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Turner v. Naph Care Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

May 9, 2018




         The District Court has referred this action, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to United States Magistrate Judge David W. Christel. Plaintiff Jonathan Donnell Turner, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, initiated this civil rights action in July of 2017.

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants violated his rights when they provided him deliberately indifferent medical care. However, Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing this action. Further, he has alleged only a single incident of neglect, which is not sufficient to show constitutionally deficient medical care. Finally, he has only alleged general supervisory liability as to Defendant NaphCare, which is also not enough to show deliberate indifference. Therefore, the Court recommends Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (“Motion”) (Dkt. 21) be granted and Plaintiff's action be dismissed.


         Plaintiff initially filed his complaint in July of 2017. Dkt. 1. Pursuant to an Order from this Court (Dkt. 5), Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in September of 2017 (Dkt. 9). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Janel French gave him an antidepressant instead of his blood pressure medication on one occasion. Dkt. 9. He also alleges Defendant John Doe, an unknown corrections officer, failed in his duty to double-check the medication before Plaintiff received it. Id. He finally alleges Defendant NaphCare, Inc., failed in its duty to hire reliable medical staff and failed to “follow up” on “urgent medical treatment or care.” Id. at 3. He does not explain whether he informed Defendant NaphCare he needed care. Id. He also alleges the Pierce County Jail failed in its duty to provide him medical care. Id.

         Plaintiff filed an initial grievance with the Pierce County Jail. Dkt. 9 at 8. He did not file an appeal or second tier grievance, and generally alleges he failed to appeal because jail staff failed to listen to his verbal requests. Id. at 7. Defendant “Pierce County Prison Facility” moved for summary judgment in December of 2017, and the District Court granted summary judgment in February of 2018. Dkts. 19, 30-32. Defendants French and NaphCare filed a Motion to Dismiss in December of 2017. Dkt. 21. The Court converted the Motion to Dismiss to a Motion for Summary Judgment in February of 2018 and provided the parties an opportunity for supplemental briefing. Dtk. 31. Defendants filed a supplement, but plaintiff did not. Dkt. 33.That Motion is currently before the Court.


         Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “the court shall 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.” A party asserting a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the 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.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). All facts and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Furnace v. Sullivan, 705 F.3d 1021, 1026 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Torres v. City of Madera, 648 F.3d 1119, 1123 (9th Cir. 2011); Tarin v. County of Los Angeles, 123 F.3d 1259, 1263 (9th Cir.1997).

         As the party moving for summary judgment, Defendants have the initial burden to demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact remains in this case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986); In re Oracle Corp. Securities Litigation, 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010). A “material” fact is one which is “relevant to an element of a claim or defense and whose existence might affect the outcome of the suit, ” and the materiality of which is “determined by the substantive law governing the claim.” T.W. Electrical Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Electrical Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         Mere “[d]isputes over irrelevant or unnecessary facts, ” therefore, “will not preclude a grant of summary judgment.” Id. Rather, the nonmoving party “must produce at least some ‘significant probative evidence tending to support the complaint.'” Id. (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 290); see also California Architectural Building Products, Inc., 818 F.2d at 1468 (“No longer can it be argued that any disagreement about a material issue of fact precludes the use of summary judgment.”). Since Plaintiff has the burden of proof at trial, if Defendants demonstrates that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, Plaintiff is still required to present admissible evidence to prove that there exists a material issue of fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, ...

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