United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, U.S. District Court Judge.
before the Court are Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment
(Dkt. 101), Defendant Sergeant Timothy Higgms' Cross
Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 102), Plaintiffs Motion to
Compel (Dkt. 108), Plaintiffs Motion to Appoint Counsel (Dkt.
109) and Plaintiffs Motions for Subpoenas (Dkts. 113, 114).
Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that
the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented and
oral argument is unnecessary. See Loc. Civ. R.
March 31, 2014, Plaintiff Jody Carr, an inmate in the custody
of the Idaho Department of Correction ("IDOC"),
filed a Civil Rights Complaint (Dkt. 1) against various
entities and employees of the IDOC and Corizon. After
reviewing Plaintiffs original Complaint, Magistrate Judge
Ronald E. Bush issued an Initial Review Order (Dkt. 13) on
October 15, 2014 instructing Plaintiff to file an amended
complaint, which Plaintiff did on February 6, 2015 (Dkt. 20).
Plaintiffs Amended Complaint included a litany of allegations
against numerous individuals and entities. Upon reviewing
Plaintiffs Amended Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e) & 1915A, the Court determined that Plaintiff
could proceed on a number of claims including the following:
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical care claim
against Corizon employees Rory York, Dr. Whinnery, Tina
Williams and Shelly Mallet; Eighth Amendment interference
with medical care claim against former IDOC employee Tim
Higgms; Eighth Amendment failure to protect claims against
Sergeant Link, Sergeant Carter, and Lieutenant Aiello; First
Amendment mail interference claims against Officer Maddox and
Lieutenant Woodland; and a First Amendment free speech claim
against former IDOC employee Edward Mechtel. See
Dkt. 27 at 27-28. The parties filed cross motions for summary
judgment, and on March 17, 2017 the Court granted summary
judgment in favor of all Defendants, and entered judgment
accordingly (Dkt. 86).
the Court dismissed the Eighth Amendment interference with
medical care claim against Defendant Higgms on the basis that
Plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies, it
did not reach the merits of Defendant's Cross-Motion for
Summary Judgment. Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal from the
March 17, 2017 Judgment on April 3, 2017 (Dkt. 87). On
October 26, 2017, the Ninth Circuit found that the District
Court had properly granted summary judgment on Plaintiffs
failure to exhaust administrative remedies for all Defendants
except for Higgins and Mechtel. See Dkt. 92 at 3.
Specifically, with regards to those Defendants, the Ninth
Circuit found Plaintiff had provided evidence that prison
staff "prevented him from exhausting his claim against
Higgins by refusing to collect his concern forms."
Id. As such, the March 17, 2017 Judgment was
reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings
against Defendants Higgins and Mechtel. Id. The
Court then granted Plaintiffs Motion to Dismiss Defendant
Mechtel (Dkt. 93) because Plaintiff was pursuing his claims
against Mechtel in another matter: Carr v. Higgins, et
al., No. 1:13-cv-00380-REB. See Dkt. 97. Thus
all that remains in this case is the Eighth Amendment
interference with medical care claim against Defendant
Higgins. See Dkt. 92 at 3.
judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court's role at summary judgment
is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of
the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue
for trial." Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d
436, 441 (9th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). In considering a
motion for summary judgment, the Court must "view the
facts in the non-moving party's favor." Id.
To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the respondent need
only present evidence upon which "a reasonable juror
drawing all inferences in favor of the respondent could
return a verdict in [his or her] favor." Id.
Accordingly, the Court must enter summary judgment if a party
"fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322 (1986). The respondent cannot simply rely on an unsworn
affidavit or the pleadings to defeat a motion for summary
judgment; rather, the respondent must set forth the
"specific facts," supported by evidence, with
"reasonable particularity" that preclude summary
judgment. Far Out Prods., Inc. v. Oskar, 247 F.3d
986, 997 (9th Cir. 2001).
moving party who does not bear the burden of proof at trial
may show that no genuine issue of material fact remains by
demonstrating that "there is an absence of evidence to
support the non-moving party's case."
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. Once the moving party
meets the requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
by either showing that no genuine issue of material fact
remains or that there is an absence of evidence to support
the non-moving party's case, the burden shifts to the
party resisting the motion who "must set forth specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256
(1986). It is not enough for the non-moving party to rest on
mere allegations or denials in his pleadings. Id. at
256. Genuine factual issues must exist that can be resolved
only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be
resolved in favor of either party. Id. at 250. When
determining if a genuine factual issue exists, a trial judge
must bear in mind the actual quantum and quality of proof
necessary to support liability. Id. at 254. The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of a
plaintiff s position would be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff. Id. at 252. Furthermore, Rule 56(c)
mandates the entry of summary judgment, "after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
42 U.S.C. § 1983, to maintain an Eighth Amendment claim
based on inadequate 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. McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.2d 1050 (9th
Cir.1991), overruled on other grounds by WMX Techs., Inc.
v. Miller, 104 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 1997) (en banc).
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 1059. Second, the plaintiff
must show the defendant's response to the need was
deliberately indifferent. Id. at 1060. This second
prong-deliberate indifference-is satisfied by showing (a) a
purposeful act or failure to respond to a prisoner's pain
or possible medical need and (b) harm caused by the
indifference. Id. Indifference "may appear when
prison officials deny, delay or intentionally interfere with
medical treatment, or it may be shown by the way in which
prison physicians provide medical care." Id. at
1059. Yet, an "inadvertent [or negligent] failure to
provide adequate medical care" alone does not state a
claim under § 1983. Id. A prisoner need not
show his harm was substantial, but serious harm would provide
additional support for the inmate's claim that the
defendant was deliberately indifferent to his needs.
Id. at 1060. If the harm is an "isolated
exception" to the defendant's "overall
treatment of the prisoner [it] ordinarily militates against a
finding of deliberate indifference." Jett v.
Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006).
Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment Claim is the Only Claim Before
outset of this litigation, in its Initial Review Order, the
Court limited Plaintiffs case against Sergeant Higgms to his
claim for interference with medical care under the Eighth
Amendment. Dkt. 13. Plaintiff, in his Motion for Summary
Judgment, for the first time requests Ms court grant relief
against Sergeant Higgms based on the conditions of his
confinement, and Defendant Higgms'
"retaliation." Dkt. 101-1 at 1. Specifically,
Plaintiff points to Defendant's failure to house him in
the conditions of confinement as ordered in the "Balla
Injunction," resulting in inadequate medical care for
"potentially fatal disease Clostridium Difficile
(C-Diff)." Id; see also Dkt. 101-2 at
5. Mr. Carr's Motion for Summary Judgment also includes a
claim that Defendant was retaliating against him "to
hinder, thwart and dissuade the Plaintiff from exercising his
First Amendment rights." Id. at 4. Whether
Sergeant Higgms was responsible for those conditions, whether
those conditions violated Mr. Carr's constitutional
rights, and whether Sergeant Higgms retaliated against Mr.
Carr in violation of the First Amendment is not at issue in
this case. The Court will restrict itself to Plaintiffs claim
in the Amended Complaint that Sergeant Higgms was
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need based
upon Sergeant Higgms' interference with medical care in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Mr. Carr Fails to Adduce Evidence on Which a Reasonable Juror