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Albert Pete Veenstra Iii v. Corrections Corporation of America (Cca)

August 15, 2011

ALBERT PETE VEENSTRA III, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA (CCA), A TENNESSEE CORPORATION, STEVEN CONRY, V.P., CCA; ICC MAILROOM SUPERVISOR, KATHY RADFORD; PHILIP VALDEZ, WARDEN ICC; JOHN/JANE, MAILROOM EMPLOYEES 1 & 2; GRIEVANCE COORDINATOR CHESTER PENN; JOEL VANCE YOUNG, ASSISTANT WARDEN ICC; SUED IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, AND THEIR SUCCESSORS IN OFFICE, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: U. S. District Judge Honorable Edward J. Lodge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Reconsider, or, in the Alternative, Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 38). Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral arguments, this matter shall be decided on the record before this Court. D. Idaho L. Civ. R. 7.1(d).

BACKGROUND

The facts underlying this lawsuit are detailed in the Court's March 28 order, see Dkt. 37, at 2-4, and will not be recapitulated in full here. Briefly, however, the facts relevant to this motion are as follows:

In June 2008, plaintiff Albert Veenstra was transferred from the Idaho Corrections Center to the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas. He remained there until September 2009, when he was transferred back to the Idaho prison.

Veenstra's mail should have been forwarded to him at the Texas facility for sixty days, ending August 18, 2008. Veenstra alleges that ICC mailroom supervisor Kathy Radford violated this policy some time between August 8 and 11, 2008, by failing to forward his mail.

Veenstra did not file a concern form about this incident while he was in the Texas prison. Instead, he filed the concern form on September 22, 2009, five days after he was transferred from Texas back to Idaho.

In their August 2010 motion, Defendants argued that Veenstra's complaint should be dismissed because he did not timely exhaust his administrative remedies. See Dkt. 18. On March 28, 2011, the Court granted in part and denied in part the motion. See Dkt. 37.

The partial denial related to the August mailroom incident described above. In that regard, the Court concluded that Defendants had failed to demonstrate that the Idaho prison's administrative procedures remained available to Veenstra while he was in the Texas prison. See id. at 8 (holding Defendants had "not met their affirmative burden to show that the administrative review process was 'available' to Plaintiff when he was in Texas"). Defendants ask for reconsideration of this conclusion.

ANALYSIS

1. Legal Standard Applicable to this Motion

A motion to reconsider an interlocutory ruling requires an analysis of two important principles: (1) Error must be corrected; and (2) Judicial efficiency demands forward progress. The former principal has led courts to hold that a denial of a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment may be reconsidered at any time before final judgment. Preaseau v. Prudential Ins. Co., 591 F.2d 74, 79-80 (9th Cir. 1979). While even an interlocutory decision becomes the "law of the case," it is not necessarily carved in stone. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concluded that the "law of the case" doctrine "merely expresses the practice of courts generally to refuse to reopen what has been decided, not a limit to their power." Messinger v. Anderson, 225 U.S. 436, 444 (1912). "The only sensible thing for a trial court to do is to set itself right as soon as possible when convinced that the law of the case is erroneous. There is no need to await reversal." In re Airport Car Rental Antitrust Litig., 521 F. Supp. 568, 572 (N.D. Cal. 1981).

The need to be right, however, must co-exist with the need for forward progress. A court's opinions "are not intended as mere first drafts, subject to revision and reconsideration at a litigant's pleasure." Quaker Alloy Casting Co. v. Gulfco Indus., Inc., 123 F.R.D. 282, 288 (N.D. Ill.1988). "Courts have distilled various grounds for ...


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