United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge.
a former inmate at the Snake River Correctional Institution,
filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and
denial of his rights to equal protection under the law.
Defendants now move for summary judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 56 on all claims. For the reasons set
forth below, defendants' motion is granted, in part.
is a former inmate who was confined at the Snake River
Correctional Institution (SRCI) in Ontario. During the
relevant time period, Colette Peters was the Director of the
Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC), Steven Shelton,
M.D., was the ODOC Medical Director, J. Elliott-Blakeslee was
a physician assigned to SRCI, Jason Bell was the Assistant
Superintendent of SRCI, and James Taylor was an ODOC
September 16, 2013, plaintiff filed suit and alleged that
defendants refused to approve and administer testosterone
injections that he had been prescribed prior to his
incarceration at SRCI. Plaintiff further alleged that Dr.
Elliott-Blakeslee advised him that he could not receive
testosterone injections unless he had Klinefelter's
Disease, pursuant to ODOC policy. Plaintiff also alleged that
defendants provided inadequate treatment for his back
condition. (ECF No. 2)
March 10, 2014, defendants moved to dismiss plaintiffs claims
because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
before filing his complaint. (ECF Nos. 55, 56) On March 2,
2015, the court granted defendants' motion, construed as
a motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 87)
appealed the court's ruling and the Ninth Circuit vacated
the dismissal, finding that the court had not
"expressly" considered evidence that plaintiff was
not provided with "instructions on how to file an
appeal, that he did not have access to the necessary forms,
or that he had been informed by a prison official that he
could appeal his grievances." (ECF No. 112)
4, 2017, after remand of the case, the court issued a
scheduling order and dispositive motion deadline. Defendants
now move for summary judgment.
first move for summary judgment on plaintiffs claims alleged
against them in their official capacities.
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
prohibits a plaintiff from suing the State of Oregon or its
instrumentalities in federal court, unless the State has
given unequivocal consent to be sued or Congress has
abrogated that immunity. Will v. Mich. Dep't of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989); Pennhurst
State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 97-100
(1984); Franceschi v. Schwartz, 57 F.3d 828, 831
(9th Cir. 1995) ("The Eleventh Amendment bars suits
which seek either damages or injunctive relief against a
state, an 'arm of the state, ' its instrumentalities,
or its agencies.") (per curiam). Likewise, the Eleventh
Amendment bars claims for damages against state officials
sued in their official capacities. See Holley v.
Cal. Dep't of Corr., 599 F.3d 1108, 1111 (9th Cir.
2010) (for immunity purposes, suits against state officials
in their official capacities are treated as suits against the
state). Accordingly, summary judgment is granted on
plaintiffs claims for damages against defendants in their
defendants Peters, Shelton, Bell, and Taylor move for summary
judgment on grounds that they were not personally involved in
the decisions regarding plaintiffs medical treatment.
Liability under § 1983 arises upon a showing of personal
participation by each defendant, and a supervisor is not
liable for the constitutional violations of employees unless
the supervisor "participated in or directed the
violations, or knew of the violations and failed to act to
prevent them." Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040,
1045 (9th Cir. 1989). In other words, plaintiff must allege
that each named defendant, through his or her own individual
actions, violated plaintiffs constitutional rights.
presents insufficient evidence that Peters, Bell, or Taylor
personally participated in the alleged denial of medical
care. Plaintiffs claims against Peters and Bell are based
solely on their inherent supervisory authority as ODOC
Director and SRCI Assistant Superintendent. It is well
established that respondeat superior liability is not
available under § 1983, and the facts do not establish a
causal connection between their alleged conduct and
plaintiffs medical care. Lemire v. Cal. Dep't Corr.
& Rehab., 726 F.3d 1062, 1074-75 (9th Cir. 2013);
Jones v. Williams, 297 F.3d 930, 934 (9th Cir.
2002). Plaintiffs claims against Taylor are based on his
handling of plaintiffs grievances. However, plaintiff alleges
inadequate medical care, and plaintiff does not allege or
present evidence that Taylor personally participated in the
denial of testosterone medication or the treatment of his
presents sufficient evidence that Dr. Shelton personally
participated in the denial of plaintiffs requests for
testosterone medication and additional back treatment. Unlike
defendant Peters, Dr. Shelton did not simply receive a letter
or communications from plaintiff; he personally responded to
plaintiff and affirmed the denial of testosterone medication
and additional treatment for plaintiffs back. Pl.'s
Response, Exs. 5-7, 12, 29-31 (ECF No. 125). Presumably, Dr.
Shelton, as Medical Director, could have ordered plaintiff to
receive testosterone medication or other ...