Simmons v. Rodriguez, et al.

Filing 48

ORDER GRANTING Defedants' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 4/17/17. CASE CLOSED.(Mena-Sanchez, L)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 Rachel Simmons, 12 15 1:15-cv-00818-JAM-EPG Plaintiff, 13 14 No. v. ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Correctional Officer Rodriguez, et al., Defendants. 16 Plaintiff Rachel Simmons’ husband Armando Simmons (“Mr. 17 18 Simmons”) died of a drug overdose after being taken from Avenal 19 State Prison to the hospital. 20 Plaintiff sued Correctional Officers Rodriguez and Hall 21 (“Defendants”). 22 judgment, ECF No. 35, which Plaintiff opposes, ECF No. 45. 1 Following Mr. Simmons’ death, ECF Nos. 1, 26. Defendants move for summary 23 I. 24 FACTS Mr. Simmons was in custody at Avenal State Prison on May 30, 25 26 27 28 1 This motion was determined to be suitable for decision without oral argument. E.D. Cal. L.R. 230(g). The hearing was scheduled for April 18, 2017. 1 1 2013. 2 ## 1, ECF No. 45-1. 3 pacing around in his cell naked. 4 Defendant Hall to assist him. 5 Mr. Simmons’ cell door and Mr. Simmons slid to the ground. 6 #8. 7 to the medical cell. 8 9 Pl.’s Resp. to Defs. Statement of Undisputed Facts (“UF”) Defendant Rodriguez noticed Mr. Simmons UF #5. UF #6. Rodriguez asked Rodriguez and Hall opened UF Rodriguez and Hall lifted Mr. Simmons up and helped him walk Id. In the medical cell, the nurse could not take Mr. Simmons’ vital signs because he would not stay still. UF #13. Sergeant 10 Ruis, Rodriguez and Hall’s supervisor, called for an emergency 11 vehicle. 12 twenty minutes later and took Mr. Simmons to the prison’s medical 13 center. 14 not take Mr. Simmons’ vitals. 15 for an ambulance to take Mr. Simmons to the hospital. 16 The ambulance took Mr. Simmons to Coalinga Regional Medical 17 Center, where he died of a methamphetamine overdose. 18 UF ##11, 15. UF ##17, 18. The emergency vehicle arrived about The doctors at the medical facility could UF #21. The medical staff called UF #22. UF #23. Plaintiff brings three causes of action in her amended 19 complaint. First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) at 6-9. 20 first and second claims are labeled as “Violation of the Eighth 21 Amendment…” claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 22 Court cannot discern a legal distinction between these two 23 claims, and therefore treats the first and second claims as one 24 claim for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs 25 brought as a survival action on behalf of Mr. Simmons. 26 also brings a third claim for loss of spousal relationship under 27 the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 28 /// 2 Both the Id. at 5, 7. The Plaintiff FAC at 8. 1 II. OPINION 2 A. Evidentiary Objections 3 Defendants object to the declaration of Tyrone Evans, ECF 4 No. 45-4, attached to Plaintiff’s opposition brief. 5 to Pl.’s Evid. (“Defs.’ Obj.”) at 1, ECF No. 47. 6 attorney states that Plaintiff “has never served any disclosures 7 under Rule 26(a)(1) in this case.” 8 3. 9 Defs.’ Obj. Defendants’ Allin Decl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 35- A “party [who] fails to provide information or identify a 10 witness as required by Rule 26(a) or (e), [cannot] use that 11 information or witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a 12 hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was substantially 13 justified or is harmless.” 14 did not disclose Tyrone Evans as a witness and has not provided 15 a justification for that failure. 16 Defendants’ objection and will not consider Mr. Evans’ 17 declaration in deciding Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1). Plaintiff The Court therefore sustains 18 Defendants also object to two sentences in the coroner’s 19 report attached as Exhibit A to Plaintiff’s opposition brief. 20 Defs.’ Obj. at 2. 21 noticed that Armando was nude and talking to himself. 22 approached, he became violent, shouting that he had used 23 Methamphetamine and was a ‘Brainiac.’” 24 45-3. 25 foundation. Defs.’ Obj. at 2. 26 Defendants. The coroner was not present at the event he 27 describes in the report and does not have personal knowledge of 28 what occurred or what Mr. Simmons said. The sentences state: “On May 31, 2013, guards When Opp’n, Exh. A, ECF No. Defendants argue these sentences are hearsay and lack The Court agrees with 3 See Fed. R. Evid. 602. 1 The Court therefore will not consider the two sentences for 2 purposes of this motion. 3 B. 4 5 Analysis 1. Deliberate Indifference Claim Deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious medical 6 needs violates the Eighth Amendment proscription against cruel 7 and unusual punishment. 8 (1976). 9 deliberate indifference claim: “the seriousness of the prisoner's 10 medical needs and the nature of the defendant's response to those 11 needs.” 12 Nov. 26, 2013). 13 treat a prisoner's condition could result in further significant 14 injury or the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” 15 (internal quotation marks omitted). 16 deliberate indifference if he knows a prisoner “faces a 17 substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by 18 failing to take reasonable steps to abate it.” 19 Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 A court must consider two elements in assessing a Mallett v. Sepulveda, 2013 WL 6185593, at *2 (N.D. Cal. “A serious medical need exists if the failure to Id. A prison official acts with Id. Defendants argue they did not act deliberately indifferent 20 toward Mr. Simmons because “[w]hen Rodriguez and Hall observed 21 Simmons’ unusual behavior, they promptly delivered Simmons to 22 the medical holding cell” to see the nurse and “informed the 23 supervising sergeant.” 24 Mot. at 6. Plaintiff argues Rodriguez and Hall acted with deliberate 25 indifference because “[i]nstead of calling for an outside 26 ambulance, which could have drastically cut down the time that 27 it took to get Mr. Simmons to the hospital, [they] only called 28 for medical assistance and then placed Mr. Simmons in a holding 4 1 cell until he was transported to the [prison’s] medical 2 facility.” 3 Opp’n at 4. Defendants respond that they “diligently attended to 4 Simmons’s needs.” 5 “Plaintiff has produced no evidence that Rodriguez or Hall knew 6 of any medical need that could not have been addressed by the 7 prison medical staff.” 8 9 Reply at 1. Additionally, Defendants contend Id. at 2. The Court agrees with Defendants. The undisputed facts and the evidence presented by the parties show Defendants responded 10 to Mr. Simmons’ medical needs by removing him from his cell, 11 taking him to the nurse, and notifying their supervisor. 12 Plaintiff has not submitted any evidence to show that Defendants 13 ignored Mr. Simmons or that his symptoms indicated that he 14 needed to go to the hospital immediately. 15 medical attention for Mr. Simmons when they discovered he needed 16 it. 17 fact as to whether Defendants acted with deliberate 18 indifference. 19 summary judgment on Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claim. Plaintiff has not identified a genuine issue of material 20 2. 21 22 Defendants sought out The Court therefore grants Defendants’ motion for Third Claim: Loss of Spousal Relationship Under Substantive Due Process Family members have a liberty interest in companionship with 23 one another, and a state actor's interference with that 24 relationship may violate procedural or substantive due process 25 rights. 26 Cal. Dec. 9, 2014). 27 conscience,” however, gives rise to a due process violation. 28 Barber v. City of Santa Rosa, 2010 WL 5069868, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Raygoza v. City of Fresno, 2014 WL 6929590, at *13 (E.D. Only official conduct that “shocks the 5 1 Dec. 7, 2010) (citing Lewis, 523 U.S. at 846, 854–55). 2 plaintiff can establish that an officer's conduct “shocks the 3 conscience” by showing the officer acted with either deliberate 4 indifference or the more stringent “purpose to harm.” 5 v. Kurtz, 2013 WL 1927119, at *9 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 16, 2013) 6 (internal quotation marks omitted). 7 A Cosentino As discussed above, Plaintiff has failed to show that 8 Defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward Mr. Simmons. 9 Plaintiff has also failed to provide any evidence showing 10 Defendants acted with the purpose to harm Mr. Simmons. 11 Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s loss of 12 spousal relationship claim is granted. 13 14 15 16 17 18 III. ORDER For the reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: April 17, 2017 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6

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