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Fernandez v. Aranas

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 27, 2018

RENE F. FERNANDEZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROMEO ARANAS, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER

         Presently before the court is defendant Romeo Aranas's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiff Rene Fernandez filed a response (ECF No. 40), to which Aranas replied (ECF No. 43).

         Also before the court is plaintiff's motion to extend time to respond to defendant's motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 34). Defendant Aranas filed a response (ECF No. 38). Plaintiff has not filed a reply, and the time for doing so has since passed.

         Also before the court is defendant Aranas's motion to dismiss defendants Hanf, Chang, Holmes, and Su from the action for lack of service. (ECF No. 48). Plaintiff has not filed a response, and the time for doing so has since passed.

         Also before the court is plaintiff's “motion to deny defendant's motions, oppositions, replies, and request for Jury Trial.” (ECF No. 53). Defendant Aranas filed a response. (ECF No. 54). Plaintiff has not filed a reply, and the time for doing so has since passed.

         Also before the court is defendant Aranas's motion to strike plaintiff's amended complaint. (ECF No. 65). Plaintiff has not filed a response, and the time for doing so has since passed. . . .

         I. Background

         The present case involves a dispute over whether prison medical staff provided adequate medical services to an inmate. Plaintiff was incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (“HDSP”) from June 3, 2011, through August 28, 2014, when he was transferred to Northern Nevada Correctional Center (“NNCC”). (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff alleges that during his time at HDSP, medical staff did not adequately attend to his medical needs.

         Plaintiff has a history of high blood pressure. (ECF No. 15-3). Prior to his incarceration at HDSP, plaintiff was at Clark County Detention Center (“CCDC”). While at CCDC, medical staff prescribed Amlodipine to control plaintiff's blood pressure. Id. (transfer records from CCDC to HSDP refer to plaintiff's medication as “Amlodipine”). Plaintiff claims that the drug he took while at CCDC was called Norvasc. (ECF No. 4). Norvasc is a brand-name drug with the same chemical composition as Amlodipine. See (ECF No. 15-4) (declaration of Dr. Romeo Aranas) (stating that Amlodipine is the generic name for Norvasc). Medical staff at HDSP administered 10 mg doses of Amlodipine to plaintiff from his intake at HDSP through February of 2013. (ECF No. 15-3). Plaintiff asserts that he requested Norvasc instead of Amlodipine. (ECF No. 4). Plaintiff signed medication logs acknowledging his receipt of the brand-name drug Norvasc on at least seven occasions. (ECF No. 15-3).

         Plaintiff complained of health issues while taking Amlodipine/Norvasc. (ECF No. 4). On November 14, 2011, plaintiff sent a prison kite[1] claiming that his left hand was swollen, he was in lots of pain, and he needed medical attention. (ECF No. 15-3). Medical staff met with plaintiff the next day and prescribed ibuprofen.

         On December 23, 2012, plaintiff sent a kite requesting a private medical consultation. Id. The next day, HDSP Doctor Ted Hanf ordered labs and a follow-up appointment. Id. On December 26, 2013, staff collected labs from plaintiff for urinalysis. Id. at 52.

         On January 24, 2013, plaintiff filed a kite complaining that his labs had been cancelled and complaining of severe kidney pain lasting three weeks. Id. at 34. Plaintiff requested that staff change his blood pressure medication from Amlodipine to Atenolol. Id. On January 31, 2013, Dr. Hanf ordered additional labs and scheduled a follow-up appointment with plaintiff. Id. at 27.

         On February 7, 2013, Dr. Hanf met with plaintiff. Id. Dr. Hanf's notes indicate plaintiff was experiencing back pain and plaintiff attributed the pain to Norvasc. Id. at 37. Plaintiff reported prior use of Atenolol, and stated he preferred Atenolol as a blood pressure medication. Id. Dr. Hanf discontinued plaintiff's Norvasc prescription and placed plaintiff on 100 mg of Metoprolol, another blood pressure medication. Id. at 27, 37. Dr. Hanf scheduled a follow-up appointment in a month. Id. at 37. On February 15, 2013, LabCorp completed processing of plaintiff's remaining labs. Id. at 54-55.

         For the next few months, plaintiff failed to report to numerous medical appointments. Accordingly, records of plaintiff's initial response to Metoprolol are sparse.

         On June 28, 2013, plaintiff filed an “emergency grievance” with prison staff indicating that he felt “sick with dizziness and a headache, with intense pressure in the back of [his] head, vomiting and loose bowel movements.” (ECF No. 15-2). That same day, staff provided plaintiff with an immediate refill of his blood pressure medication. Id.

         Between February of 2013 and August of 2014 (when plaintiff was transferred to NNCC), staff treated plaintiff's blood pressure with multiple combinations of Metoprolol, Lisinopril, Atenolol, and Amlodipine. (ECF No. 15-3) (indicating numerous alterations to plaintiff's medication regimen). When plaintiff did attend appointments, he would sometimes describe pain, negative side effects, and problems with his digestive system. Id. Plaintiff at times refused to take prescribed medications, including Norvasc and ibuprofen. (ECF No. 15-3 at 28, 55-56).

         On November 22, 2013, Fernandez filed an informal grievance regarding HDSP staff's treatment of his blood pressure. (ECF No. 15-1). On December 31, 2016, HDSP medical staff responded to plaintiff's informal grievance by noting staff's efforts to control plaintiff's blood pressure and noting that periodic follow-up visits will help staff continue to monitor plaintiff's blood pressure. (ECF No. 15-1 at 13).

         As a part of his informal grievance, plaintiff had requested a remedy of being prescribed “a non-generic Atenolol 25 mg or Norvasc 10 mg and Ibuprofen 400 mg.” Id. At the time he made the request, he was already prescribed 25 mg doses of Atenolol. (ECF No. 15-3 at 28). On December 16, 2013, HDSP staff prescribed plaintiff Norvasc, but on January 16, 2014, plaintiff signed a legal refusal of the prescription for Norvasc. Id. at 28, 55.

         On January 28, 2014, plaintiff filed a first-level grievance disagreeing with the medical staff's response to his informal grievance. Id. at 14-17. On February 13, 2014, medical staff responded. Id. at 18. The response noted that high blood pressure symptoms evolve, and sometimes medication that previously worked will no longer prove effective and “must change.” Id.

         On March 6, 2014, plaintiff filed a second-level grievance disagreeing with the first-level response. Id. at 22. On April 8, 2014, Dr. Aranas, acting NDOC medical ...


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