Robertson v. Kitsap County et al

Filing 90

ORDER denying 86 Defendants Johnson's and Steven's Motion to Certify; signed by Judge Ronald B. Leighton.(DN)

Download PDF
HONORABLE RONALD B. LEIGHTON 1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA 7 8 TIMOTHY ROBERTSON, CASE NO. C15-5422-RBL 9 Plaintiff, 10 11 v. ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO CERTIFY AND TO STAY KITSAP COUNTY, et al. DKT. #86 12 Defendants. 13 14 THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Johnson’s and Steven’s Motion for 15 Certification of Issues to the Ninth Circuit and for a Stay of Proceedings [Dkt. #86]. Plaintiff 16 Robertson alleges that after he broke a tooth at the Kitsap County Jail, Johnson and Stevens were 17 deliberately indifferent to his dental needs by inadequately treating him and by delaying referring 18 him to a dentist for two months. The Court denied Johnson’s and Steven’s motion for summary 19 judgment, concluding the record, taken in the light most favorable to Robertson, presented 20 genuine disputes of material facts. The Court also denied their motion for reconsideration. 21 Defendants now ask the Court to certify two questions to the Ninth Circuit: (1) whether a 22 plaintiff claiming deliberate indifference to his medical needs is required to present competent 23 medical evidence from a medical practitioner showing his serious medical need and that a delay 24 ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO CERTIFY AND TO STAY - 1 1 or denial of treatment was a proximate cause of his tangible residual injury, and (2) whether a 2 plaintiff claiming deliberate indifference to his medical needs is required to present competent 3 medical evidence from a medical practitioner that the defendant fell below the standard of care. 4 They argue if the Ninth Circuit answers these questions in the affirmative, Robertson’s claims 5 against them must be dismissed. They ask the Court to stay the case in the interim. Robertson 6 argues the Court should deny Defendants’ request because only questions of fact remain. 7 A district court may certify a non-final order for interlocutory appeal where it “involves a 8 controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion” and 9 where “an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of 10 11 the litigation.” 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). The Defendants attempt to convert a question about the sufficiency of the evidence into a 12 question of controlling law. Their proposed questions show they take issue with the Court’s 13 conclusion that Robertson offered sufficient evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could 14 return a decision in his favor. 15 “Evidence insufficiency” claims are not immediately appealable. See Johnson v. Jones, 16 515 U.S. 304, 313, 115 S. Ct. 2151, 2156, 132 L. Ed. 2d 238 (1995). In Johnson v. Jones, the 17 Supreme Court considered whether three defendant police officers were entitled to an 18 interlocutory appeal on their argument that insufficient evidence supported the district court’s 19 conclusion that there were material issues of fact surrounding whether they had participated in 20 allegedly beating the plaintiff. See id. at 307 (asking for an appeal on immunity grounds under 21 Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 524–29, 105 S.Ct. 2806, 2814–17, 86 L.Ed.2d 411 (1985)). 22 The Court held “that a defendant … may not appeal a district court’s summary judgment order 23 24 DKT. #86 - 2 1 insofar as that order determines whether or not the pretrial record sets forth a ‘genuine’ issue of 2 fact for trial.” Id. at 319–20. 3 The same holds true here. The Defendants may not escape trial by contorting their 4 displeasure with the Court’s view of the evidence into an apparent question of law. Because the 5 Defendants have not presented a controlling issue of law appropriate for certification, their 6 Motion for Certification and for a Stay [Dkt. #86] is DENIED. 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. 8 Dated this 26th day of June, 2017. 10 A 11 Ronald B. Leighton United States District Judge 9 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 DKT. #86 - 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?