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Robledo v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Arizona

February 24, 2017

Paul Anthony Robledo, Plaintiff,
Nicole Taylor, et al., Defendants.


          James A. Teilborg Senior United States District Judge

         As a result of the screening of Plaintiff's second amended complaint, one count remained in this case: an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to serious medical needs claim against Defendant Taylor. (Doc. 16 at 7). Following discovery, now pending is Defendant Taylor's motion for summary judgment on this remaining claim. (Docs. 89 and 90). Plaintiff received a Rand warning (Doc. 91). Plaintiff then filed a response to Defendant Taylor's motion (Doc 145) and a statement of facts (Doc. 146). Defendant filed a reply. (Doc. 152). Defendant also objected to Plaintiff's statement of facts and filed a supplemental statement of facts therewith. (Doc. 153). Defendant included certain sealed exhibits with the supplemental statement of facts. (Doc. 157). Plaintiff then filed a controverting statement of facts to Defendant's supplemental statement of facts. (Doc. 198).

         I. Background

         Plaintiff is suing Defendant Taylor, who was a psychologist at ASPC-Lewis, for allegedly denying him constitutionally adequate medical care. This Court previously summarized the remaining count as follows:

In Count One, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Taylor denied him constitutionally adequate medical care in violation of the Eighth Amendment. On December 12, 2012, one of Plaintiff's alternate personalities took control of his mind and body causing him to become mute. Plaintiff submitted a health needs request regarding his muteness on December 18, 2012, and Defendant Taylor “refused to perform a mental health assessment” or refer Plaintiff to a different medical provider. Plaintiff and Defendant Taylor did have a “session” on December 18, 2012, and Plaintiff communicated to Defendant Taylor that he was suffering from some kind of mental illness and was not able to speak. Plaintiff alleges that his session with Defendant Taylor on December 18 was not recorded and that she falsified her reports of their December 18 and March 13, 2013 sessions. Plaintiff claims that muteness can become permanent if it goes untreated. Plaintiff further claims that he has been diagnosed with muteness stemming from a mental illness.

Doc. 16 at 3.

         Notwithstanding the allegations of the complaint, as of today Plaintiff is arguing he suffers from “aphasia” and that Defendant Taylor's liability stems from her treatment of Plaintiff's aphasia. (Doc. 145 at 5).

         Initially in her motion, Defendant Taylor summarizes Count One as it is recounted by Plaintiff in the second amended complaint. (Doc. 89 at 2). Later in her motion, and with her reply, Defendant Taylor presents evidence that Plaintiff's new theory of aphasia is not supported by medical evidence because Plaintiff did not suffer the requisite brain injury to have this condition. (Doc. 89 at 8; Doc. 152 at 5).

         II. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “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 asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support that assertion by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, ” including depositions, affidavits, interrogatory answers or other materials, or by “showing that materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Id. 56(c)(1). Thus, summary judgment is mandated “against a party who 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 Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         Initially, the movant bears the burden of pointing out to the Court the basis for the motion and the elements of the causes of action upon which the non-movant will be unable to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The burden then shifts to the non-movant to establish the existence of material fact. Id. A material fact is any factual issue that might affect the outcome of the case under the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The non-movant “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts” by “com[ing] forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). A dispute about a fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248. The non-movant's bare assertions, standing alone, are insufficient to create a material issue of fact and defeat a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 247-48. However, in the summary judgment context, the Court construes all disputed facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Ellison v. Robertson, 357 F.3d 1072, 1075 (9th Cir. 2004).

         At the summary judgment stage, the trial judge's function is to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. There is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 249-50. If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, the judge may grant summary judgment. Id.

         III. Legal Standard for a Deliberate Indifference Claim

         “Denial of medical attention to prisoners constitutes an Eighth Amendment violation if the denial amounts to deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of the prisoner.” Toussaint v. McCarthy, 801 F.2d 1080, 1111 (9th Cir. 1986) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). There are two prongs to the deliberate-indifference analysis: an objective prong and a subjective prong. Under the objective prong, a prisoner must show a “serious medical need.” Jett v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). “A ‘serious' medical need exists if the failure to treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction ...

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