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Braulick v. CoreCivic

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

October 10, 2019




         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 39.) Plaintiff Jeremy Braulick, a pro se prisoner, filed a Complaint on November 3, 2017 alleging four counts against various named defendants. (Complaint, Doc. 2.) The only remaining claims are Mr. Braulick's allegations raised in Counts III and IV of the Complaint against CoreCivic and Nurse Didier. CoreCivic and Nurse Didier filed an Answer to Counts III and IV on July 19, 2018 denying liability. (Doc. 15.)

         Having considered the parties' arguments and submission, Mr. Braulick has established a genuine dispute as to material facts regarding his retaliation claim alleged in Count III against Nurse Didier. Nurse Didier's Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied. CoreCivic has established that there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding the merits of Mr. Braulick's Monell claims regarding his medications as alleged in Count IV of the Complaint. CoreCivic's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.


         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party “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). Under summary judgment practice, “[t]he moving party initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party may accomplish this by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or by showing that such materials “do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B).

         “Where the non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party need only prove that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case.” Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Summary judgment should be entered, “after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. “[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. at 323. In such a circumstance, summary judgment should be granted, “so long as whatever is before the district court demonstrates that the standard for entry of summary judgment, as set forth in Rule 56(c), is satisfied.” Id.

         If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue as to any material fact actually does exist. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). In attempting to establish the existence of this factual dispute, the opposing party may not rely upon the allegations or denials of its pleadings but is required to tender evidence of specific facts in the form of affidavits, and/or admissible discovery material, in support of its contention that the dispute exists. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1); Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 n.11. “A plaintiff's verified complaint may be considered as an affidavit in opposition to summary judgment if it is based on personal knowledge and sets forth specific facts admissible in evidence.” Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1132 n.14 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc). The opposing party must demonstrate that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact “that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, ” and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         “In evaluating the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact, ” the court draws “all inferences supported by the evidence in favor of the non-moving party.” Walls v. Cent. Costa Cnty. Transit Auth., 653 F.3d 963, 966 (9th Cir. 2011). It is the opposing party's obligation to produce a factual predicate from which the inference may be drawn. See Richards v. Nielsen Freight Lines, 810 F.2d 898, 902 (9th Cir. 1987). Finally, to demonstrate a genuine issue, the opposing party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 (citations omitted).

         By notice provided on March 4, 2019 (Doc. 43), Mr. Braulick was advised of the requirements for opposing a motion brought pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 957 (9th Cir. 1998)(en banc); Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988).


         A. Blood Draws

         Defendant Nurse Didier is a registered nurse (“R.N.”) at the Crossroads Correctional Center (“Crossroads”) located in Shelby, Montana. (SUF at ¶ 5.) Mr. Braulick was being monitored for thyroid concerns in the Crossroads' clinic and saw Nurse Didier for blood draws to determine his thyroid levels. (SUF at ¶ 6.) Mr. Braulick contends that Nurse Didier only drew his blood on three occasions. (SDF at ¶ 6.)

         On February 5, 2015, Mr. Braulick submitted an informal resolution form complaining that on January 28, 2015 at 4:00 a.m., Nurse Didier did not wear gloves while conducting his blood draw. (SUF at ¶ 8; Informal Resolution Form, Doc. 2-1 at 42-43.) At that blood draw, Mr. Braulick made clear that he did not want Nurse Didier to touch him with her ungloved free hand. (SUF at ¶ 8.)

         Nurse Didier contends she was not aware of the February 2, 2015 grievance submitted by Mr. Braulick until this lawsuit was filed. (SUF at ¶ 8.) Mr. Braulick contests this statement because the response to the February 5, 2015 grievance states, “I will advise my law draw nurse on standard precautions when drawing labs.” He argues that once Nurse Didier was advised about standard lab draw precautions by her supervisor she would have known it was Mr. Braulick who complained about her. In addition, Mr. Braulick testified that he made it clear to Nurse Didier at the time of the incident that he had an issue with her ungloved hands. (SDF at ¶ 8.)

         On September 22, 2015, Nurse Didier conducted another blood draw on Mr. Braulick. (SUF at ¶ 10.) On that same day, Mr. Braulick submitted an informal resolution form in which he stated,

Today at about 3:35 a.m. I had a labdraw and the nurse who took my blood got an attitude with me. She began by asking me if I put in my previous grievance about her “Did you put I wipe my fingers with the alcohol pad before touching your vein.” I didn't answer her as I didn't like her tone. She proceeded to touch my vein with her bare finger before inserting the needle. I said, “no you need to put your gloves on before touching my vein.” She got upset and put the glove on than proceeded to put the needle in when I stopped her and said, “she needed to rewipe my vein.” She than ripped open an alcohol swab package and began aggressively and violently swabbing my arm and jabbed the needle in my arm and moved the needle to a cockeyed position to my vein causing it to tear my vein inside my arm and for it to bleed out inside my arm causing the area ...

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