United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, Chief U.S. District Court Judge
September 13, 2017, United States Magistrate Judge Candy W.
Dale issued a Report and Recommendation
(“Report”) recommending summary judgment be
granted in favor of defendants on Plaintiff Brad
Vanzant's claims with two exceptions. The Report
recommended that the Court: (1) deny Defendant Veronica
Ferro's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment claim; and (2) deny Defendant IDOC's
motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim under
the Americans with Disabilities Act. See Sept. 13, 2017
Report, Dkt. 116. For the reasons explained below, the
Court will accept and adopt the Report in part, and will
reject the Report in part.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this Court “may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings and
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” Where
the parties object to a report and recommendation, this Court
“shall make a de novo determination of those portions
of the report which objection is made.” Id.
Where no objections are filed the district court need not
conduct a de novo review. Rather, “the Court
need only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the
face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation.” Advisory Committee Notes to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 (citing Campbell v. United States Dist.
Court, 501 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974)).
Court has conducted a de novo review of those
portions of the Report objected to by the parties. Otherwise,
the Court conducted a review of the entire Report, as well as
the record in this matter, for clear error.
factual and procedural background of this case are correctly
stated in the Report, and the Court adopts the same. The
Court restates a portion of relevant facts here only as
necessary to help explain its decision.
is incarcerated at the Idaho State Correctional Institution
(ISCI). He filed this action in March 2015, alleging that
defendants violated his constitutional rights and his rights
under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. § 12101, et. seq. by denying him a
wheelchair, accessible housing, and adequate pain medication.
arrived at ISCI on December 24, 2014 in a
wheelchair-assessible van, in a wheelchair. Before that, he
had been housed at Ada County Jail. During his jail stay,
Vanzant had a wheelchair.
first stop at ISCI was Unit 7, which is where newly arriving
offenders are placed for initial intake. The parties dispute
how Vanzant made his way into Unit 7. Vanzant says he was
wheeled into Unit 7 in a wheelchair and that he never walked
at all. See Vanzant Dep., Dkt. 106-13, at 32:2-6.
IDOC Officer William Kilby, on the other hand, who was there
to meet the Ada County transport van, reports that Vanzant
walked into the unit. Kilby Dec., ¶¶ 3-4,
Dkt. 70-7. On summary judgment, the Court accepts
Vanzant's version of the facts.
Vanzant finished in Unit 7, the next stop was Unit 15 for
“completion of the Receiving and Diagnostic Unit (RDU)
process, ” which takes roughly 1.5 to 3 hours.
Craig Dec., Dkt. 70-6, ¶ 3. The RDU process
includes orientation to prison rules and regulations,
gathering of medical history, and an initial medical, mental
health, and physical examination. Id. ¶ 4.
Under RDU policy, “[w]hen a patient arrives from a
facility, such as Ada [County Jail] with a wheelchair or a
prescription for a certain medication . . . th[e] course of
care will be continued for a period of seven days, during
which time the patient will be evaluated by a prescribing
provider, such as a physician or nurse practitioner, to
assess the further course of treatment.” Ferro
Dec., Dkt. 73-6, ¶ 8. Also under RDU policy, the
evaluating health care professional can offer a wheelchair
accommodation, if he or she determines the patient has a
medical need for one for a maximum period of five days
pending review and approval by a prescribing physician.
was wheeled from Unit 7 to Unit 15, Craig Dec., Dkt.
70-6, ¶ 5, but he reports that immediately upon his
arrival into Unit 15, Defendant Effie Reed-Rodriguez took the
wheelchair away. Reed-Rodriguez was one of the LPNs working
in Unit 15 that day; Defendant Veronica Ferro was another LPN
on duty in Unit 15.
Unit 15 there is a classroom (where Vanzant was delivered)
and a separate “medical examination room area.”
See Vanzant Dec., Dkt. 106-5, ¶ 62. After the
classroom session was completed, Vanzant reports that Ferro
and Reed-Rodriguez ordered him to walk from the classroom to
the medical exam room area, which was about 25 feet away.
Id. Vanzant said he could not walk; he was then
offered a walker or crutches, which he refused. See
Vanzant Dep., Dkt. 106-13, at 42:18 to 43:7.
explains that she understood Vanzant could walk because an
IDOC employee had informed her that Vanzant had walked into
Unit 7 that day and, further, the Ada County Jail Health
Services Administrator had told her that Vanzant was faking
it and did not really need a wheelchair. See Ferro
Dec., Dkt. 73-6, ¶ 6. Ferro also reports that she
provided nursing care to Vanzant roughly one year earlier and
he had been able to ambulate without a wheelchair at that
time. Based on all this information, Ferro said she
understood Vanzant could ambulate without a wheelchair.
Id. ¶ 10.
event, after Vanzant did not walk to the medical screening
area, he was sent to segregated housing (Cell 78) for
refusing to follow an order. Vanzant was transported to Cell
78 in a wheelchair, but he was not otherwise provided a
wheelchair from December 24 to December 31, 2014. See
Id. ¶ 9; Vanzant Dec., Dkt. 106-5,
next day, December 25, Nurse Cassidy Barny visited Vanzant to
determine if a wheelchair was necessary. Vanzant testified as
follows regarding that visit:
Q: So I'm going to ask you one more time: It's
accurate that Ms. Barny had come to see you on December
Q: 2014, to determine whether or not a wheelchair was
necessary; is that correct?
Q: And the assessment did not occur because you wanted to see
a doctor; is that correct?
Q: And then you submitted another HSR on December