United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BE GRANTED (ECF
Quintana (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in
this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. This action is proceeding “against defendant Dr.
Scharffenberg on Plaintiff's claim for deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the
Eighth Amendment.” (ECF No. 11, p. 7).
20, 2019, defendant Dr. Scharffenberg
(“Defendant”) filed a motion for summary
judgment. (ECF No. 34). On July 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed his
opposition. (ECF No. 38). Defendant filed his reply on July
26, 2019. (ECF No. 39).
motion for summary judgment is now before the Court. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will recommend that
Defendant's motion for summary judgment be granted.
Summary of Plaintiff's Complaint
was incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment
Facility (“SATF”) at all times relevant to this
is a medical doctor at SATF, and was Plaintiff's primary
care physician at all times relevant to this case.
alleges that he suffers from “severe pain in his neck
and back, ” and that he informed Defendant of his pain
“during appointments and for chronic care visits, for
the last 16 months.” Plaintiff states that Defendant
was aware of Plaintiff's condition because he reviewed
Plaintiff's medical records and possessed general
knowledge of Plaintiff's medical history, but failed to
investigate and adequately monitor Plaintiff's condition
so that he could provide Plaintiff with effective treatment.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant chose to ignore
Plaintiff's complaints of pain, and failed to provide
“medical treatment (providing pain medications)”
for his pain.
further claims that Defendant discontinued his medication for
pain, and as of “today's date” Defendant had
not ordered a reinstatement of Plaintiff's pain
alleges that Defendant's lack of treatment caused
Plaintiff's condition to worsen, causing extreme pain in
Plaintiff's neck and back.
alleges that Defendant acted in conscious disregard of an
excessive risk of harm to the health and safety of Plaintiff.
alleges that the severe pain in his neck and back affected
his daily activities, and that the lack of treatment exposed
Plaintiff to “the risk of temporary and permanent
damage.” Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant's
deliberate delays in providing medical treatment for
Plaintiff's pain and muscle cramps resulted in
Plaintiff's muscles being weak.
alleges that Defendant violated his Eighth Amendment rights
because Defendant denied and delayed Plaintiff's access
to medical treatment.
Plaintiff's exhibits, Plaintiff attached a 602 he filed,
on which he alleged, among other things, that “Dr.
Scharffenberg refused to acknowledge my dissability [sic]
chronos, [or] examin [sic] the handball sized cervical disc
protrusion on my neck that[']s causing severe
pain.” (ECF No. 1, p. 16). Plaintiff also seems to have
alleged that Defendant falsified a medical record.
Court screened Plaintiff's complaint. (ECF No. 11). The
Court ordered that “[t]his action proceed against
defendant Dr. Scharffenberg on Plaintiff's claim for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation
of the Eighth Amendment.” (Id. at 7).
DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
moves for summary judgment “because the undisputed
facts prove that he was not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs and/or is entitled to
qualified immunity.” (ECF No. 34-1, p. 2). Defendant
argues that “Plaintiff cannot meet either the objective
or subjective component necessary to establish deliberate
indifference against Dr. Scharffenberg.” (Id.
“was receiving Oxcarbazepine for pain management”
when he saw Defendant on November 3, 2016. (Id.).
“In Dr. Scharffenberg's medical opinion,
Oxcarbazepine was an appropriate medication to treat
Plaintiff's neuropathic pain and Plaintiff was receiving
an appropriate dosage. Dr. Scharffenberg reviewed
Plaintiff's medical history and medications and performed
a physical examination, which was unremarkable. Plaintiff was
doing okay on his present medications, i.e., his vitals were
normal and there was no indication that he was suffering any
adverse reactions. Dr. Scharffenberg scheduled him for a
follow-up in three to five months and did not
discontinue Plaintiff's pain medication.
Moreover, there is no record of Plaintiff submitting any
health care service request forms to notify staff of any
issues following this encounter, and Dr. Scharffenberg is
unaware of Plaintiff submitting any such forms.”
(Id.) (emphasis in original) (citations omitted).
Scharffenberg saw Plaintiff again on April 19, 2017.
Plaintiff was prescribed Oxcarbazepine for pain management.
This time, Plaintiff complained of pain in his neck with
certain twisting motions and numbness and tingling down his
left arm with certain positions on his back. Plaintiff's
physical examination was unremarkable. Dr. Scharffenberg
encouraged Plaintiff to exercise by walking and offered him
Tylenol for his neck pain, which he declined. Dr.
Scharffenberg did not discontinue Plaintiff's
pain medication. Moreover, there is no record of
Plaintiff submitting any health care service request forms to
notify staff of ...