United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
EDWARD J. LODGE, District Judge.
Plaintiff William Katlynn Gray, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Pending before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 86), and several motions filed by Plaintiff, which include a motion for judicial settlement conference (Dkt. 83); motion for reconsideration (Dkt. 89); motion for court review of D.O.R. hearing (Dkt. 93); motion to strike (Dkt. 94); and motion to stay (Dkt. 100).
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. For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Therefore, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion for Court Review of D.O.R. Hearing. All other motions are denied as explained below.
At all times mentioned in the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff was housed in protective custody at the Idaho State Correctional Institution at Orofino (ICI-O). On April 7, 2011, Plaintiff was given a disciplinary offense report (DOR) for simple battery and placed in restrictive housing for ten days.
Plaintiff filed a Complaint alleging constitutional violation arising from the DOR. (Dkt. 3.) On November 17, 2011, the Court issued its first Initial Review Order under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and allowed Plaintiff to go forward with certain claims. (Dkt. 8.) The Court then granted Plaintiff's request to amend his Complaint and issued a Second Initial Review Order. (Dkt. 31.) The Court found that Plaintiff had stated the following colorable claims for relief in his First Amended Complaint: (1) unconstitutional retaliatory conduct under the First Amendment based on certain Defendants' pursuit of a disciplinary offense report (DOR), confiscation of Plaintiff's property, and failure to adequately respond to his complaints of unsanitary and dirty cell, all of which were allegedly motivated by a desire to retaliate against Plaintiff because he had previously filed grievances and lawsuits; (2) a substantive due process claim under the Fourteenth Amendment that the DOR was not supported by "some evidence"; (3) a procedural due process claim under the Fourteenth Amendment that the DOR disciplinary punishment, i.e., the unsanitary conditions of his cell, was a significant hardship on Plaintiff and that he had a liberty interest protected under the Due Process Clause; and (4) an Eighth Amendment claim that Plaintiff was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he was detained in a segregation cell that was contaminated with fecal matter and insects. ( Id. )
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SETTLEMENT
On May 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking an order requiring the parties to engage in a judicial settlement conference, or an alternative dispute resolution process. The Court has reviewed Plaintiff's rationale for filing his motion, which includes the lengthy nature of the case, numerous discovery motions hindering resolution, and the prospect of a third round of dispositive motions from Defendants. Defendants did not file a response, nor did they otherwise agree to proceed with ADR. Absent some evidence Defendants agree to participate in a judicial settlement conference, the Motion is denied.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration asks the Court to revisit its May 20, 2014 Order denying Plaintiff's second motion to compel. On January 21, 2014, the Court granted in part Plaintiff's First Motion to Compel and ordered Defendants to respond to Plaintiff's discovery requests. (Dkt. 78.) Plaintiff's second motion to compel asserted Defendants did not comply with their discovery obligations. The Court reviewed the record, including the interrogatories and requests for production Plaintiff propounded as well as Defendants' answers, and determined Defendants fulfilled their obligations according to the terms of the Court's prior order. As to other interrogatories Plaintiff argued should have been answered but were not, the Court noted the record reflected that the numbered interrogatories Plaintiff referenced did not exist. The Court therefore denied Plaintiff's second motion to compel, and noted that the discovery period was closed. The Court ordered dispositive motions to be filed no later than July 3, 2014. Order, May 20, 2014 (Dkt. 85.) Plaintiff now argues Defendants lied; the Court applied the incorrect standard; and its analysis was wrong.
The Court has the "inherent procedural power to reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for cause seen by it to be sufficient." City of Los Angeles v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 885 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks and emphasis omitted). Although courts have authority to reconsider prior orders, they "should be loath to do so in the absence of extraordinary circumstances such as where the initial decision was clearly erroneous and would work a manifest injustice.'" Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 817 (1988) (quoting Arizona v. California, 460 U.S. 605, 618 n. 8 (1983)). Other "courts have distilled various grounds for reconsideration of prior rulings into three major grounds for justifying reconsideration: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence or an expanded factual record; and (3) need to correct a clear error or to prevent manifest injustice." Louen v. Twedt, 2007 WL 915226 (E.D. Cal. March 26, 2007).
Plaintiff has not met his burden on any of these grounds. Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider will be denied.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STAY
Plaintiff's motion to stay, filed on July 28, 2014, requests the Court enter an order staying the proceedings relating to Defendants' summary judgment motion, which was filed on June 3, 2014, and under consideration here. Plaintiff contends the Court must resolve the pending discovery disputes prior to moving forward. Plaintiff further contends he did not receive responses to his requests for admissions, dated June 18, 2014.
Plaintiff brings his motion to stay pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). The rule states that if a party opposing summary judgment shows that "for specified reasons, he cannot present facts essential to justify his opposition" appropriate relief may be granted. However, "a Rule 56(f) motion must be supported by an affidavit which sets forth with particularity, the facts the moving party expects to discover and how those facts would create a genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment." Harbert Internat'l, Inc v. James, 157 F.3d 1271, 1280 (11th Cir. 1998). Plaintiff does not meet this standard for several reasons.
First, as explained above, the Court does not find grounds to continue these proceedings by reversing its prior orders regarding discovery. The Court noted in its May 20, 2014 Order that discovery was closed, and that no further extensions to any deadlines would be considered given the length of time the case had been pending. Defendants therefore had no obligation to respond to discovery requests propounded after May 20, 2014.
Second, these proceedings were already stayed to allow for additional discovery. In its January 21, 2014 memorandum decision and order considering Plaintiff's first motion to compel discovery, Defendants' motion to dismiss, and Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, the Court granted Plaintiff additional time within which to obtain discovery and deemed the pending dispositive motions moot to allow for renewed dispositive motions once the discovery was obtained. (Dkt. 78.) Plaintiff contends that cleaning logs he requested in his April 7, 2014, motion to compel would shed light on the cleaning procedures of the toilet that overflowed in his cell. But the cleaning procedures or logs are not relevant. The onus is on Plaintiff to demonstrate Defendants knew of the unsanitary conditions and did nothing. Plaintiff contends he informed prison staff about his cell conditions during his ten-day restrictive housing placement by submitting Kite forms complaining about his cell conditions. Plaintiff has been able to support his opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment by citing to grievance forms already in the record. Thus, the Court fails to see how additional time for discovery at this juncture would facilitate Plaintiff's presentation of his case. ( See Pl. Disputed Facts at 2, Dkt. 91.1 at 2, citing to Ex. A, Dkt. 23; and Dkt. 44 and 60.) The Court has taken all of the evidence in the record into consideration.
Third, Plaintiff's contention that Defendants lied in their discovery responses by contending no plumbing standards exist is not a basis for reopening discovery. The Court cannot compel Defendants to produce documents that they assert do not exist. Although Plaintiff may argue Defendants are lying, the Court must accept Defendants' assertions as officers of the Court. The Court will not revisit the discovery process because Plaintiff subjectively believes Defendants are lying.
Finally, Plaintiff's motion purports to set forth additional argument in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment. As such, it is not properly brought. All arguments in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment should be raised in the brief filed in opposition, not in additional motions or briefs. Dist. Idaho L. Rule 7.1.
Plaintiff's motion to stay will be denied.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR COURT REVIEW OF D.O.R. HEARING
Plaintiff requests the Court consider the testimony presented during his Disciplinary Offense hearing. Defendants filed a notice of non-opposition to the motion and submitted an audio CD to the Court for review. (Dkt. 96.) The Court has reviewed the contents of the audio CD in its consideration of Defendants' motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff's opposition thereto. The motion will be granted.
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE
The Court has reviewed the motion to strike directed at the affidavits of Defendants Powers, Hasenoehrl, Whitesall, Anderson, Schweller, Bayer, Bybee, French, Gunn Jr., Gunn Sr., Marble, Martinez, Shriver, and Reed. Essentially, Plaintiff objects to the affidavits Defendants submitted in support of their motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff argues the affidavits are unsupported by any admissible evidence because the affiants have lied. Plaintiff further contends the affidavits contain statements that are vague, hearsay, not based upon personal knowledge, irrelevant, and speculative. Plaintiff then proceeds to attack each affidavit with argument that attempts to dispute the facts stated therein, arguing that the statements are not true.
Rule 56(c)(2) permits a party to object to facts on the grounds that they cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence. Other than arguing the affiants have lied and setting forth additional argument in opposition to Defendants' summary judgment motion, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the objectionable statements are inadmissible under the rules of evidence, or cannot be presented in a form admissible in evidence. If Plaintiff contests the facts stated in Defendants' affidavits, he may present those facts in ...