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Lopez v. Goodman

United States District Court, Second Circuit

June 18, 2013

ORLANDO LOPEZ, 08-B-0433, Plaintiff,

Orlando Lopez 08-B-0433, Auburn Correctional Facility, Aburn, NY, For Plaintiff.

Hillel David Deutsch, A.A.G., New York State Attorney General's Office, Rochester, NY, For Defendant.


CHARLES J. SIRAGUSA, District Judge.


Orlando Lopez ("Plaintiff"), a prison inmate in the custody of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), is suing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Dr. William Goodman ("Defendant") violated his Eighth Amendment rights by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment. Am. Compl., Aug. 4, 2010, ECF No. 4. Now before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., May 14, 2013, ECF No. 37. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's application is granted.


In September of 2008, Plaintiff was an inmate at the Elmira Correctional Facility Mental Health Unit. Am. Comp. 5. While there, he was placed under the care of Defendant, a psychiatrist at the facility. Goodman Decl. ¶ 2, Apr. 18, 2013, ECF No. 37. Defendant prescribed Abilify, an anti-psychotic, as part of his treatment of Plaintiff's mental illness. Id. ¶ 5. Defendant states he knew Abilify had the potential side effect of causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), so he ordered monitoring of Plaintiff's blood sugar level via periodic blood tests. Goodman Decl. ¶ 7. Defendant admits that, at some point in September, he failed to see the results of one of these tests that showed Plaintiff's blood sugar level was elevated. Id. ¶ 8. Defendant states that if he had seen this report, he would have taken Plaintiff off of Abilify. Id. ¶ 10.

On January 15, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred to Downstate Correctional Facility and out of Defendant's care. Goodman Decl. ¶ 11. Around this date, Plaintiff states he was found unresponsive and was later diagnosed with diabetes. Am. Compl. 5. Plaintiff claims that Defendant was negligent or deliberately indifferent to his health care needs in failing to read or look into the missed blood test report and failing to adjust his medication accordingly. Id.


Summary Judgment

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Summary judgment may not be granted unless "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A party seeking summary judgment bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). "[T]he movant must make a prima facie showing that the standard for obtaining summary judgment has been satisfied." 11 James Wm. Moore, et. al., MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE § 56.11[1][a] (3d ed. 2008). That is, the burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the evidence creates no genuine issue of material fact. See Amaker v. Foley, 274 F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001). Where the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the nonmovant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

Once the movant's burden has been met, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party which in its response must set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A fact is "material" only if the fact has some effect on the outcome of the suit. Catanzaro v. Weiden, 140 F.3d 91, 93 (2d Cir. 1998). A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In determining whether a genuine issue exists as to a material fact, a court must view underlying facts contained in affidavits, attached exhibits, and depositions in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. U.S. v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962). Moreover, a court must draw all reasonable inferences and resolve all ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party. Leon v. Murphy, 988 F.2d 303, 308 (2d Cir. 1993); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49. However, a summary judgment motion will not be defeated on the basis of conjecture or surmise or merely upon a "metaphysical doubt" concerning the facts. Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991) ( citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)). Since Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court is required to construe his submissions liberally, "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Burgos v. Hopkins, 14 F.3d 787, 790 (2d Cir. 1994).

Defendant provided a Notice to pro se Plaintiff pursuant to Western District of New York Local Rule 56.2 and Irby v. New York City Transit Authority, 262 F.3d 412 (2d ...

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