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Shaka v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

March 4, 2015

Shaka, Plaintiff,
Charles Ryan, et al., Defendants.


STEPHEN M. McNAMEE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Shaka, who is a prisoner in the custody of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Yuma ("ASPC-Yuma"), brought this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 33.) Defendants Ryan and Chenail move for summary judgment (Doc. 254), and Plaintiff opposes and cross moves for summary judgment (Doc. 292), which Defendants oppose (Doc. 301).[1]

The Court will grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and will deny Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. Background

Plaintiff's claims stem from his incarceration at the ASPC-Eyman in Florence, Arizona and ASPC-Yuma in San Luis, Arizona. (Doc. 33 at 1, 25.) The single remaining claim in this action concerns the alleged deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs as set forth in Count II of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint. Plaintiff alleged that in January 2010 he injured his shoulder and, despite submitting a Health Needs Request ("HNR") on January 8, 2010, he did not see a physician until May 18, 2010. ( Id. at 25.) Dr. Herrera examined Plaintiff at that time and initially diagnosed a torn rotator cuff. ( Id. ) X-rays were scheduled and a request for an MRI was submitted. ( Id. )

Plaintiff was transferred to ASPC-Yuma on June 11, 2010. On August 10, 2010, the Facility Health Administrator ("FHA"), Defendant Dennis Chenail, interviewed Plaintiff. Chenail told Plaintiff that medical staff in Yuma had no way of knowing if and when Plaintiff would be seen by an orthopedic specialist, or if orthopedic surgery would be approved, and that it would probably be sometime in 2011 before Plaintiff could be seen because of all the inmates in fourteen complexes waiting to be seen. Plaintiff further alleged that Defendant Chenail "approved the delay of medical care" on August 12, 2010, and that Defendant Arizona Department of Corrections ("ADC") Director Charles Ryan approved the delay in medical care and lack of surgery on September 22, 2010. ( Id. )

Plaintiff alleged that he was in constant pain and was denied pain medication because his injury "does not meet AD[]C's c[h]ronic definition." ( Id. ) Plaintiff eventually received surgery on March 4, 2011, fourteen months after his injury. Plaintiff seeks damages. ( Id. at 27.)

On March 6, 2013, the Court denied Defendants' first motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's medical deliberate indifference claim in Count II. (Doc. 193.) The Court determined that genuine factual disputes existed as to whether Defendants Ryan and Chenail were aware of and disregarded a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff in failing to ensure he received a timely appointment with an orthopedic specialist and treatment for his injury.

In a March 19, 2014 Order, the Court granted Defendants leave to file a second motion for summary judgment in light of the Ninth Circuit's recent en banc decision in Peralta v. Dillard, 744 F.3d 1076 (9th Cir. 2014), which held that a lack of resources is a defense to liability for constitutional violations if an official could not procure the resources necessary to prevent the violation. (Doc. 241.) Defendants' second Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment are now before the Court.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

A court "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Under summary judgment practice, the moving party bears the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record, together with affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party who must demonstrate the existence of a factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986), and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id. at 250; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). The opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor; it is sufficient that "the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial." First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968).

When considering a summary judgment motion, the court examines the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits or declarations, if any. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). At summary judgment, the judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The evidence of the non-movant is "to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255. But, if the evidence of the non-moving party is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Id. at 248-49. Conclusory allegations, unsupported by factual material, are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). See Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) ("[c]onclusory, speculative testimony in affidavits and moving papers is insufficient to raise genuine issues of fact and defeat summary judgment").

III. Relevant Facts

The undisputed and disputed relevant facts are derived from the parties' separate Statements of Fact and supporting exhibits (Docs. 252, 293), as well as facts and exhibits submitted by the parties in support of their original cross-motions for summary judgment (Docs. 173, 183).[2]

A. ADC's Healthcare Contracts

In 2009, the Arizona Legislature passed legislation that reduced the reimbursement rate to ADC's outside medical contractors. (Doc. 252 ¶¶ 14-16.) A.R.S. § 41-1608, which became effective November 24, 2009, set the maximum reimbursement rates to outside providers at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System ("AHCCCS") rates. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Two providers, Carondelet Health Network ("CHN") and Maricopa Integrated Health Systems ("MIHS"), canceled their specialty services contracts with the ADC in November 2009 due to their refusal to accept the AHCCCS rates.[3] ( Id. ¶ 17.)

In December 2009, ADC's Health Services Bureau compiled a list of specialty providers willing to see ADC inmates at AHCCCS rates and distributed the list to the facilities in January 2010. (Doc. 252 ¶ 20.)

As of February 8, 2010, ADC had two orthopedic physicians-one in Phoenix and one in Tucson-available to provide emergency care to inmates throughout the state. (Doc. 252 ¶ 38.) By June 17, 2010, two general orthopedists in Sierra Vista, Arizona, were willing to accept ADC inmates. ( Id. ¶ 42.) On July 15, 2010, ADC entered into a contract with Iasis Healthcare, which included seven orthopedic physicians from Physicians Group of AZ, Inc. ( Id. ¶ 43.) On August 19, 2010, ADC updated its list of available specialty providers to include nine orthopedic physicians.[4] ( Id. ¶ 45.)

After the change in reimbursement rates, ADC's Health Services Division instituted a process for centralized review by the Medical Program Manager of ongoing specialty consultation requests in order to prioritize them for approval. (Doc. 252 ¶ 21.) A review committee "triaged and prioritized outside consultation request [sic] based on acuity, and, if approved, it then forwarded the request to Health Services at the ADC's Central Office." ( Id. ¶ 64.) Dr. Rowe, the Medical Program Manager, or a delegated staff member, "reviewed all of the specialty consultation requests for final approval, " and, once approved by the Central Office, the local Clinical Coordinator would schedule the outside appointments with contracted providers. ( Id. ¶¶ 64-65.)

Defendants Ryan and Chenail were not directly involved in procuring new contracts for medical services, which was the responsibility of ADC's Procurement Services Unit. (Doc. 252 ¶ 46.) Neither Ryan nor Chenail are licensed medical professionals and neither made decisions regarding medical issues or directed medical treatment.[5] ( Id. ¶¶ 9, 82.)

According to Defendants, from the time CHN and MIHS canceled their contracts in November 2009 until the July 2010 contract with Iasis, ADC experienced a backlog of inmates requiring specialty services, including orthopedic services, and this backlog continued through 2011. (Doc. 252 ¶ 48.) As of December 12, 2011, over 1, 700 inmates ...

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