Unpublished Disposition, 899 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1990)Annotate this Case
Rashid Jak HENRY, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.Richard GODBEHERE, Sheriff, Defendant-Appellee.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted Sept. 1, 1989.* Decided April 4, 1990.
Before JAMES R. BROWNING, KOZINSKI and RYMER, Circuit Judges.
Henry claims that officials of the Maricopa County Jail violated his constitutional rights through their deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in refusing to repair his broken denture. Henry alleges that he broke his dental plate when he bit into a large metal staple concealed in his food at the jail, and that the broken denture seriously affected his ability to chew and consequently to gain nourishment.
Godbehere moved for summary judgment and presented dental records and affidavits from Dr. Michael Adu-Tutu, a dentist, and Susan Nicholson, a dental assistant at the jail. This evidence indicates that jail officials refused to repair Henry's dental plate because the dentist believed that Henry's mastication was not greatly affected by the broken denture.
Henry presented no evidence in rebuttal. All he offers is his own unsupported testimony that his ability to chew was greatly affected by the broken denture. Henry has not rebutted defendant's evidence that jail officials refused to repair his denture because they believed there was no serious medical problem.
To prevail on his constitutional claim, it would not be enough for Henry to prove he couldn't chew; he would have to show that prison officials knew he was unable to chew and nonetheless refused him treatment. The evidence Godbehere submitted clearly demonstrates that officials relied on the dentist's expert opinion that Henry could still chew. "A difference of opinion does not amount to a deliberate indifference to [Henry's] serious medical needs." Sanchez v. Vild, 891 F.2d 240, 242 (9th Cir. 1989). Henry has not presented a genuine issue of material fact, and the grant of summary judgment for Godbehere was appropriate. See Tzung v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 873 F.2d 1338, 1339-40 (9th Cir. 1989).