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Williams v. Borg

filed*fn*: October 3, 1991.

SAMMY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
R. G. BORG; B.A. TEXTOR; DR. BURGANT; DR. SHELDER AND M. SPANOS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE. SAMMY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, V. R. G. BORG; B.A. TEXTOR; DR. BURGANT; DR. SHELDER; SPANOS; TEXTOR; DR., DR. BURVANT, DR. SHEDLER AND M. SPANOS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEES; SAMMY WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, V. R. G. BORG; B.A. TEXTOR; DR. BURGANT; DR. SHELDER AND M. SPANOS; TEXTOR; DR., DR. BURVANT, DR. SHEDLER AND M. SPANOS, DEFENDANT-APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California; D.C. Nos. CV-89-1681-EJG, CV-89-1683-EJG, CV-89-1636-MLS; Milton L. Schwartz, District Judge, Presiding, Edward J. Garcia, District Judge, Presiding.

Canby and Kozinski, Circuit Judges and William Flemming Nielsen,**fn** District Judge.

MEMORANDUM

Sammy Williams filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 in federal district court alleging that prison officials had denied him adequate medical treatment in violation of the eighth amendment. Williams had previously brought a habeas corpus proceeding and a motion for specific performance in California state court also alleging that prison officials' deliberate indifference to his medical needs constituted an eighth amendment violation. Based on the record before it, the state court dismissed Williams' state court actions.

The defendants moved in district court for summary judgment on the ground that Williams was seeking to re-litigate in federal court the same claim that had been litigated and decided in the state court action. The district court referred the matter to a United States Magistrate. The Magistrate recommended that the court grant the defendants' motion for summary judgment because the principles of res judicata barred the federal action; the issues presented had already been fully and fairly litigated in state court. The district court adopted the Magistrate's findings and recommendations and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Williams appeals.

We reverse and remand to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this disposition.

FACTS

Sammy Williams entered Folsom State Prison on January 27, 1989. He presents the following version of what occurred there: upon arrival, he was issued a pair of high-top boots, but advised the issuing officer that he was unable to wear that type of boot because a recent arterial bypass operation had left scar tissue on his left ankle. A prison doctor, Dr. Milliman, warned Williams that wearing the high-top boots could cause a break down of the scar tissue which would result in opening the wound. Williams filed an Institutional Grievance requesting low-cut shoes on April 14, 1989. Williams alleges that he never received the requested shoes from the prison, and that the prison officials denied his requests to send home for them.

Shortly thereafter, the scar tissue in Williams' ankle did break down, leaving the wound open. Williams started receiving medical treatment from Dr. Burvant, another prison doctor. Dr. Burvant applied a medicated bandage called an "unna's boot" to Williams' ankle. Williams alleges that this treatment aggravated the existing wound and caused an additional open wound on the other side of his ankle. Williams repeatedly requested that he be provided with certain medications that he had used effectively prior to entering Folsom.*fn1 The prison officials determined that the requested medications posed a security risk and denied Williams' requests.

Williams filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in Sacramento County Superior Court on August 7, 1989. The Petition alleged facts pertaining only to Dr. Burvant, the application of an unna's boot, and the denial of requested medications and low-cut shoes. On September 8, 1989, Judge Ridgeway of the Superior Court requested the defendants to show cause why the writ of habeas corpus should not be issued. Judge Ridgeway directed the defendants to address two issues only:

(1) Whether petitioner has received boots sufficient to meet his medical needs, and if not, why?

(2) Whether Folsom Officials are able to acquire the low-cut boots from another institution . . . and if so, why have they not so acquired these boots?

Defendants' response to Judge Ridgeway's inquiry is not contained in the record. On September 12, 1989, Williams filed a Motion for Specific Performance in the same state court requesting that the court compel the prison officials to provide appropriate shoes and medication.

On October 1, 1989, Dr. Burvant was replaced at Folsom by Dr. Shedler. Dr. Shedler's treatment of Williams' ulcerated ankle wound consisted of twice-daily soakings in what Williams' contends were unsterilized containers and the spraying of commercial chlorine bleach on Williams' foot and ankle. When Williams' wounds did not improve, he sent home for the medications that he had used previously, but a prison doctor returned these. In addition, the doctor denied Williams' repeated requests to see a specialist.

In November of 1989, Williams filed his section 1983 action in federal district court requesting injunctive relief and damages. On December 1, 1989, the district court asked the California Deputy Attorney General, attorney for the defendants, ...


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