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Horonzy v. Correctional Corporation

United States District Court, D. Idaho

August 1, 2014

JOHN HORONZY, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL CORPORATION OF AMERICA; MS. BRENNER; MS. FRY; MR. YALEE; MS. RODGERS; MR. CHENEY; JUAN IBARRA; and JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-5, all named in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, District Judge.

Currently pending before the Court are Defendants Corrections Corporation of America, Susan Fry, Shane Yehle, Linda Rogers, Daniel Chaney and Juan Ibarra's ("CCA Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 42) and Plaintiff John Horonzy's Motion for Judicial Notice (Dkt. 49).

Plaintiff, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction ("IDOC"), is proceeding pro se in this civil rights action. Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument. Accordingly, the Court will decide this matter on the record without oral argument. D. Idaho L. R. 7.1.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Idaho State Correctional Institution (ISCI). However, between July 6, 2009, and February 15, 2011, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Idaho Correctional Center (ICC).

On May 25, 2011, Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint alleging that while he was incarcerated at ICC, Defendant Brenner, a correctional officer, made sexual advances toward him. ( See Dkt. 3.) When Plaintiff declined her sexual advances, he alleges that Defendant Brenner retaliated against him by preventing him from receiving medical treatment and his religious diet, conducting numerous cell and pat-down searches on him, placing him in segregation, and destroying and/or stealing his property. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Fry, Yehle, Rogers, and Chaney aided Defendant Brenner in these actions, and that they fired him from his prison job as well. Defendant Ibarra, an ICC investigator, later interviewed Plaintiff about the alleged misconduct but didn't seem concerned about Defendants' threatening conduct toward Plaintiff, and instead harassed and intimidated Plaintiff. ( Id. )

The Court reviewed Plaintiff's initial Complaint and permitted him to proceed only against Defendant Brenner for his claims of Eighth Amendment sexual abuse and First Amendment retaliation. (Dkt. 7.) Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental or First Amended Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint. (Dkt. 8.) On June 15, 2012, the Court determined that Plaintiff cured the deficiencies in his original Complaint so he was then permitted to proceed against all Defendants on all of his claims, including constitutional violations of failure to protect, calculated harassment and retaliation, inadequate medical care, and denial of religious practices, so long as he served the Amended Complaint on all Defendants within 60 days after entry of the Order. (Dkt. 12, p.2; Dkt. 8, pp.4-12.) Plaintiff served all the Defendants, except Defendant Brenner. On February 11, 2013, the Court ordered all claims against Defendant Brenner dismissed without prejudice because she was not served within the time period set forth in the June 15, 2012 Order. (Dkt. 27, p.4.)

On January 10, 2013, the CCA Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Dkt. 23.) The Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims of inadequate medical care and interference with his religious diet on the grounds of failure to exhaust administrative remedies. However, the Court denied the motion as to Plaintiff's claims of failure to protect, harassment and retaliation and allowed those claims to proceed. (Dkt. 31.) Defendants now move for summary judgment on those claims.

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Plaintiff has filed a motion asking the Court take notice of the facts of another case involving CCA in order to show "the propensity of the Defendants to hide the truth of any matter asserted." (Dkt. 49, p. 2.)

A court may take judicial notice of adjudicative facts which are not subject to a reasonable dispute. Fed.R.Evid. 201. When judicial notice has been taken of certain facts, the fact finder must accept the facts as conclusive. Id . The advisory committee's notes to Rule 201 clarify the following relevant principles. First, adjudicative facts are "simply the facts of the particular case." A court may not take judicial notice of "legislative facts, " which are, in contrast, those facts "which have relevance to legal reasoning and the lawmaking process, whether in the formulation of a legal principle or ruling by a judge or court or in the enactment of a legislative body."

Plaintiff is asking the Court to take judicial notice of the other case to support his proposition that Defendants are not truthful. This is not an "adjudicative fact" encompassed by Rule 201. Plaintiff's motion is denied.

DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

1. Factual Background

This section includes facts that are undisputed and material to the resolution of the issues in this case. Where material facts are in dispute, the Court has included Plaintiff's version of facts, insofar as that version is not contradicted by clear documentary evidence in the record. See Scott v. Harris , 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) ("When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.")

Plaintiff John Horozny is an inmate under the jurisdiction of the IDOC. He was incarcerated at ICC from July 6, 2009 through February 15, 2011. On March 13, 2011, ICC Investigator Defendant Ibarra received an Offender Concern Form dated March 10, 2011 from Plaintiff which stated:

From July 2009 to Feb. 2011 I was harassed and threatened by ICC staff. I was propositioned by my case manager Brenner of B pod who repeatedly would touch my hand and make comments that made me feel I was being pressured, or else. When I declined, Brenner sent Sgt. Fry to fire me from my job. Then I started to be harassed from Rodgers and Yalee of B pod. Then Rodgers put me in segregation for 4 days, no [disciplinary offense report], just punishment. Request investigation.

(Sec. Ibarra Dec., ¶ 9; Ex. C (Dkts. 44, 44-3)). Ibarra responded on March 13, 2011, stating: "Please provide me a detailed report with dates served to Juan Ibarra ICC Investigator." ( Id . at ¶ 10.)

On March 16, 2011, Ibarra opened an investigation into Plaintiff's allegations. He interviewed Defendant Brenner by telephone and she denied all of Plaintiff's claims. Ibarra also interviewed and collected written statements from Defendants Fry, Yehle, and Rogers. Ibarra did not interview Defendant Chaney because he was not mentioned in Plaintiff's complaint as someone who harassed or retaliated against him. ( Id . at ¶¶ 11-16.)

On March 30, 2011, Ibarra met with Plaintiff at ISCI regarding the complaints Plaintiff had raised. Plaintiff informed Ibarra that he had prepared a six page report as Ibarra had requested. However, Plaintiff did not share his report with Ibarra and did not share any details regarding the dates or the alleged harassment by ICC staff. Ibarra informed Plaintiff he could take the report at that time or Plaintiff could send it to him within two weeks. Ibarra states that Plaintiff told Ibarra that he was not assaulted by Brenner and instead she only touched his hands. ( Id . at ¶ 17; Ex. K (Dkt. 44-11.))

On May 19, 2011 Ibarra closed the investigation because he had not received the detailed report he had requested, even though Plaintiff had been given additional time. Ibarra determined that based on the minimal information from Plaintiff and reports he received from ICC staff, Plaintiff was not harassed or retaliated against. ( Id . at ¶ 18; Ex. I (Dkt. 44-12)). Plaintiff's version of the facts is different. He attests that Ibarra told him not to pursue his grievance by stating "it was probably better if [he] dropped this case", which Plaintiff took as a threat. (Pla. Aff., ¶ 9 (Dkt. 48-1.))

In response to Defendants' interrogatories, Plaintiff stated that Brenner's sexual advances began in June or July 2010 and that he complained about these advances, both verbally and in writing, to a "Corrections Officer of ICC."[1] He states he had "written documentation regarding each and every occasion that these sexual advances occurred [which] was taken from my cell during ...


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