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McKinney v. Aranas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 6, 2014

WILLIAM MCKINNEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ROMEO ARANAS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

KENT J. DAWSON, District Judge.

Presently before the Court are two Motions to Dismiss or, Alternatively, Motions for Summary Judgment (#32, #36) filed by Romeo Aranas, et al. ("Defendants"). William McKinney ("Plaintiff") responded to both Motions within his Affidavit in Support of Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternate, a Motion for Summary Judgment (#48). Although Plaintiff does not specifically refer to both motions in his response, the Court construes Plaintiff's filing liberally. Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citations and internal quotations omitted). Since the legal and factual questions are substantially similar in both of Defendants' motions the Court will address both motions together.

I. Factual Background

The following facts are undisputed. Plaintiff, a pro se litigant, is a prisoner in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections ("NDOC") (#32 at 3). NDOC employs the Nevada Inmate Tracking Information System ("NOTIS") to track all inmate grievances in the Inmate Issue History Report. Both parties rely extensively on NOTIS in their allegations and defenses. Plaintiff alleges eight separate counts against Defendants who are employed at High Desert State Prison ("HDSP"). Id.

A. Count I

Plaintiff made an Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference towards a serious medical need against Defendants Adams, Aranas, Jennings, and Neven for allegedly denying Plaintiff treatment for a ruptured cyst (#8 at 2:8-2:12). Plaintiff entered HDSP in 2009 complaining of several medical problems, including a cyst on the back of his head (#32 at 14). Plaintiff received treatment for his medical problems, including pain medication and a diabetic diet (#36 at 11). In November of 2010, Defendant Aranas examined Plaintiff for his cyst complaint and diagnosed it as a "probable, benign, fatty tumor" (#36, Ex. A at 1). Four months later, Defendant Aranas met with Plaintiff and made the same diagnosis, noting that the cyst had not grown in size and advised Plaintiff that he could receive a medical referral to the Utilization Review Panel ("URP"). Id . During Plaintiff's April 2012 visit, Plaintiff again complained about the cyst (#36, Ex. A at 1). Defendant Aranas examined him, made the same diagnosis about the cyst, and prescribed pain medication. Id . During his last two visits, which occurred after the lawsuit began, Plaintiff has not complained about the cyst. Id.

Additionally, Plaintiff filed informal grievance # XXXXXXXXXXX claiming that his cyst caused him substantial pain and requested surgery to remove it (#32 at 4). Although the date the grievance was submitted is in dispute, it is undisputed that Defendant Adams responded to his grievance (#32, Ex. C at 22). Defendant Adams advised him that he had already seen Defendant Aranas about the issue and denied Plaintiff's surgery request as cyst removal was a cosmetic procedure. Id . Plaintiff appealed his grievance to the first level and was advised by Defendant Jennings that a cyst is not life threatening and that removal of the cyst was a cosmetic surgery. Id . Plaintiff appealed to the second level of review, but was again denied surgery as the cyst was not life threatening. Id . Plaintiff was also advised that he could request to be seen by the medical staff if his condition changed. Id.

Lastly, Plaintiff filed informal grievance #XXXXXXXXXXX, but failed to appeal it past the informal level (#32, Ex. C-1 at 2). Plaintiff complained that he had not received adequate medical treatment. Id . In response, Defendant Adams detailed the numerous times that Plaintiff had seen the doctor in response to his medical requests (#32, Ex. C-1 at 3). Plaintiff did not appeal. Id.

B. Count II

Plaintiff made an Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment for depriving him of adequate exercise time out of his cell and outdoors due to prison overcrowding (#8 at 2:13-2:15). Plaintiff filed informal grievance #XXXXXXXXXXX complaining about discrimination because he had to move cells (#32, Ex. C at 23). NDOC policy required all prisoners housed in level one housing to work, and Plaintiff was no longer working. Id . Therefore, Plaintiff was moved to different housing. Id . Plaintiff appealed to the first level, but failed to appeal to the second level. Id.

C. Count III

Plaintiff made a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against prison staff for allegedly serving lower quality food to Plaintiff and other inmates at HDSP than at other NDOC institutions because the majority of the inmates at HDSP were African-American (#8 at 2:16-2:21). Plaintiff filed informal grievance #XXXXXXXXXXX with the medical staff claiming that he had not received a diabetic diet (#32, Ex. C at 25). The medical staff responded in a timely manner, denying his grievance. Id . Plaintiff did not appeal. Later, Plaintiff filed informal grievance # XXXXXXXXXXX complaining about the quality of the food (#32, Ex. C at 24). Inmate received a response about the type of food given to inmates and the preparation process for the food. Id . Plaintiff did not appeal. Id.

D. Count IV §4

Plaintiff made an Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment for allegedly forcing Plaintiff to eat next to showers that were seldom cleaned (#8 at 2:16-2:21). Neither party has produced any grievances related to this count that were filed before the commencement of this lawsuit. Id.

E. Count IV §5

Plaintiff made an Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment for failing to provide Plaintiff with supplies to clean his sink and toilet (#8 at 3:7-3:8). Neither party has produced any grievances related to this count that were filed before the commencement of this lawsuit. Id.

F. Count IV §6

Plaintiff made an Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and unusual punishment for forcing Plaintiff to eat food that caused him severe gastric distress (#8 at 3:7-3:8). Plaintiff filed informal grievance #XXXXXXXXXXX complaining about the quality of the food served and complaining that the food caused his hair to fall out, his nails to stop growing, and other unnamed medical issues (#32, Ex. C at 24). Plaintiff's grievance was denied, but he was informed that he should see the medical staff about his medical issues. Id . Plaintiff did not appeal this grievance. Id . Plaintiff also filed informal grievance #XXXXXXXXXXX claiming that in his diabetic meals he was served a sugary substance that caused his blood sugar to spike (#32, Ex. C at 19). The medical staff responded to his claims, explained the type of food in his meals, and explained that eating prior to ...


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