Parks v. Blanchette, CASE NO. 3:09–cv–604 (VAB)

Citation144 F.Supp.3d 282
Decision Date04 November 2015
Docket NumberCASE NO. 3:09–cv–604 (VAB)
Parties David S.L. Parks Plaintiff, v. Edward A. Blanchette, James E. Dzurenda, and Peter J. Murphy, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Connecticut

Andrew D. O'Toole, O'Toole + O'Toole LLC, Hartford, CT, for Plaintiff.

Carmel A. Motherway, Robert S. Dearington, Terrence M. O'Neill, Attorney General's Office, Hartford, CT, for Defendants.




I. Defendants' Motion to Correct the Exhibits....292

II. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment...294

A. Background Facts....294

B. Standard...296

C. Mr. Parks's Objections to Defendants' Supporting Evidence...296

D. Qualified Immunity....299

E. Statement of Facts Regarding Deliberate Indifference Claims....301

F. Legal Analysis of Deliberate Indifference Claims....311

G. Statement of Facts Regarding Transfers...324

H. Legal Analysis of Retaliation Claims...330

I. Legal Analysis of ADA and Rehabilitation Act Claims....337

III. Conclusion...341

Plaintiff, David Parks, filed a complaint pro se in 2009, challenging various prison conditions he faced while in the custody of the Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”). Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 17. After the Court dismissed a number of claims in an Initial Review Order under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)

, ECF No. 26, and in a Ruling on a motion to dismiss, ECF No. 96, appointed counsel for Mr. Parks filed a Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 146, in which he asserts three claims against the three remaining Defendants.1 The three Defendants are a medical doctor employed by DOC, Dr. Edward Blanchette, and two wardens of facilities in which Mr. Parks was incarcerated from 2004 to 2010, Wardens James Dzurenda and Peter J. Murphy.

Defendants now move for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of all three claims against all Defendants. Defs.' Mot. For Summ. J., ECF No. 219. In Defendants' view, the undisputed material facts demonstrate that they are not liable. Defs.' Br. 2, ECF No. 219-2. Mr. Parks, on the other hand, suggests that this is “the quintessential case” that hinges on questions of fact and credibility, and, therefore, that summary judgment would be inappropriate on any of his claims. Pl.'s Opp. Br. 2, ECF No. 232.

Defendants have also filed a motion to correct one of their summary judgment filings. Defs.' Mot. to Correct Exhibits, ECF No. 255. The motion asks the Court to accept a certificate of authenticity for medical records accompanying their summary judgment motion, which they inadvertently omitted from the initial filing.

For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES AS MOOT the Motion to Correct, ECF No. 255, and GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 219, in its entirety.

I. Defendants' Motion to Correct the Exhibits

Defendants' Motion to Correct seeks to add a certificate of authenticity to some of their summary judgment exhibits, explaining that they inadvertently left this document out when filing their Motion for Summary Judgment. Defs.' Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 255. Mr. Parks opposes the motion because it is untimely. Pl.'s Opp. Br. 2-3, ECF No. 257. It is true that Defendants provide no explanation for why they waited one full year after their summary judgment motion was filed to correct the exhibit. However, the Court finds that the medical records which the Motion to Correct seeks to authenticate are still admissible and will consider them in ruling on Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion. Accordingly, Defendants' motion is denied as moot.

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court need only consider admissible evidence. Raskin v. Wyatt Co. , 125 F.3d 55, 66 (2d Cir.1997)

; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The medical records provided by Defendants are hearsay but would be admissible under the business records exception to the general exclusion of hearsay, provided they meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 803(6).2 Fed. R. Evid. 803(6) ; see cf.

Hodges v. Keane, 886 F.Supp. 352, 356 (S.D.N.Y.1995) (noting that medical records kept by a medical provider in a prison can be admissible as business records if they meet the requirements of Rule 803(6) ) (citing Romano v. Howarth , 998 F.2d 101, 108 (2d Cir.1993) ); see also

Lewis v. Velez, 149 F.R.D. 474, 484 n. 5 (S.D.N.Y.1993) (citations omitted). To be admissible as business records, the documents must have been made near the time of the recorded event by someone with knowledge and must have been kept in the course of regularly conducted business activity. Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)(A)(B). In addition, it must have been the regular practice of that business activity to make them. Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)(C). Even if the documents meet all of these requirements, “if the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate [a] lack of trustworthiness, such records may be excluded.” Hodges , 886 F.Supp. at 356 (citation omitted); Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)(E).

Because [t]he principles governing admissibility of evidence do not change on a motion for summary judgment,” Defendants must introduce their medical records “in a manner, typically through a custodian's affidavit, that identifies them and establishes that they are admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 803(6)

.” Ravenell v. Avis Budget Grp., Inc., No. 08–cv–2113 (SLT)(SMG), 2014 WL 1330914, at *2 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2014) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Defendants may do so either by testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness or by certifying the records as self-authenticating in compliance with Federal Rule of Evidence 902(11)

. Fed. R. Evid. 803(6)(D) (requiring that the conditions of the business records rule be shown “by the testimony of the custodian or another qualified witness, or by a certification that complies with Rule 902(11) or (12)...”); see also

United States v. Komasa , 767 F.3d 151, 154–55 (2d Cir.2014) (describing the relationship between Rules 803(6) and 902(11) ). In their motion, Defendants belatedly seek to do the latter under Rule 902(11). Fed. R. Evid. 902(11).

Mr. Parks argues that, without any foundation for the exhibits' admissibility, the Court cannot consider Defendants' medical records. The Court disagrees. Even if the exhibits are not properly authenticated under Rule 803(6)(D)

, Mr. Parks relied on Defendants' medical records in opposing Defendants' summary judgment motion without objecting to their authenticity.3

See e.g. , Pl.'s Opp. Br. 12, 15-16, ECF No. 232 (citing Exhibit 25, which contains Defendants' medical records); see also e.g. , Pl.'s Local Rule 56(a)2 Stmt. ¶224, ECF No. 234 (same). Because Mr. Parks relied on these exhibits, the Court will consider them. See

Goris v. Breslin , No. 04–CV–5666 (KAM)(LB), 2010 WL 376626, at *1 n. 1 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 26, 2010) (admitting medical records that were not properly authenticated under Rule 803(6)(D), because the opposing party relied on them without objecting to their authenticity or admissibility); Atkinson v. Fischer, No. 9:07–CV–00368 (GLS/GHL), 2009 WL 3165544, at *3 n. 1 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 25, 2009) (Report and Recommendation adopted by the District Court) (same); Sheils v. Flynn , No. 06–CV–0407, 2009 WL 2868215, at *2 n. 2 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 2, 2009) (Report and Recommendation adopted by the District Court) (same).

Moreover, like Defendants, Mr. Parks also provides no explanation for why his objection to the admissibility of the medical records was not raised until nearly one year after his opposition was filed. In his Opposition Brief to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Mr. Parks does make certain objections to Defendants' exhibits, which are addressed below, but he does not argue that all of the medical records are generally inadmissible or not authentic and has waived those objections at this stage. See Capobianco v. City of New York , 422 F.3d 47, 55 (2d Cir.2005)

(finding that, in deciding summary judgment, a district court erred when it refused to consider two reports because the objecting party had waived objections to admissibility by relying on the same reports in support of their motion for summary judgment).

In addition, it is “well-established” that “even inadmissible evidence may properly be considered on summary judgment if it may reasonably be reduced to admissible form at trial.” Bill Salter Advert., Inc. v. City of Brewton, Ala. , Civil Action No. 07–0081–WS–B, 2008 WL 183237, at *4 n. 10 (S.D.Ala. Jan. 18, 2008)

(rejecting objections made to the late submission of a signature necessary to authenticate a summary judgment exhibit); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(2) ; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) 324 (1986) (We do not mean that the nonmoving party must produce evidence in a form that would be admissible at trial in order to avoid summary judgment.”); Fraser v. Goodale , 342 F.3d 1032, 1036 (9th Cir.2003)

(“At the summary judgment stage, we do not focus on the admissibility of the evidence's form. We instead focus on the admissibility of its contents”), cert. denied , 541 U.S. 937, 124 S.Ct. 1663, 158 L.Ed.2d 358 (2004). Defendants easily could authenticate these records at trial using the same certificate they seek to file now. Refusing to consider the Defendants' exhibits now would strip summary judgment of [o]ne of its principal purposes... to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses.” Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 323–34, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

Because the Court will consider the Defendants' medical records without a certificate of authenticity, their request to correct them and add that certificate is DENIED AS MOOT .

II. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendants seek summary judgment on all three of Mr. Parks's claims. First, Mr. Parks claims that Dr. Blanchette was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in denying him treatment for his...

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