United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION IN PART AND
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) of the Honorable J.
Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge (Dkt. 73),
Plaintiff Christopher Miller's (“Miller”)
objections to the R&R (Dkt. 75), and Defendant Shelli
Hudson's (“Hudson”) objections to the R&R
November 8, 2017, Judge Creatura issued the R&R
recommending that the Court grant Defendants Margaret
Gilbert, Daniel Van Ogle, Douglas McCarty, Casey Wilbur, Star
Miller, Victor Martinez, Cory Ellis, Eric Mainio, and
Hudson's (collectively “Defendants”) motion
for summary judgment in part and deny it in part. Dkt. 73.
Specifically, Judge Creatura recommends granting the motion
as to all Defendants except Hudson because material questions
of fact exist on Miller's claim against Hudson for
failure to provide adequate medical care. Id. The
question of fact is whether Hudson deliberately ignored
Miller's repeated requests for treatment during the days
after an incident involving the forceful removal of handcuffs
that were improperly placed on Miller. Id. On
November 17, 2017, Miller filed objections. Dkt. 75. On
November 22, 2017, Hudson filed objections. Dkt. 76.
district judge must determine de novo any part of the
magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly
objected to. The district judge may accept, reject, or modify
the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or
return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.
case, three main issues exist. First, Judge Creatura
recommends that the Court grant summary judgment to the
officer who improperly applied the handcuffs and the officers
who forcefully removed the handcuffs from Miller. Dkt. 73 at
5-7. Although Miller objects to this recommendation, the
Court agrees with Judge Creatura that no evidence exists to
create a question of fact that either event was a malicious
and sadistic attempt to cause harm. The improper application
of the handcuffs was at most a negligent attempt to restore
discipline and order after an inmate altercation. Similarly,
the officers' use of the bolt cutters to remove the
handcuffs was a reasonable attempt to help Miller and relieve
the pain from the over-tightened cuffs. Therefore, the Court
adopts the R&R on this issue and grants Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on Miller's Eight Amendment
claim for excessive force.
Judge Creatura recommends that the Court deny Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on Miller's claim for failure
to provide adequate medical care. Dkt. 73 at 7-10. Judge
Creatura found that a material question of fact exists
whether Miller received adequate medical care in
administrative segregation for the days that followed the
incident. Id. at 9-10. Miller declares that he sent
numerous requests to medical staff for medical attention and
that most of the requests went unanswered. Dkt. 62-1 at 31,
¶ 26. Judge Creatura concluded that, “[i]f
plaintiff's kites notified defendant Hudson that
plaintiff was seriously injured and required additional
medical treatment, but she chose to ignore him, it could
constitute an intentional deprivation of medical care in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.” Dkt. 73 at 10
(citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-05
(1976)). Hudson objects to this conclusion arguing that
“[t]here is no evidence in the record that any medical
kites were directed to Ms. Hudson or were ignored by
her.” Dkt. 76 at 11. Although the Court agrees with
Hudson, the lack of evidence specifically identifying Hudson
does not result in resolution of Miller's claim. In his
complaint, Miller alleges that Defendants “Pat
Doe” medical practitioners denied him medical treatment
while he was placed in segregation. Dkt. 36 at 10, ¶ 47.
Miller supports this allegation with a declaration and
medical reports showing that medical staff may not have
checked on him for the first six days he was in segregation.
Dkts. 62-4 at 28, 62-5 at 14. Further clarity is required to
determine whether Pat Doe is an unnamed defendant, which
creates procedural problems at this point of the proceeding,
or whether Pat Doe is in fact Hudson, which is a reasonable
inference taking the evidence in the light most favorable to
Miller. Therefore, the Court declines to adopt the R&R on
this issue, and remands for further proceeding to resolve
these, as well as other potential issues.
Judge Creatura recommends that the Court dismiss Miller's
claims against Defendants Gilbert and Van Ogle because Miller
fails to show personal participation in the deprivation of
his rights. Dkt. 73 at 10-11. The Court agrees as to Van
Ogle, and Miller does not object to this portion of the
R&R. Thus, the Court adopts the R&R as to Van Ogle.
The Court, however, finds that there is a possibility that
Gilbert personally participated. Miller contends and cites
evidence to show that Gilbert personally denied Miller's
grievances relating to the alleged failure to provide
adequate medical care. Dkt. 75 at 4. Thus, to the extent that
Gilbert did personally participate in a claim, the Court
declines to adopt the R&R on this issue and remands for
further proceedings to address this evidence.
the Court having considered the R&R, the parties'
objections, and the remaining record, does hereby find and
order as follows:
R&R is ADOPTED in part;
Court GRANTS Defendants' motion for
summary judgment as to Defendants Van Ogle, McCarty, Wilbur,
Miller, Martinez, Ellis, and Mainio;
Court DECLINES to adopt the R&R in part
and remands for further proceedings regarding Miller's