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Acuna v. Corizon Inc.

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 3, 2018

Jonathan Villalobos Acuna, Plaintiff,
Corizon Inc., et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Jonathan Villalobos Acuna, who was previously confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Florence, brought this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Defendants move for summary judgment. (Doc. 27.) Although Plaintiff was informed of his right and obligation to respond to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff failed to respond, and the time to do so has expired. The Court will grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and terminate the action.[1]

         I. Background

         Plaintiff sued for violations of his Eighth Amendment right to medical care stemming from Defendants' alleged failure to treat his brain tumor. (Doc. 1.) On screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that Plaintiff stated an Eighth Amendment medical care claim against Defendants Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) Director Charles Ryan and Corizon Health[2] and ordered them to answer. (Doc. 6.) The Court dismissed the remaining claims and Defendants. (Id.)

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         A court 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.

         If the 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, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., 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); however, it 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); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

         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. In its analysis, the court must believe the nonmovant's evidence and draw all inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Id. at 255. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider any other materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

         III. Relevant Facts[3]

A. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff alleges the following facts in his Complaint:

         In June 2014, Plaintiff began experiencing pressure behind his eyes. (Doc. 1 at 5.)[4] He also experienced blinding headaches and seeing flashing lights when he closed his eyes. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff was sent to the optometrist and told to buy Tylenol from the prison commissary. (Id. at 5.)

         On July 1, 2016, Plaintiff had an MRI. (Id. at 6.) On July 25, 2016, Plaintiff underwent surgery to have a brain tumor removed and “8 plates and 16 screws were placed” in his forehead. (Id.) Plaintiff was placed on very high doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen which caused him to have stomachaches and blood in his stool. (Id.) At some point, a radiologist diagnosed Plaintiff with a second brain tumor. (Id. at 5.)

         Defendant Corizon is delaying treatment for the tumor and is not giving Plaintiff the correct medications. (Id.) Defendants Corizon and Ryan have a policy of denying and delaying treatment for inmates' serious medical needs. (Id. at 6-7.) Defendant Ryan awarded the contract for the provision of inmate healthcare to Defendant Corizon based on Defendant Corizon's policy of delaying and denying treatment to save money. (Id. at 7.) All decisions made by Defendant Corizon are final and not subject to appeal, and inmates who use the non-medical grievance policy to grieve medical issues are labeled as vexatious and lose good-time credits. (Id.) Staff members who handle grievances have been directed not to grant relief to inmates. (Id.) Defendant Ryan is ...

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