United States District Court, C.D. California
VALLEY SURGICAL CENTER LLC., a California Limited Liability Company, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, a government entity, et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT [DKTS 483, 492]
D. PREGERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the court are two motions for summary judgment, one
filed by Defendant Selma Calmes and the other filed by
Defendants Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, Adrian Marinovich,
Raffi Djabourian, Denis C. Astarita, John Kades, and Ed
Winter. Having considered the submissions of the parties and
heard oral argument, the court grants the motions and adopts
the following Order.
judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show “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 party seeking summary judgment bears the initial
burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and
of identifying those portions of the pleadings and discovery
responses that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). All reasonable inferences from the
evidence must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
242 (1986). If the moving party does not bear the burden of
proof at trial, it is entitled to summary judgment if it can
demonstrate that “there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party's case.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party opposing the motion, who must “set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. Summary
judgment is warranted if a party “fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. A genuine issue exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” and
material facts are those “that might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. There is no genuine issue
of fact “[w]here the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
not the court's task “to scour the record in search
of a genuine issue of triable fact.” Keenan v.
Allan, 91 F.3d 1275, 1278 (9th Cir. 1996). Counsel have
an obligation to lay out their support clearly. Carmen v.
San Francisco Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir.
2001). The court “need not examine the entire file for
evidence establishing a genuine issue of fact, where the
evidence is not set forth in the opposition papers with
adequate references so that it could conveniently be
matter has been litigated extensively, and the parties are
familiar with the factual background. As explained in detail
in this Court's prior Orders, this case arises out of an
investigation conducted by the Los Angeles County
Coroner's Office (the “Coroner's Office”)
into the death of Paula Rojeski (“Rojeski”).
Although many of the facts are in dispute, the parties agree
that on September 8, 2011, Rojeski died after undergoing
laparoscopic Lap-Band surgery at Plaintiff Valley Surgical
Center LLC (“Valley”)'s facility. The
Coroner's Office performed an autopsy on September 12,
2011, which revealed a perforation of Rojeski's aorta.
Valley alleges that although Defendants had no reason to
suspect homicide as the cause of Rojeski's death,
Defendants nevertheless “created a false homicide
investigation and leaked information regarding [the
Coroner's Office's] false homicide investigation to
the media . . ., ” thus violating Valley's
constitutional rights. (Third Amended Complaint
(“TAC”) ¶ 32.) Defendants now move for
Factual Basis of Plaintiff's Constitutional Claims
challenge the legal basis of Plaintiff's various
constitutional claims, and also argue that summary judgment
is warranted because Plaintiff has not put forth any facts to
support its theories of constitutional harm. Before this
Court can address the question whether Defendants'
conduct violated a constitutional right, the court must first
determine whether there is a triable issue of fact as to what
that underlying conduct was. See, e.g.,
United States v. Sandoval-Lopez, 122 F.3d 797, 802
n.9 (9th Cir. 1997) (“We avoid constitutional questions
when an alternative basis for disposing of the case presents
arguments are predicated on the assertion, largely
unsupported by citation to the record, that Defendants
“created a false Autopsy Report claiming an extreme
departure from the standard of care, which is the
medico-legal term for homicide, and a false homicide
investigation which was designed to and did ‘shut
[Valley] down.'” (Opp. to Calmes MSJ at 4:26-28;
Opp. to County MSJ at 4:21-23.) Plaintiff also makes frequent
references to a “false homicide determination”
throughout its oppositions to Defendants' motions.
evidentiary support for Plaintiff's assertions is unclear
to the court. The court notes that neither of Plaintiff's
memoranda in opposition to the instant motions includes a
statement or recitation of the relevant facts. Instead, in an
apparent attempt to circumvent the local rules of this
district, Plaintiff refers to the “Declaration of the
Statement of the Facts by Declarant Brian Oxman.” The
Oxman declaration, prepared by a non-attorney
“litigation coordinator, ” in turn recounts 23
pages of “facts” that, although purportedly
within Oxman's personal knowledge, are, in many cases,
characterizations of what “the record shows.”