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Wolf v. Otter

United States District Court, D. Idaho

June 3, 2014

ANDREW J.J. WOLF, R. HANS KRUGER, and DAVID S. BEGLEY, [1] Plaintiff,
v.
C.L.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiffs, prisoners in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), are proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Now pending before the Court are the following motions: (1) Defendant Reinke's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 46), which will be treated as a motion for summary judgment ( see Dkt. 80); (2) a Motion to Dismiss Injunctive Relief Claims (Dkt. 62) filed by Defendants CCA and Ellis ("CCA Defendants"); and (3) Plaintiffs' Motion for Contempt (Dkt. 81).[2]

Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary. D. Idaho L. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting in part Defendant Reinke's Motion, granting the CCA Defendants' Motion, and denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Contempt.

INTRODUCTION

The parties are familiar with the factual and procedural history of this case. In its Initial Review Order, the Court reviewed Plaintiffs' Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and concluded that Plaintiffs could proceed on the following claims:

• Third, Fourth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Claims for Relief against Defendant Reinke (for injunctive relief only), based on the alleged denial of adequate ventilation in Unit 14 of the Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI) and the West Wing Units at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC).
• Fifth, and Sixth Claims for Relief against Defendant Reinke (for injunctive relief only), based on the alleged denial of adequate HVAC at Units 7, 9, 10, 11, and 13 at ISCI.
• Twelfth, Thirteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-First Claims for Relief against Defendant Reinke and former Defendant Wengler (for injunctive relief only), as well as Defendant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) (for injunctive relief and monetary damages), based on the alleged denial of adequate dayroom space at the ICC West Wing Units and the alleged denial of adequate out-of-cell time at ICC and ISCI.
• Twenty-Fourth Claim for Relief against Defendant Reinke (for injunctive relief only), based on the alleged failure to protect inmates from attacks by other inmates.

(Dkt. 27.)[3] Plaintiffs' claims are all based on a central theme: that systematic overcrowding in the ISCI and ICC prisons has led to allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

Defendant Ellis, the current warden of ICC, was later substituted as a Defendant in place of Defendant Wengler, and Defendant Wengler was dismissed from this action. (Dkt. 57.) The CCA Defendants have filed an Answer to Plaintiffs' Complaint (Dkt. 43), but Defendant Reinke has not.

On March 25, 2014, the Court dismissed Plaintiff Kruger's claims against the CCA Defendants because Kruger did not exhaust available administrative remedies within the ICC grievance system prior to filing suit. (Dkt. 76.) In the meantime, Defendant Reinke filed a motion to dismiss all of the claims against him on the following grounds: (1) Plaintiff Kruger did not exhaust available administrative remedies with respect to any of his claims; and (2) Plaintiffs' Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (Dkt. 46.) The Court notified the parties that it intended to treat Defendant Reinke's motion on exhaustion as a motion for summary judgment, and the parties have now filed supplemental briefs in response. (Dkt. 80, 82, & 83.) The CCA Defendants have also moved to dismiss all claims for injunctive relief against them on the grounds that Plaintiffs Wolf and Kruger are no longer incarcerated at ICC and that their claims for injunctive relief against the CCA Defendants are therefore moot. (Dkt. 62.)

DEFENDANT REINKE'S MOTION TO DISMISS, TREATED AS A RULE 56 MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

1. Standard of Law

Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), [4] prisoners are required to exhaust all available administrative remedies within the prison system before they can include the claims in a new or ongoing civil rights lawsuit challenging the conditions of their confinement. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Cano v. Taylor, 739 F.3d 1214, 1220-21 (9th Cir. 2014) (holding that a claim may be exhausted prior to filing suit or during suit, so long as exhaustion was completed before the first time the prisoner sought to include the claim in the suit). "Proper" exhaustion of administrative remedies is required, meaning that the prisoner must comply "with [the prison's] deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings." Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90-91 (2006).

"There is no question that exhaustion is mandatory under the PLRA and that unexhausted claims cannot be brought in court." Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007). The exhaustion requirement is based on the important policy concern that prison officials should have "an opportunity to resolve disputes concerning ...


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