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Lantis v. Marion County

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 13, 2014

CORBETT L. LANTIS, Plaintiff,
v.
MARION COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

Corbett L. Lantis, N.E., Salem, OR 97305, pro se.

Kirstin E. Lurtz, Marion County Counsel, Salem, OR, Of Attorneys for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Corbett L. Lantis ("Lantis"), brings this action against numerous employees and contract staff of the Marion County Jail, the Marion County Work Center, and the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Lantis alleges violations of his Eighth Amendment and First Amendment rights, his rights under Article I, section 16 of the Oregon Constitution, as well as violations of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Rehabilitation Act"), the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and Or. Rev. Stat § 659.100. Defendants are Marion County, Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers, Marion County Jail Commander Sheila Lorance, Marion County Sergeant Dale Bradley, Marion County Deputy Sheriff Troy Guest, and John Doe Medical Staff 1-4 (collectively "Defendants"). Defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants Defendants' motion.

STANDARDS

A party is entitled to summary judgment if the "movant shows that 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). The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257 (9th Cir. 2001). Although "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge... ruling on a motion for summary judgment, " the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is] insufficient...." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (1986). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quotations and citation omitted). A court must liberally construe the filings of a pro se plaintiff and afford the plaintiff the benefit of any reasonable doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Marion County Sheriff's Office ("MCSO") operates the Marion County Jail ("Jail") and the Marion County Work Center ("Work Center"), which functions as a transition center for inmates between serving time at the Jail and spending time under the supervision of the Marion County Parole and Probation Division. From February 8, 2011 to February 13, 2011, Lantis was housed at the Jail. On either February 12 or 13, 2011, Lantis was transferred to the Work Center, where he remained until March 10, 2011. On March 10, 2011, Lantis was moved back to the Jail, where he remained until May 17, 2011, when he was transferred to the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Lantis suffers from Hodgkin's disease, also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer. Upon his arrival at the Jail, Lantis informed members of the Jail staff about his disease and the medications he was taking at that time. Lantis informed four unidentified members of the medical staff at the Jail several times that damage to his endocrine system caused by the treatments for his Hodgkin's disease made testosterone and multiple other medications "vital to his health." Despite this information, the medical staff did not provide Lantis with testosterone.

On February 13, 2011, Lantis was assigned to Defendant Troy Guest's ("Guest") work crew at the Work Center, where Lantis worked until March 10, 2011. The Work Center provides minimum-security supervision over inmates to prepare them for release to the community. At the Work Center, residents are expected to work, either at their own jobs, or by performing community service. The Work Center has a "pass" system in place, whereby inmates may apply for permission to leave the Work Center on a short term basis. Through this pass system, an inmate may leave the Work Center for "appropriate purposes, " such as employment, medical appointments, and shopping. Unlike in the Jail, Work Center inmates are responsible for coordinating their own medical care, including payment for treatment. Therefore, if an inmate expresses an inability to pay for his medical care he may be reassigned to the Jail, where medical care is no longer the inmate's financial responsibility and is provided by trained medical staff.

On February 25, 2011 and March 1, 2011, Guest authorized passes for Lantis to pick up his prescriptions. On March 10, 2011, Lantis again requested a pass from Guest for the purpose of going to the West Salem Medical Clinic, Shopko, and Dollar Tree to get his testosterone and other medications. Guest denied Lantis's request. Guest states that he denied Lantis's request because Lantis could not provide an explanation for why he did not pick up all necessary medication on his two previous approved leaves. In response to the pass denial, Lantis asked to file a formal grievance with Guest, to which Guest responded by threatening to file a disciplinary report against Lantis. When Lantis told Guest that he could not work because of his illness, Guest informed Lantis that he was fired from his work crew and charged Lantis with two Work Center rule violations: (1) "behavior that seriously disrupts routine facility operations, " and (2) "refusing to obey an order." Lantis immediately appealed Guest's denial of the pass to Defendant Dale Bradley ("Bradley"), a Sergeant in the Institutions Division and the primary supervisor at the Work Center.

In response to Lantis's appeal, Bradley examined Lantis's medications and found four prescriptions, none of which were testosterone and all of which were dispensed on Lantis's previous visit to the pharmacy on February 25, 2011. Lantis informed Bradley that he needed the third pass to obtain testosterone, but was unable to afford it, and that he was too infirm to work without the testosterone. Bradley determined that Lantis was abusing the pass system by requesting leave to visit the pharmacy on March 10, 2011 when "[Lantis] had no intention to make any purchases there." Bradley also decided that Lantis needed to return to the Jail because Lantis "refused to" work and the Work Center could not adequately attend to his medical needs.

Subsequently, Lantis requested an administrative review of his rule violation charges, and Deputy Derek Hayman ("Hayman") conducted a hearing on March 17, 2011. The Hearing Report shows that Hayman found Lantis guilty of disruptive behavior and not guilty of refusing to obey an order. The Hearing Report also upheld Lantis's reassignment from the Work Center to the Jail based on Lantis's inability to receive appropriate medical care at the Work Center. As further explanation for the reassignment, the Hearing Report found that Lantis should not have been argumentative with the deputies.

Upon his return to the Jail, Lantis continued to inform the medical staff of his need for testosterone and the negative effects of not having it. Additionally, Lantis advised the medical staff to contact his physician regarding his need for testosterone. During the time that Lantis was in custody, Marion County contracted with ConMed Inc., for the provision of physician services at the Jail. The nurses at the Jail, unlike the physicians, are Marion County employees. Marion County personnel do not supervise or direct the provision of medical care to inmates. When Lantis was at the Jail, ConMed physicians conducted all examinations and made decisions regarding the provision of his prescriptions. Nurses at the Jail did not prescribe medicine, but only administered medications ordered by a physician pursuant to the directions provided by that physician.

Lantis submitted numerous medical request forms and grievances regarding the medical staff's denial of his testosterone to Defendant Jason Myers ("Myers"), the Sheriff of Marion County, and Defendant Sheila Lorance ("Lorance"), employed by MCSO as the Commander of the Institutions Division. Lantis asserts that Myers and Lorance refused to acknowledge the seriousness of his medical condition and continued to deny him testosterone. Lantis further asserts that Meyers and Lorance denied his grievances and did not take any action against the medical staff. Lantis states that because of the denial of his testosterone, in the three months he was incarcerated at the Jail, he fell out of his cell multiple times, struck his head and body on objects in his cell, experienced dizziness, low blood pressure, poor appetite, fatigue, personality changes, psychological changes, and lost 50 pounds.

On May 17, 2011, Lantis was transferred to the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections. Lantis was released from the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections on March 23, 2012.

ANALYSIS

A. Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.800[1]

Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.800 describes the enforcement powers of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ("BOLI") regarding unlawful employment practices. Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.800. Section 659A.800 defines the scope of the powers and duties of BOLI, and subsequent sections provide the remedies and procedures regarding unlawful employment actions. Because Lantis was never employed by any of the Defendants, Or. Rev. Stat. § 659A.800 is inapplicable to Lantis's allegations. Thus, even under the liberal pro se pleading standards, Lantis ...


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