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Teri Morehouse, As An Individual v. Idaho State Department of Corrections; and Brent D. Reinke

April 23, 2012

TERI MOREHOUSE, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, LORISA WELLOCK, AS AN INDIVIDUAL,
MILLER, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
IDAHO STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; AND BRENT D. REINKE, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; TEREMA CARLIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY; THOMAS HOUDESHELL, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; KENNETH ALLDRIN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; ROBERT QUINN DAVIDSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; AARON KRIEGER, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; TERRI TOMISSER, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY; THOMAS MCKINZIE, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

The Court has before it Defendants' Motion for Severance of Claims (Dkt. 26), and Defendants' Motion to Strike Portions of the Morehouse, Wellock, and Miller Affidavits (Dkt. 28). The motions are fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons expressed below, the Court will DENY the Motion for Severance of Claims and will DENY as moot the Motion to Strike.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Teri Morehouse, Lisa Miller, and Lorisa Wellock filed a joint First Amended Complaint and Demand for a Jury Trial (Dkt. 13) against the Idaho State Department of Corrections (IDOC) and seven IDOC employees on September 16, 2011. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1.1-1.13, Dkt. 13.Plaintiffs are former correctional facility workers at IDOC's Idaho Correctional Institution located in Orofino, Idaho (ICI-O) and at the North Idaho Correctional Institution, located in Cottonwood, Idaho (NICI). Id. ¶ 3.1, Dkt. 13.

1.Teri Morehouse

Plaintiff Morehouse began working as a correctional facility worker at the IDOC's ICI-O in April 2008. Id. at ¶ 3.3. Morehouse was assigned to report to training officer Thomas Houdeshell for her mandatory training, evaluation, and advancement. Id. at ¶ 3.5. Morehouse alleges that Houdeshell sexually harassed her during this training. Id. at ¶ 3.7. Houdeshell did not complete the mandatory training with Morehouse but suggested he could help with Morehouse's career advancement because he was friendly with Warden Terema Carlin. Id. at ¶¶ 3.7-3.10. In October 2008, Houdeshell denied Morehouse advancement to Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) by not signing her training logs. Id. at ¶ 3.15. Morehouse was told she could not advance without Houdeshell's written approval. Id. Houdeshell suggested meeting at a bar to discuss Morehouse's training logs but she refused. Id. at ¶ 3.16. Morehouse notified Lieutenant Thomas McKinzie about Houdeshell's conduct. Id. at ¶ 3.17. Lieutenant McKinzie allegedly violated standard operating procedures (SOP) by failing to report the complaint to the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) or to Human Resource Services (HRS). Instead, he ordered Houdeshell to complete Morehouse's training logs. Houdeshell signed the training logs without conducting Morehouse's mandatory training. Id.

In February 2009, POST officers and Warden Carlin characterized Morehouse as being insufficiently tough for corrections work. Id. at ¶ 3.20. In response to this characterization, Morehouse complained to the POST administration, OPS, and to Warden Carlin that she was being mischaracterized because IDOC officials had been sexually inappropriate with her. Id. at ¶ 3.21. Warden Carlin revoked Morehouse's status, placed her on probation, and assigned her to be closely supervised. Id. at ¶ 3.23. Houdeshell continued to sexually harass Morehouse. Id. at ¶ 3.24. Morehouse again complained of the harassment to IDOC supervisors. Id. at ¶ 3.25.

In May 2009, IDOC assigned Houdeshell to train Morehouse in remedial combat, arrest, handcuff, and other hand-to-hand physical training. Id. at ¶ 3.27. Morehouse protested this assignment to her supervisors and Warden Carlin. Warden Carlin instructed Morehouse to file a report regarding her issues with Houdeshell and to not discuss the situation with anyone other than her supervisors and Warden Carlin. On May 29, 2009, Morehouse submitted an IDOC Information Report Form regarding Houdeshell's sexual harassment towards her. Id. at ¶¶ 3.28-3.30. On June 10, 2009, Houdeshell received a Notification of Staff Investigation regarding his misconduct. Houdeshell continued to make contact with Morehouse during their night shifts and demanded shift-change status reports from Morehouse while physically blocking her exit. Id. at ¶ 3.34.

On June 17, 2009 Morehouse was interviewed by OPS personnel regarding her complaint. Id. at ¶ 3.35. Morehouse alleges OPS did not provide a safe environment to conduct the interview because she was escorted into the OPS interview while the swing and graveyard shifts passed through the main lobby of the prison, in plain view of many co-workers. Accordingly, fellow officers asked her about the interview. Id. at ¶¶ 3.36-3.38. OPS terminated its investigation in June 2009. Id. at ¶ 3.36.

On July 16, 2009, Warden Carlin terminated Morehouse for failing to complete her probation training and accused her of publicizing her OPS complaint. Id. at ¶ 3.42. On November 21, 2009, Morehouse filed a Notice of Claim with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") describing sex discrimination, quid pro quo, hostile work environment, and retaliatory dismissal. On January 20, 2011, Morehouse received a Notice of Right to File Suit from the EEOC. Id. at ¶¶ 3.44-3.45.

2.Lisa Miller

Plaintiff Miller began working as a correctional officer at the IDOC's ICI-O in

December 2008. Id. at ¶ 3.46. On June 18, 2009, she was interviewed by an OPS investigator regarding Morehouse's complaint against Houdeshell. Id. at ¶ 3.48. After her interview, Houdeshell approached her at home regarding her OPS interview. Id. at ¶ 3.49. On July 28, 2009, Miller was contacted regarding a potential transfer to IDOC's NICI facility in Cottonwood, Idaho and in August 2009 she was transferred. Id. at ¶¶ 3.50-3.51.

At NICI, Miller's supervisors reported anonymous, unwritten inmate grievances against her for improper sexual boundaries and flirtation. Id. at ¶ 3.53. Miller also alleges she was often put in unsafe situations, where the ratio of inmates to corrections officers was overwhelming and exceeded standards. Id. at ¶ 3.54. Miller further alleges that despite written evaluations asserting her effectiveness at managing inmates, Deputy Warden Aaron Krieger told her that she was a weak link, crediting anonymous, unspecified, and unwritten grievances by inmates stating Miller lured inmates into unlawful romantic entanglements. Id. at ¶ 3.58. Warden Krieger stated that the next grievance would be her last ...


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