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Schulz v. Frost

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 22, 2015

STEVEN R. SCHULZ, Plaintiff,


B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.


Before the Court are Defendant Debra Frost's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.31-1) and Defendants Officer Colon and Sergeant Johannessen's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt.35-1). For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant both motions.


Schulz filed his complaint on March 21, 2013 (Dkt.3). The Court issued its initial review order on October 15, 2013 (Dkt.11). The Court allowed Schulz to proceed against Nurse Frost, Officer Colon, and Sgt. Johannessen. The Court dismissed CMS/Corizon, SICI, Brian Finn, and Rona Seigert. The Court also permitted Schulz to proceed against Anita Travis, but this Defendant has yet to be served.

The Court allowed Schulz to proceed against Nurse Frost on the allegation that the situation required more emergency action, noting that "liberally construed, this stated a claim for deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment." Dkt.11, p. 9. The Court also permitted a claim to proceed against Frost under the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause for allegedly "disclosing private medical information to other inmates during the course of the investigation." Id . The Court held that Schulz could not proceed on a verbal abuse claim because this was not sufficient to constitute a constitutional deprivation. Id . The Court also noted that HIPAA does not provide a private cause of action. Id., p. 8.

The Court allowed Schulz to proceed with a single cause of action against Officer Colon and Sgt. Johannessen. The Court liberally construed the allegations that they conducted their investigation in a public and not private manner "as a cognizable substantive due process claim under the Fourteenth Amendment." Id.


Summary judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to any claim or defense, "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). One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment "is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims...." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). It is "not a disfavored procedural shortcut, " but is instead the "principal tool[ ] by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant unwarranted consumption of public and private resources." Id. at 327. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact "that may affect the outcome of the case." Id. at 248.

The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence. McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir. 1988).

The Court must be "guided by the substantive evidentiary standards that apply to the case." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255. If a claim requires clear and convincing evidence, the question on summary judgment is whether a reasonable jury could conclude that clear and convincing evidence supports the claim. Id.

The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact. Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001)(en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528, 532 (9th Cir.2000).

This shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor. Deveraux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show "by her [ ] affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file" that a genuine dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

However, the Court is "not required to comb through the record to find some reason to deny a motion for summary judgment." Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (quotation omitted). Instead, the "party opposing summary judgment must direct [the Court's] attention to specific triable facts." ...

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