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Warner v. Curry

United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division

June 5, 2019

DANNY LEE WARNER, JR.,, Plaintiff,
v.
CHUCK CURRY, JENNIFER ROOT, JAMES DUSING, TAMMY BOWEN, SGT. SCHUELEN, and CBM MANAGED SERVICES,, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Dana L. Christensen, United States District Court Chief Judge

         United States Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch entered his Findings and Recommendation in this § 1983 case on February 20, 2019, recommending that the Court: (1) grant the motions for summary judgment of Defendants Chuck Curry, Jennifer Root, and CBM Managed Services ("CBM") regarding Plaintiff Danny Lee Warner, Jr.'s claims for inadequate food and nutrition; (2) deny the motion for summary judgment of Defendant James Dusing, M.D.; and (3) deny the motions for summary judgment of Root and Schuelen as to Warner's claim for unlawful punishment. (Doc. 108.) Warner's claims against Defendants Curry, Root, Schuelen, and Bowen have since been dismissed with prejudice (Doc. 116), and the Court will accordingly review only Warner's claims against Defendants CBM and Dusing in this Order.

         Dr. Dusing timely filed objections to the Findings and Recommendation, and Warner replied to Dusing's objections. (Docs. 110 & 112.) Consequently, Dusing is entitled to de novo review of those findings and recommendations to which he has specifically objected. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Absent objection, this Court reviews findings and recommendations for clear error. United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc); Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Clear error exists if the Court is left with a "definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed." United States v. Syrax, 235 F.3d 422, 427 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

         I. CBM Managed Services

         Judge Lynch recommended granting summary judgment to CBM, which provided meals to Warner when he was a pretrial detainee housed at the Flathead County Detention. Because there are no objections to this portion of the Findings and Recommendation, the Court reviews for clear error. The Court finds no clear error in Judge Lynch's determination that CBM did not act with deliberate indifference to Warner's health or safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837 (1994).

         D. Busing

         Because Dusing timely objected to the Findings and Recommendation, the Court reviews de novo whether he is entitled to summary judgment. The Court finds that there is no material dispute of fact and that Dusing is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, it will grant Dusing's motion for summary judgment and dismiss Warner's remaining claims against Dusing.

         Warner alleges that Dusing violated Warner's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights by failing to adequately manage his health care during Warner's pretrial detention. "[M]edical care claims brought by pretrial detainees ... 'arise under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, rather than under the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause.'" Gordon v. Cty. of Orange, 888 F.3d 1118, 1124 (9th Cir. 2018) (quoting Castro v. Cty. of Los Angeles, 833 F.3d 1060, 1069-70 (9th Cir. 2016)). Such claims are "evaluated under an objective deliberate indifference standard." Id. at 1125. A successful claim satisfies four elements:

(i) the defendant made an intentional decision with respect to the conditions under which the plaintiff was confined;
(ii) those conditions put the plaintiff at substantial risk of suffering serious harm;
(iii) the defendant did not take reasonable available measures to abate that risk, even though a reasonable official in the circumstances would have appreciated the high degree of risk involved-making the consequences of the defendant's conduct obvious; and
(iv) by not taking such measures, the defendant caused the plaintiffs injuries.

Id. The third element demands that the "defendant's conduct... be objectively unreasonable, a test that will necessarily 'turn[] on the facts and circumstances of each particular case.'" Castro, 833 F.3d at 1071 (quoting Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015)).

         Warner alleges that he sought treatment for pain and that Dr. Dusing failed to adequately respond to his medical needs. When Warner was placed in the detention center, he was in a "tremendous amount of pain" due to preexisting injuries to his neck, back, and hip. (Doc. 64-1 at 4.) Prior to his detention, Warner took Gabapentin, a ...


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