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Deeds v. Aranas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 20, 2017

ROMEO ARANAS, et al., Defendants.


         This Report and Recommendation is made to the Honorable Robert C. Jones, United States District Judge. The action was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and LR IB 1-4. Before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF Nos. 55, 56 (sealed)). Plaintiff opposed (ECF No. 87), and defendants replied (ECF No. 90). Also before the court is plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (ECF No. 41). Defendants opposed (ECF Nos. 47, 48 (sealed), 50, 51 (sealed)) and plaintiff replied (ECF No. 53). For the reasons stated below, the court recommends that defendants' motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 55) be granted, and plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (ECF No. 41) be denied as moot.


         Richard Deeds (“plaintiff”) is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”). Although currently housed at Warm Springs Correctional Center (“WSCC”), the events that give rise to this action transpired at Ely State Prison (“ESP”). Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff brings civil rights claims against NDOC and ESP officials. On January 19, 2016, plaintiff filed his complaint asserting numerous counts. (ECF No. 8.) The District Court screened the complaint and allowed two claims to proceed. (See ECF No. 13.)

         In his first claim, plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference against defendants Michael Koehn (“Koehn”) and Romeo Aranas (“Aranas”) for the alleged failure to provide adequate food. (See ECF No. 8.) Specifically, plaintiff alleges that he has a history of Crohn's disease and only a two-to-three-foot length of digestive tract remaining. (ECF No. 8 at 7- 8.) Without a proper diet and pain medication, plaintiff's conditions cause a variety of symptoms, including, but not limited to, frequent diarrhea, incontinence, and abdominal pain. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff alleges that on August 28, 2013, Koehn “discontinued a low-fat diet” that was helping plaintiff's symptoms. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff asserts that on April 4, 2014, Koehn “refused to order [plaintiff] be given a diet appropriate to [his] condition, saying it was prison policy/practice not to provide such a diet.” (Id.) Further, plaintiff alleges that on May 5, 2014, Aranas refused to reinstate the prescription relating to plaintiff's diet. (Id.)

         In his second claim, plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference against defendant Renee Baker (“Baker”) based on excessive noise. (Id. at 11.) Specifically, plaintiff alleges that he has suffered violations of his Eighth Amendment rights due to excessive noise. (Id.) Plaintiff complains of “loud and relentless yelling and screaming of other inmates nearby locked inside their own [cells], and louder yet banging of cell doors and walls” at ESP. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts that Baker knew of the excessive noise, because plaintiff repeatedly complained about it to her, but she failed to address his complaints. (Id.)

         Defendants now move for summary judgment based on the following: 1) there is no evidence that defendants Aranas and Koehn were deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical need; 2) there is no evidence that defendant Baker was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's conditions of confinement; and 3) defendants Aranas and Baker did not personally participate in the alleged constitutional violations. (ECF No. 55 at 13-17.)

         Plaintiff has moved for a preliminary injunction requesting the following relief: 1) that plaintiff only be transferred to Northern Nevada Correctional Center; 2) that he be provided his duly prescribed medication; and 3) that he be provided his prescribed medical diet. (ECF No. 41 at 3.)


         Summary judgment allows the court to avoid unnecessary trials. Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994). The court properly grants summary judgment when the record demonstrates that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986). “[T]he substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” only where a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party. Id. Conclusory statements, speculative opinions, pleading allegations, or other assertions uncorroborated by facts are insufficient to establish a genuine dispute. Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007); Nelson v. Pima Cmty. Coll., 83 F.3d 1075, 1081-82 (9th Cir. 1996). At this stage, the court's role is to verify that reasonable minds could differ when interpreting the record; the court does not weigh the evidence or determine its truth. Schmidt v. Contra Costa Cnty., 693 F.3d 1122, 1132 (9th Cir. 2012); Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n, 18 F.3d at 1472.

         Summary judgment proceeds in burden-shifting steps. A moving party who does not bear the burden of proof at trial “must either produce evidence negating an essential element of the nonmoving party's claim or defense or show that the nonmoving party does not have enough evidence of an essential element” to support its case. Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000). Ultimately, the moving party must demonstrate, on the basis of authenticated evidence, that the record forecloses the possibility of a reasonable jury finding in favor of the nonmoving party as to disputed material facts. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Orr v. Bank of Am., NT & SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002). The court views all evidence and any inferences arising therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Colwell v. Bannister, 763 F.3d 1060, 1065 (9th Cir. 2014).

         Where the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to “designate specific facts demonstrating the existence of genuine issues for trial.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). “This burden is not a light one, ” and requires the nonmoving party to “show more than the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence. . . . In fact, the non-moving party must come forth with evidence from which a jury could reasonably render a verdict in the non-moving party's favor.” Id. (citations omitted). The nonmoving party may defeat the summary judgment motion only by setting forth specific facts that illustrate a genuine dispute requiring a factfinder's resolution. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Although the nonmoving party need not produce authenticated evidence, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), mere assertions, pleading allegations, and “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts” will not defeat a properly-supported and meritorious summary judgment motion, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).

         For purposes of opposing summary judgment, the contentions offered by a pro se litigant in motions and pleadings are admissible to the extent that the contents are based on personal knowledge and set forth facts that would be admissible into evidence and the litigant attested under penalty of perjury that they were true and correct. Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 923 (9th Cir. 2004).


         A. Civil Rights Claims ...

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