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Gurule v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 30, 2018

RICHARD E. GURULE, Plaintiff,
v.
JERI TAYLOR; D. WETTLAUFER; D. LOZIER; W. POWELL; J. WALKER; T. LEMENS; GARRETT LANEY; N. SOBOTTA; M. NOFZIGER; CHRIS GOVE; J. DAFORE; S. SHELTON; M. NOOTH; M. GOWER; COLLET PETERS; L. BEAMER; H. NEVIL; L. WILLIAMSON; T. KELLY; JOHN DOE; S. FRANKE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. MCSHANE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, an inmate at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI), filed suit against defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and alleged deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and violations of his rights to due process. Defendants now move for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on all claims. Plaintiff did not respond to defendants' motion. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         On March 17, 2015, plaintiff received a Misconduct Report charging him with disciplinary violations of Distribution I and Racketeering. Compl. at 5 (ECF No. 2) & Ex. A. Plaintiff was accused of “cheeking” his medications, taking them to his cell, and distributing the medications to other inmates in exchange for canteen items. Id. Apparently, “cheeking” is the act of hiding medication in the mouth. During the course of the investigation, correctional officials found over $270 worth of canteen items in plaintiff's area, even though plaintiff had not purchased items at the canteen for more than two years. Id. Ex. A.

         On March 24, 2015, plaintiff appeared at a disciplinary hearing on the charges. During the hearing, plaintiff “indicated he received payment for services provided to inmates in the form of canteen although he explained this was for art work.” Id. Ex. B. The hearings officer dismissed the racketeering charge and found plaintiff had committed Distribution I by distributing his medications to other inmates in exchange for canteen items. Id. In making her decision, the hearings officer relied on information from confidential informants (CIs), whose testimony corroborated the allegations and narrative described in the misconduct report. Id.; Nevil Decl. ¶ 5 & Att. 3 at 14. Pursuant to policy of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) and for the safety of the CIs, their identities and verbatim testimony were not made available to plaintiff. Nevil Decl. ¶ 6 & Att. 3 at 14.

         On March 30, 2015, EOCI medical staff was informed of the disciplinary decision against plaintiff. Lozier Decl. ¶ 4. In response, Nurse Practitioner Deena Lozier discontinued plaintiff's prescription for Neurontin and Tramadol and alternative medications were prescribed to treat plaintiff's rheumatoid arthritis. Id. ¶¶ 4, 8. Plaintiff objected to the discontinuation and asserted that the disciplinary decision was based on false information.

         On April 15, 2015, Dr. Leland Beamer examined plaintiff. He noted that plaintiff exhibited no clinical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and found no need to renew plaintiff's prescriptions for Neurontin or Tramadol at that time. Id. ¶ 10.

         On April 18, 2015, plaintiff reported a rash, vomiting, diarrhea, and itching. Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff was given a Benadryl injection and scheduled for a follow-up examination. Id.

         On April 23, 2015, plaintiff complained of a rash, itchy throat, diarrhea, and vomiting and believed he was suffering withdrawal from Neurontin and Tramadol. Lozier Decl. ¶ 12. The next day, plaintiff was examined by EOCI staff and offered a liquid diet, which he declined. Id. ¶ 13.

         On April 29, 2015, Dr. Beamer examined plaintiff and discontinued all medications in response to plaintiff's possible adverse drug reaction. Id. ¶ 14.

         In the meantime, plaintiff sought administrative review of the disciplinary decision. Nevil Decl. ¶ 7 & Att. 3 at 1-4. On review, the Inspector General returned the case to the hearings officer “to reopen to address more appropriate rule(s), and sanctions.” Compl. Ex. D.

         On May 27, 2015, a second disciplinary hearing was conducted and the hearings officer found that plaintiff had committed the violations of Distribution II and Racketeering. Nevil Decl. ¶ 8 & Att. 2 at 2-3; Compl. Ex. E.

         On June 7, 2015, plaintiff sought administrative review of the second disciplinary decision. Nevil Decl. ¶ 12 & Att. 3 at 25-31. The Inspector General affirmed the decision. Compl. Ex. F at 4.

         On June 9, 2015, plaintiff was examined by Dr. Dewsnup, who prescribed an Enbrel injection “continuous for 12 ...


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