United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
LYNN WINMILL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Court has before it Defendants Gooding County, Shaun Gough,
William Shubert, and Jesus Gonzalez's (Gooding County
Defendants) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 66); Defendants
Blaine County and Gene D. Ramsey's (Blaine County
Defendants) Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 67); and
Defendant Judith Peterson's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Dkt. 68). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to
Strike (Dkt. 73) and Blaine and Gooding County
Defendants' Motion to Strike (Dkt. 79). The Court heard
oral argument on June 25, 2018, and now issues the following
following facts are material to the resolution of the issues
in this case. Where material facts are in dispute, the Court
has included Plaintiff's version of facts, insofar as
that version is not contradicted by clear documentary
evidence in the record. See Scott v. Harris, 550
U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
August 14, 2014, Plaintiff Scott Hanson underwent surgery for
removal of cataracts in his right eye. Wood Decl.
Ex. 1 85:10-25, 87:4-5, Dkt. 71-1 (“Hanson Dep.”)
Because complications during the surgery prevented Mr.
Hanson's surgeon, Dr. William Fitzhugh, from removing all
of the lens material, a second surgery was scheduled for
August 21. Id. Ex. 2 at 1, Dkt. 72-2
(“Fitzhugh Statement”). This surgery went
“very well.” Id. Dr. Fitzhugh also
performed surgery on Mr. Hanson's left eye on September
11, without complication. Id. Afterwards, Dr.
Fitzhugh told Mr. Hanson to continue taking previously
prescribed medication, including Prednisone, a topical
anti-inflammatory eye drop medicine. Id. He also
told Mr. Hanson to let him know of any loss of vision,
flashing lights, or “floater” phenomena in either
eye. Id.; Hanson Dep. 31:4, Dkt.
71-1. A follow-up appointment was scheduled for two
to three weeks later. Id.
on September 19, Mr. Hanson was arrested for a parole
violation, and was not allowed to take his eye drops with him
to jail. Hanson Dep. 23:17-27:21, Dkt. 71-1. During
the booking process, Mr. Hanson told the booking officer,
Deputy Hitt, that he needed immediate medical attention
because he was taking eye drops for post-cataract surgery
care and had not been allowed to bring them. Davis
Decl. Ex. A, Booking Video, Dkt. 67-4; Def.'s
SOF ¶ 3. Mr. Hanson also told Deputy Hitt that he
was taking five medications: Prozac, Buspar, Ibuprofen,
Zyrtec, Prilosec, and one whose name he could not remember.
Davis Decl. Ex. A, Booking Video, Dkt. 67-4. Mr.
Hanson was told that there was no one in the nurse's
station at that time and that he would be seen as soon as
there was. Hanson Dep. 48:8-20, Dkt. 71-1.
of the booking process, Deputy Hitt completed a booking form,
which both he and Mr. Hanson signed. Davis Decl. Ex.
B at 4, Dkt. 67-5; Carey Aff. Ex. B 54:18-21,
55:2-4, Dkt. 68-6. It contained the following questions and
Do you need immediate medical attention (if yes,
Y MENTAL HEALTH MEDS
Do you currently have any health problems?
Y CATARACT SURGERY, MENTAL HEALTH
Are you currently taking any medication?
Y PROZAC, BUSPAR, IBPROFEN, ZYRTEC, PRILOSEC, AND ONE
Which pharmacy do you use?
Davis Decl. Ex. B at 4, Dkt. 67-5.
Peterson was a licensed nurse employed by Correctional
Healthcare Companies (“CHC”), which Blaine County
contracted with to provide medical care to inmates at the
jail. Carey Aff. Ex. A 15:24-16:5, 26:4-16,
27:16-20, Dkt. 68-5. After reviewing Mr. Hanson's booking
report, Defendant Peterson called Albertsons to verify and
order Mr. Hanson's prescriptions. Peterson Dep.
49:5-9, Dkt. 71-5. However, she did not order his Prednisone
eye drops, despite Mr. Hanson's standing prescription for
them at that pharmacy. Hanson Dep. 35:5-7, Dkt. 71-1.
Hanson was held in Blaine County Jail until September 22, and
did not remember being seen by any medical personnel during
this time. Hanson Dep. 49:2-6, Dkt. 71-1. On
September 22, Defendant Shubert transported Mr. Hanson to
Gooding County Jail. Wood Decl. Shubert Deposition
Exhibits 29:8-16 (“Shubert Dep.”), Dkt. 71-3.
Throughout the drive, Mr. Hanson “complained of [his]
eye condition and need for medications and medical
attention.” Supp. Wood Decl. Ex. 1 at 2, Dkt.
Mr. Hanson arrived at Gooding County Jail, he explained his
needs to Defendant Gonzalez, the booking officer, and stated
that he had been off his medications for 72 hours. Supp.
Wood Decl. Ex. 1 at 2, Dkt. 75-3; Hanson Dep.
30:8-31:6, Dkt. 71-1. Defendant Gonzalez told him that only
an emergency would justify seeing medical staff sooner that
the regular Wednesday visit, and that he did not think it was
an emergency in Mr. Hanson's case. Id. In
response, Mr. Hanson stated that “this was prescribed
medication that [he] needed to be using on an hourly
basis” and “reiterated the circumstances
regarding [his] eye surgery and [his] need for [his] eye
drops and follow-up care.” Id.
September 23, Mr. Hanson completed an inmate request form, or
“kite, ” requesting a doctor's appointment
and asking that his prescriptions be renewed. Wood
Decl. Shubert Deposition Exhibits at 23, Dkt. 71-3. The
following day, Mr. Hanson was seen by Dr. Olson, the doctor
who had a contract to provide medical services to Gooding
County Jail detainees at that time. Hanson Dep.
30:18-31:9, Dkt. 71-1; Shubert Dep. 51:19-23, Dkt.
66-8. Dr. Olson “acknowledge[d] the seriousness of
[his] condition and ordered [his] prescriptions, including
eye drops, from Kendrick pharmacy.” Supp. Wood
Decl. Ex. 1 at 3, Dkt. 75-3; Hanson Dep.
31:7-12, Dkt. 71-1.
on September 24, the Gooding County Jail received Mr.
Hanson's prescriptions from the Kendrick pharmacy.
Gonzalez Dep. 31:2-32:6, Dkt. 71-4. Mr. Hanson saw
the delivery truck from the pharmacy arrive, but even though
he told jail staff that his medicine was on the truck, he was
transported back to Blaine County Jail without having
received them. Hanson Dep. 31:8-23, Dkt. 71-1. He
was told that the medicine was too expensive and that he
would have to get it at Blaine County Jail. Id.
the drive, Mr. Hansen explained that he was experiencing what
looked like “black ink” raining down from the top
part of his eye, and that his eye was full of
“floaters.” Id. 32:9-22. When he arrived
back at Blaine County Jail, Mr. Hanson immediately demanded
to be seen by medical staff because he had lost all sight in
his right eye. Supp. Wood Decl. Ex. 1 at 5, Dkt.
75-3. They refused, and later that day, Mr. Hanson filled out
a kite in which he stated that his eyes were “sore and
cloudy.” Peterson Deposition Exhibits, Part 2 at 7,
September 25, Mr. Hanson told Defendant Peterson that he
needed his Prednisone, and that he had just gotten a
prescription from Dr. Olson in Gooding. Carey Aff.
Ex. B 34:4-10, Dkt. 68-6. Defendant Peterson ordered the
Prednisone, and Mr. Hanson received it within three hours.
September 29, Mr. Hanson filed another kite stating
“loss of sight in right eye, ” “need to be
seen by outside provider ASAP, ” and “medication
not being dispensed as prescribed.” Wood Decl.
Peterson Deposition Exhibits, Part 2 at 8, Dkt. 71-7.
Defendant Peterson called Dr. Fitzhugh's office and spoke
with the doctor on call, who told her to send Mr. Hanson to
the Twin Falls emergency room. Carey Aff. Ex. A
82:3-23, Dkt. 68-5. However, she did not do so, even though
she had told Mr. Hanson that they would get him to the
emergency room if she could not reach Dr. Fitzhugh.
Hanson Dep. 115:5-12, Dkt. 71-1. Instead, Mr. Hanson
saw Dr. Williams, an optometrist. Supp. Wood Decl.
Ex. 1 at 4, Dkt. 75-3. By the time Mr. Hanson saw Dr.
Williams, he was “completely blind in [his] right
Fitzhugh saw Mr. Hanson on October 1. Fitzhugh
Statement at 2, Dkt. 72-2. At this time, Mr.
Hanson's “visual acuity in his right eye was less
than 20/400” and “[h]is intraocular pressure was
reduced to zero which is a common concomitant of retinal
detachment.” Id. Though Dr. Fitzhugh
immediately referred Mr. Hanson to retinal subspecialists in
Boise, a series of surgeries failed to improve Mr.
Hanson's vision, which has progressively declined.
Id. In Dr. Fitzhugh's opinion, “the delay
in examination and denial of prescribed necessary
medications” was the cause of the decline. Id.
October 31, 2014, Mr. Hanson filed a claim for damages
pursuant to the Idaho Tort Claims Act with Gooding County and
Blaine County. Compl. ¶ 32, Dkt. 46. The claims
were denied. Id. Mr. Hanson filed a complaint in
this Court on September 16, 2016. (Dkt. 1.)
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.
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.
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).
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.
Federal Law Claims
Defendants seeks dismissal of Mr. Hanson's federal claims
against them because there has been no showing they were
deliberately indifferent to Hanson's medical needs, they
are protected by qualified immunity, and there is no basis
for municipal liability. Defendant Peterson asks the Court to
dismiss all of Mr. Hanson's federal claims against her
because Hanson has not shown she was deliberately indifferent
to his medical needs. The Court will address each of these
Hanson claims that Defendants violated his constitutional
rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments through
their deliberate indifference to his medical needs while he
Deliberate Indifference Under the Eighth Amendment
Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects
prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment while
incarcerated. Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to maintain an
Eighth Amendment claim based on prison medical treatment, an
inmate must show “deliberate indifference to serious
medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 104 (1976). In the Ninth Circuit, the test for deliberate
indifference consists of two parts. Jett v. Penner,
439 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2006). First, the plaintiff must show
a “serious medical need” by demonstrating that
“failure to treat a prisoner's condition could
result in further significant injury or the unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain.” Id. at 1096.
Second, the plaintiff must show the defendant's response
to the need was deliberately indifferent. Id. at
1060. Additionally, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the