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Melendez v. Gulick

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 18, 2018

HENRY MELENDEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. GARTH GULICK and DR. BRISTOL, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE PAUL PAPAK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Hemy Melendez, an incarcerated prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauper is, filed this action against defendants Dr. Garth Gulick, Dr, Bristol, and Brad Cain on November 13, 2017. By and through his complaint as originally filed, Melendez appeared to allege all defendants' liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the violation of his Eighth Amendment and, apparently, Fourteenth Amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, as well as all defendants' liability under the Oregon Constitution for violation of the same right. In support of his claims, Melendez alleged purportedly wrongful conduct of Gulick and Bristol (specifically, those defendants' alleged denial of adequate medical treatment in connection with Melendez' complained-of shoulder pain), but offered no allegation that Cain had participated in the alleged deprivation of his rights.

         On November 20, 2017, Judge Mosman dismissed Melendez' claim(s) to the extent alleged against Cain, on the ground that there was no allegation from which it could be inferred that Cain participated in the alleged wrongful conduct, and additionally dismissed Melendez' claim(s) to the extent alleged to arise under the Fourteenth Amendment, on the ground that the Fourteenth Amendment does not guarantee the right of incarcerated prisoners to receive adequate medical care. Judge Mosman granted Melendez leave to amend his pleading to cure its identified deficiencies within thirty days. On November 29, 2017, Melendez amended his complaint, abandoning his claim(s) to the extent alleged against Cain and clarifying that his claim arising out of alleged denial of adequate medical care arises under the Eighth Amendment and the Oregon Constitution only.

         By and through his amended complaint, Melendez argues that remaining defendants Gulick and Bristol improperly delayed his receipt of medical treatment for his complained-of shoulder pain and ultimately provided inadequate medical treatment for that condition. Arising out of the foregoing, Melendez appears to allege defendants' liability under Section 1983 in both their official and their individual capacities for the violation of his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care while incarcerated and under the Oregon Constitution for violation of that same right. Melendez seeks award of compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $4 million. This court has federal question jurisdiction over Melendez' Eighth Amendment claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and may properly exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Melendez' Oregon Constitutional claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

         Now before the court is defendants' motion (#23) for summaiy judgment. I have considered the motion and all of the pleadings and papers on file. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion (#23) for summaiy judgment is granted.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate "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). A party taking the position that a material fact either "cannot be or is genuinely disputed" must support that position either by citation to specific evidence of record "including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for puiposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials," by showing that the evidence of record does not establish either the presence or absence of such a dispute, or by showing that an opposing party is unable to produce sufficient admissible evidence to establish the presence or absence of such a dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The substantive law governing a claim or defense determines whether a fact is material. See Morelandv. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep't, 159 F.3d365, 369 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Summary judgment is not proper if material factual issues exist for trial. See, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 318, 322 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 411 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Warren v. City of Carlsbad, 58 F.3d 439, 441 (9th Cir. 1995), cert, denied, 116 S.Ct. 1261 (1996). In evaluating a motion for summaiy judgment, the district courts of the United States must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and may neither make credibility determinations nor perform any weighing of the evidence. See, e.g., Lytle v. Household Mfg., Inc., 494 U, S, 545, 554-55 (1990); Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         MATERIAL FACTS

         I. The Parties

         Plaintiff Melendez is an incarcerated prisoner currently housed in the Snake River Correctional Institution ("SRCI"). Defendant Gulick is a physician employed to provide medical services to prisoners incarcerated at SRCI. Defendant Bristol is a physician who provided medical services to Melendez.

         III. The Parties' Dispute

         A. Melendez' Allegations in Support of his Claims

         Although not material to resolution of defendants' motion for summary judgment, I summarize Melendez' allegations in support of his claims in order to provide context ...


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