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Flynn v. Canlas

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 6, 2019

DAVID FLYNN, Plaintiff,
CANLAS, et al., Defendants.



         I. Background

         Plaintiff David Flynn (“Plaintiff”) is a former state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff was a prisoner at the time this action was initiated. This action proceeds against Defendant Maddox for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and for falsification of medical appeals responses.

         On September 14, 2018, Defendants Maddox filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there are no genuine issues of material fact, and Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.[1] On October 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 54.) Defendant filed a reply on October 15, 2018. (ECF No. 55.) Defendant also filed objections to Plaintiff's evidence in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 56.) The motion is deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(1).

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary 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.

         The 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.

         If the 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. Indus. 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 Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)).

         In 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). Further, the Court may consider other materials in the record not cited to by the parties, although it is not required to do so. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3); Carmen v. S.F. Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001); accord Simmons v. Navajo Cty., Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010).

         In 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.

         III. Discussion

         Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Maddox alleges that Defendant Maddox failed to adequately or timely address Plaintiff's dermatological needs on December 9, 2013, and that she falsified documents related to Plaintiff's inmate appeal.[2] (ECF No. 1 at 4-7.)

         A. Undisputed Material Facts[3]

1. Nurse Maddox has been a Registered Nurse for 35 years. (ECF No. 52-2; Defendants' Separate Statement of Undisputed (SSUF) 1.)
2. Nurse Maddox worked as a Registered Nurse at Valley State Prison from 2006 to 2017. (SSUF 2.)
3. At all relevant times, Plaintiff was an inmate at Valley State Prison. (SSUF 3.)
4. On December 9, 2013, Nurse Maddox saw plaintiff due to his complaints of vision issues and a history of actinic keratosis. (SSUF 4.)
5. Plaintiff had red areas around the side of Plaintiff's left eye, which were not bleeding.
6. Nurse Maddox believed the spots were sun damage to Plaintiff's face.
7. Nurse Maddox intended to refer Plaintiff to a dermatologist, but believed Plaintiff would be paroling soon.[4]
8. Nurse Maddox told Plaintiff to come back in January or February.
9. The typical delay in obtaining a consultation with a specialist was ...

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