United States District Court, D. Arizona
Sammy T. Williams, Plaintiff,
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.
G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge
Sammy T. Williams, who is currently confined in Arizona State
Prison Complex (ASPC)-Lewis, brought this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) The Parties
cross-move for summary judgment. (Docs. 32, 36.)
Complaint, Plaintiff relevantly alleged as follows. Plaintiff
is a chronic care inmate with multiple sclerosis (MS), is in
a wheelchair, wears a metal leg brace for stability, and is
in constant pain.
Count One, Plaintiff alleges that he took Gabapentin, but
when his prescription expired, Defendants Elijah and Ndemanu
refused to renew it and requested that he pick an alternative
antidepressant, but none of those medications would have been
equal to Gabapentin in controlling Plaintiff's
neuropathy. . . . .
Count Two, Plaintiff alleges that he had a serious fall in
which he injured his hip and exacerbated his prior spine
injuries, but Defendants Elijah and Ndemanu refused to
discuss Plaintiff's pain or treatment with him, and have
refused to give him the results of x-rays of his cervical and
Count Three, Plaintiff alleges that after his fall, he
requested an MRI, but Corizon will only provide an x-ray from
a machine that does not work properly, that Elijah and
Ndemanu refused to order an MRI for Plaintiff's hip, that
Defendant Ende took Plaintiff off the doctor's line and
refused to discuss medical issues or pain-related issues with
Plaintiff, and that Defendant Corizon refuses to authorize
follow-up care ordered by a doctor outside the prison
regarding Plaintiff's MS protocol.
Count Four, Plaintiff alleges that he needs a back brace to
stabilize his spinal column, but Defendant Ende refused to
discuss the issue with Plaintiff, and Corizon refuses to
provide proper care because it wants to increase its profit
screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court
determined that Plaintiff stated Eighth Amendment claims
based on constitutionally deficient medical care against
Corizon in Counts One through Four, against Defendants Elijah
and Ndemanu in Counts One through Three, and against
Defendant Ende in Counts Two through Four. (Doc. 8 at 7.) The
Court dismissed the remaining claims and Defendants.
(Id. at 7-9.)
Summary Judgment Standard
must 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). The movant bears
the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of the record, together
with affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
movant fails to carry its initial burden of production, the
nonmovant need not produce anything. Nissan Fire &
Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Co.,
Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). But if
the movant meets its initial responsibility, the burden
shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate the existence of a
factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material
(a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law), and that the dispute is genuine (the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmovant). Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 250 (1986); see Triton
Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th
Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish a material issue
of fact conclusively in its favor, First Nat'l Bank
of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89
(1968), but must “come forward with specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial, ”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal citation
omitted). 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 court must believe
the nonmovant's evidence and draw all inferences in the
nonmovant's favor. Id. at 255.
is an inmate in the custody of the Arizona Department of
Corrections. Defendant Corizon provides healthcare to the
inmates. Defendant Ndemanu, Elijah, and Ende were employees
of Defendant Corizon at all times relevant to the allegations
in this action.
was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2005. (Doc. 37
¶ 1; Doc. 56 at 5 ¶ 1.) While there is no cure for
MS, it is manageable through physical therapy and appropriate
medications that slow disease progression. (Doc. 37 ¶ 2;
Doc. 56 at 5 ¶ 2.) Prior to their first encounter, Dr.
Itoro Elijah reviewed a Health Needs Request in which
Plaintiff requested renewal of various special needs orders
(SNO). (Doc. 37 ¶ 3.) On August 9, 2016, Elijah
authorized SNOs for Plaintiff, including an ankle/foot
orthotic, cane, orthotic shoes, sunglasses, a shower chair, a
left knee brace, wheelchair gloves, an extra pillow, an extra
blanket, a wheelchair cushion, a lower bunk assignment, no
stairs, an ADA shower, an ADA porter, and meals in his living
quarters. (Doc. 37 ¶ 4; Doc. 56 at 6 ¶ 4.) Elijah
also reviewed Plaintiff's recent neurology records in
which the specialist recommended a repeat ...