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Shannon Bruce Morley v. Rocky Watson and Felix Gayton

July 3, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Candy W. Dale United States Magistrate Judge


Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Kootenai County Sheriff Rocky Watson and Deputy Felix Gayton. (Dkt. 39).*fn1 All parties appearing before the Court have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to enter final orders in this case. (Dkt. 28.) See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72.

In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Shannon Bruce Morley alleges that, while incarcerated at the Kootenai County Jail, Defendant Watson was responsible for Defendant Gayton dispensing the wrong eye drops to Plaintiff, causing him intense pain and the loss of 40% of his vision. (Dkt. 11.) In the Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants argue that there are no genuine disputes of material fact, that no constitutional right of Plaintiff has been violated, and that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment. Plaintiff opposes summary judgment, and has filed a "Motion for a Rule 56(f) Continuance." (Dkt. 50.)

Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this matter will be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument. D. Idaho L. R. 7.1. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.


On May 3, 2012, Plaintiff filed "Motion for a Rule 56(f) Continuance." (Dkt. 50.) The pending Motion for Summary Judgment was filed on November 30, 2011. (Dkt. 39.) Plaintiff "was rearrested on December 15, 2011," in Chelan County Washington, where he remains jailed today. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts that, due to jail policies regarding inmates' possession of legal materials, he was forced to file an incomplete response to Defendant's dispositive motion on December 27, 2011. (Dkt. 43.)

On January 23, 2012, Plaintiff requested leave of Court to file a supplemental response, which was granted on February 13, 2012. (Motion for Consideration, Dkt. 45; Order, Dkt. 47). On February 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed a supplemental response. (Dkt. 48). Plaintiff now seeks a continuance to file yet another supplemental response, asserting that he did not have access to his legal work for this case when he filed his other responses.

Rule 56(d) provides, in pertinent part:

If a non-movant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:

(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;

(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or

(3) issue any other appropriate order.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d).

"A party requesting a continuance pursuant to Rule [56(d)] must identify by affidavit the specific facts that further discovery would reveal, and explain why those facts would preclude summary judgment." Tatum v. City of San Francisco, 441 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2006). Whether to grant such a motion is a matter of discretion. Id.

Even under a very liberal construction applied to a pro se plaintiff, the Court finds that Plaintiff's request does not meet the requirements of Rule 56(d). Plaintiff does not provide the Court with any inkling of which facts Plaintiff was unable to provide in his first two responses. Discovery in this matter closed on September 30, 2011, and thus, it is not possible for Plaintiff to obtain new evidence to support his claims at this late date.

The Court finds that Plaintiff has had adequate time to obtain facts and present them to the Court in his two responses, and he has not provided any information regarding any further facts he wishes to present. Even after Defendants informed Plaintiff that he "bears the burden of presenting adequate facts which would justify a [continuance]," Plaintiff failed to file a reply to provide the Court with information about what more he would submit with a third response. (Dkt. 51.) For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court will deny Plaintiff's request for a continuance.


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