Mitchell v. State of Washington, No. 13-36217 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, diagnosed with Hepatitis C, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, for injunction relief and damages, alleging constitutionally inadequate medical care and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. The district court granted summary judgment to defendants. The court concluded that plaintiff is not bound by his deposition testimony and his damages claims against defendants in their individual capacities are not barred by the Eleventh Amendment; given the failure of plaintiff's requested treatment for Hepatitis C and there is no reasonable expectation that plaintiff will request the same failed treatment again, plaintiff's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief are moot; plaintiff failed to present evidence sufficient to rebut the Youngsberg v. Romeo professional judgment standard and thus the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's claim of inadequate medical care; plaintiff has set forth specific facts plausibly suggesting that Dr. Bell employed an explicit racial classification sufficient to trigger strict scrutiny; the district court erred in concluding that no constitutional violation occurred when Dr. Bell failed to offer any compelling justification for the racial classification, let alone a justification that was narrowly tailored; and, because it was not clearly established that a reasonable official would understand that the use of race-related success-of-treatment data as a factor in a medical treatment decision would be unconstitutional, Dr. Bell is entitled to qualified immunity. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment.