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Goodrick v. Sonnen

May 12, 2010

DAN GOODRICK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PAM SONNEN, KEVIN KEMPF, KIM JONES, JOHANNA SMITH, J. HARDISON, J. HENRY, MICHAEL JOHNSON, KIM SPAULDING, AMY ANDERSON, J.C. TYON, C/O REYES, Z. MCKNIGHT, LT. GERBER, TEREMA CARLIN, TODD MARTIN, TOM MCKENZIE, AND C/O CRAWFORD, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

Several motions are currently pending in this prisoner civil rights matter. The parties have adequately stated the facts and legal argument in their briefing, and the Court shall resolve these matters on the written record without oral argument. D. Idaho. L. Civil. R. 7.1.

For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that the claims against the remaining Defendants are untimely, and Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings will be granted on that basis.*fn1

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that prison officials and employees at the Idaho Correctional Institution at Orofino (ICI-O) conspired in late 2005 and early 2006 to "file a bogus and false disciplinary (DOR) charge" against him in order to impede his ability to litigate claims against the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC). (Amended Complaint, p. 2.) In particular, Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Anderson, a sergeant, "coerced, bullied, and used other inmates" to allege falsely that Plaintiff had engaged in sexual misconduct, and that prison officials Terema Carlin, Kevin Kempf, Todd Martin, and Tom McKenzie, interfered with the subsequent investigation so that Plaintiff would be found guilty and transferred from ICI-O. (Id. at ¶¶ 33, 36, 38, 42.)

On January 4, 2006, Defendant Crawford allegedly conducted an unfair disciplinary hearing on the charge and falsified documents to support the guilty finding. (Id. at ¶ 56.) According to Plaintiff, ICI-O officials used the DOR to have him taken immediately before a Restrictive Housing hearing, where Plaintiff was reclassified and transferred to the Idaho Maximum Security Institution (IMSI). (Id. at ¶¶ 59-62.) Within ten days of the transfer, an appellate authority at ICI-O dismissed the DOR, but Plaintiff contends that he did not learn of the dismissal for almost another three years. (Id. at ¶ 78.) Instead, he alleges that other IDOC officials continued to rely on the DOR as if it were still active, and, in conjunction with a sexual predatory behavior alert that had been placed in his file, these officials kept him in a more restrictive housing environment.

In December 2008, after Plaintiff received confirmation that the DOR had been dismissed in 2006, he notified classification officer Kim Spaulding, who thanked him for "bringing this to [her] attention" and informed him that the "DOR has been removed from [his] central file." (Exhibit K.) Spaulding then recalculated Plaintiff's custody level, which changed from close custody to medium custody. (Exhibit K.) Warden Jeff Henry responded to Plaintiff's subsequent grievance by informing him that the "[t]he error had been corrected" and he "will be reviewed for future appropriate housing based on the [new] classification and the safety of the facility and [him]." (Exhibit L.) In April 2009, Plaintiff was returned to ICI-O. (Id. at ¶¶ 160-65.)

In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has listed seventeen potential defendants. The Court conducted an initial review of the Amended Complaint and concluded that Plaintiff had stated claims for relief under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against ICI-O Defendants Amy Anderson, Terema Carlin, Kevin Kempf, Todd Martin, Tom McKenzie, and C/O Crawford. (Docket No. 10, pp. 5-7.) On the other hand, the Court dismissed all other named IDOC Defendants whom Plaintiff alleged were involved in a broad conspiracy to cover up the dismissal of the DOR, house him in administrative segregation, and force him to settle his lawsuits. (Docket No. 10, p. 7.) These included Pam Sonnen, Johanna Smith, J. Hardison, J. Henry, Michael Johnson, Kim Spaulding, J.C. Tyon, C/O Reyes, Z. McKnight, Lt. Gerber and Kim Jones. (Id.)

The remaining Defendants filed an Answer and a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, arguing that the claims against them are untimely because the statute of limitations has expired. (Docket No. 19, pp. 7-11.) Other motions are also pending.

PRELIMINARY DISCOVERY MOTIONS

The parties have filed discovery-related motions, including Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and Defendants' Motion for Protective Order. It appears that Defendants did not respond to Plaintiff's initial discovery requests, and Defendants seek an order protecting them from discovery until the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is resolved. Plaintiff counters that discovery should have proceeded as a matter of course, and that Defendants did not lodge an objection in a timely manner.

While the Court disapproves of Defendants' apparent tardiness in seeking a protective order, the Court agrees with Defendants that unless an exchange of discovery would be relevant to the pending procedural issue, it would be premature, burdensome, and wasteful of resources. After reviewing Plaintiff's arguments, the Court finds that he has not offered a persuasive reason for discovery to go forward at this time. His requests are exceptionally broad and seek the disclosure of documents and answers to interrogatories that are designed to develop evidence on the merits of his claims rather than to rebut Defendants' statute of limitations defense. Though Plaintiff does argue that the discovery could reveal an "ongoing tort" by Defendants, thus providing a later starting date for the statute of limitations, reliance on the continuing tort doctrine is misplaced in this proceeding, for the reasons the Court gives below.

Therefore, Defendants' Motion for a Protective Order will be granted, and Plaintiff's Motion to Compel and ...


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