying Plaintiff's proper medical attention.
Id. at 4-5.
also claims he was denied the following requests: (1) to be
treated in a timely manner for his H. pylori and prostate
infections by Defendants Hamilton and Manaut; (2) to have
blood and urine work done for cancer, syphilis, type 2
diabetes, and prostate infection by Defendant Hamilton; and
(3) to have proper medication administered to him by the
“pill call nursing staff” at MDF, including
“Nurses Stephanie, Marytes[s], Mary, Sahara, Samaria,
Vince, and Jennifer, ” after they were told by
Plaintiff that the medication caused him illness. See
Id. at 4-6.
alleges that he was successfully treated for the H. pylori
infection on May 11, 2017 and for the prostate infection in
November 2017. Id. Additionally, as of January
26, 2018, he alleges he still experiences inflammation in the
prostate region, as well as similar symptoms and pains.
allege that Plaintiff's course of care with MDF is
replete with testing and treatment. Dkt. 34 at 13. As stated
in the declarations of Defendants Hamilton and Manaut,
Defendants claim that Plaintiff's treatment was above
community standards. Hamilton Decl. ¶ 53; Manaut Decl.
The “Wrong Medication”
claims that he was given the “wrong medication”
in June 2016, in the form of Zyrtec, which he asserts caused
an H. Pylori infection and a prostate infection. Dkt. 20 at
2-3; Dkt. 17 at 3; Jason W. Mauck Declaration (Mauck Decl.),
Ex. 1 (Pl.'s Dep.) 21:14-21 and 27:19-22. Zyrtec is used
to treat rhinitis and allergies. Hamilton Decl. ¶¶
6-7. Plaintiff was given Zyrtec between April 2016 and July
2016. Id. Allergies to Zyrtec are very rare and
symptoms of adverse reactions do not include the symptoms
that Plaintiff is claiming, including chest pains and
abdominal pain. Id. at 8. Furthermore, Plaintiff
admitted on April 6, 2016 that his chest pains started when
he was having a bout of seasonal allergies, which was before
the prescription for Zyrtec was issued. Hamilton Decl., Ex. 1
at CCC 122.
addition to Plaintiff's complaints of chest pains, his
reported headaches were also intermittent, and not consistent
throughout the time that he was taking Zyrtec. Id.
at ¶ 10. Defendant Hamilton notes that intermittent
headache complaints demonstrate that Plaintiff's concerns
over headaches, dizziness or drowsiness are unrelated to any
specific medication since the medication was consistent, but
the alleged symptoms were not. Id.
was administered a computed tomography (“CT”)
response to repeated headache claims. The results of the scan
were benign with no abnormality located within the imaging.
Id. at ¶ 14. Since the CT scan, Plaintiff has
not complained of headaches with sufficient regularity-or
with other associated symptoms-to suggest that there are any
serious medical conditions. Id. at ¶ 15.
Defendant Hamilton believes that the chest pains, headaches,
and dizziness that Plaintiff complains about are not related
to Zyrtec. Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff was
prescribed Claritin for his allergies in July 2016, however,
when offered Claritin, he refused it and elected to continue
to use Zyrtec. Id. at ¶ 7. Defendants opine
that, it is very unlikely that Zyrtec caused the symptoms
reported by Plaintiff. Hamilton Decl. ¶¶ 5a, 11.
summary of the most germane medical treatment is included in
the declaration of Defendant Hamilton, however, the most
pertinent treatment is as follows:
1. [Plaintiff] was administered a fecal immunological test on
October 17, 2016. The test results were negative, meaning
that there was a low chance of colorectal cancer, polyps,
ulcers or other issue in the intestines that might manifest
with blood in the stool-such as an H. Pylori
Other tests, such as blood work, were performed at the same
time and also revealed results within normal limits.
Id. at ¶ 18.
2. Over the next few months [Plaintiff] was seen by nursing
staff and medical providers to explain test results, which
were all within normal limits. Id.
3. It was not until January 13, 2017 that a fecal exam showed
the presence of H. Pylori in [Plaintiff's] stool. On that
day, [Plaintiff] started prescriptions for Prilosec, Biaxin,
and Flagyl to treat the H. Pylori. Id. at ¶ 19.
4. [Plaintiff] only took the medications together once, the
evening of January 18th. He did not take them together
afterwards. Id. at ¶ 20. The prescription
changed on February 15, 2017, and was provided to [Plaintiff]
for him to keep and take himself. His abdominal symptoms