The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge
Pending before the Court are the following motions: (1) Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss and/or Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 33)
("Defendant's Motion"); (2) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave of Court to
File Second Amended Civil Rights Complaint (Dkt. 36) ("Plaintiff's
Motion to Amend"); (3) Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendant Kathy
Radford's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 37), which the Court
construes as a Motion to Deny Defendant's Motion under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(d) ("Plaintiff's Rule 56(d) Motion");*fn1
and (4) Plaintiff's Motion to Take Judicial Notice of ICC
Defendants Exhibits ICC Hayes 214 through ICC Hayes 217 (Dkt. 38)
("Plaintiff's Motion for Judicial Notice").
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 conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this matter shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument. D. Idaho Loc. R. 7.1. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that all of Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed because (1) Plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies as to most of his claims, and (2) the claims that he did exhaust do not involve legal mail and, therefore, any opening of that mail did not violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights. The Court further concludes that any amendment would be futile and will therefore grant Defendant's Motion.
This section includes facts that are material to the resolution of the issues in this case. Because Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's Motion other than to file his Rule 56(d) Motion and his Motion to Amend, the Court deems the following facts undisputed for purposes of this Order. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2) ("If a party . . . fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion . . . .").
Plaintiff is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), currently incarcerated at Idaho Maximum Security Institution. Plaintiff filed the instant case, which relates to incidents occurring when Plaintiff was incarcerated at Idaho Correctional Center (ICC), against six defendants. In its Initial Review Order, the Court reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and determined that it stated a colorable claim only against Defendant Radford for her allegedly improper opening of Plaintiff's legal mail. (See Dkt. 6 at 4.) The Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's remaining claims. (Id. at 7-8.) Defendant Radford now moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Radford "has made a practice of Opening Plaintiff's Legal mail that is clearly marked as Legal Mail and has been doing so for the last 5 years," or since 2004. (Complaint, Dkt. 1 at 7.) In support of her Motion, Defendant has submitted Plaintiff's answers to interrogatories propounded under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 33. When asked to list "all dates on which Kathy Radford allegedly opened [his] legal mail" and to identify the sender of each piece of mail, Plaintiff listed the following sixteen discrete incidents:
1. 06/28/2004: Attorney Frederick Loats
2. 11/09/2004: Confidential Investigations Process Servers.
3. 11/10/2005: Attorney Erik P. Smith
4. 09/19/2006: Idaho State Bar
5. 04/19/2006: Idaho State Bar
6. 04/24/2006: Attorney Jonathan Hull
7. 12/21/2006: Idaho State Bar
8. 01/09/2007: Kootenai County Courthouse
9. 09/26/2007: Shoshone County Courthouse
10. 10/04/2007: Idaho Supreme Court
11. 05/15/2009: Attorney Jonathan Hull
12. 05/15/2009: Attorney Jonathan Hull
13. 06/09/2009: Idaho State Bar
14. 07/21/2009: Moore & Elia, LLP ...