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Campbell v. Yordy

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 15, 2016



          Edward J. Lodge United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Jerry W. Campbell is a prisoner currently in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (“IDOC”). United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale previously reviewed Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and allowed him to proceed on the following claims: (1) Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Yordy, Blair, and Kempf for failing to protect Plaintiff from attack and for housing Plaintiff in unsanitary conditions of confinement; and (2) Eighth Amendment claims against Corizon-the private entity providing medical care to inmates under contract with the IDOC-for understaffing in the medical annex and for housing Plaintiff in (or failing to transfer Plaintiff from) the medical annex despite unsanitary conditions. (Dkt. 10 at 4-5.) Plaintiff was not allowed to proceed on any other claims at that time.

         This case was later reassigned to the undersigned judge. Now pending before the Court is Defendant Corizon's Motion for Summary Judgment, which the IDOC Defendants have joined and which is now ripe for adjudication. (Dkt. 22, 24). Several other motions are also pending.

         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. See D. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting Defendants' Motion and dismissing this case without prejudice for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.


         In its order reviewing Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the Court previously determined that Plaintiff failed to state a plausible due process claim based on his disciplinary hearing and his placement in administrative segregation. (Dkt. 10 at 5.) In doing so, the Court erroneously stated that Plaintiff had failed to allege the amount of time he spent in administrative segregation. The Court had mistakenly overlooked the fact that the Amended Complaint had alleged that Plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation for 10 days. (See Dkt. 9 at ECF p.13.) Therefore, the Court will grant Plaintiff's Motion to Review Pages of the Amended Complaint and will reconsider Plaintiff's due process claim under the screening standards set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         The Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process prohibits the government from depriving an individual of a liberty or property interest without following adequate procedures. Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 558-66 (1974). A prisoner possesses a liberty interest in avoiding a change in confinement-such as a transfer to restrictive housing-only if that change imposes an “atypical and significant hardship . . . in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995). The length of time an inmate spends in restrictive housing is one factor in this analysis, along with whether the segregation was essentially the same as other forms of segregation, whether the change in confinement constituted a major disruption in the inmate's environment, and whether the length of the inmate's sentence was affected. Id. at 486-87.

         Considering all of the Sandin factors together, the Court concludes that the Amended Complaint does not plausibly suggest that Plaintiff had a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause. The small amount of time that Plaintiff was confined in administration segregation-a mere ten days-weighs heavily against finding a liberty interest, and the length of Plaintiff's sentence was not affected. These factors are not outweighed by the other Sandin factors.

         Therefore, the Court reaffirms Judge Dale's conclusion that Plaintiff has not stated a colorable due process claim based on his disciplinary proceedings and his placement in administrative segregation for ten days. The Court agrees that the only plausible claims stated in the Amended Complaint are Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect and sanitation claims against Defendants Yordy, Blair, and Kempf, and Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment understaffing and sanitation claims against Corizon.


         The IDOC Defendants have filed a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Sur-reply to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. 35.) Defendants are correct that the sur-reply was not authorized. However, because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will exercise its discretion to consider the sur-reply, along with all filings in this case. The Motion to Strike will be denied.


         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 the facts.

         IDOC has established a grievance process, which is attached as Exhibit A-1 to the Affidavit of Jill Whittington, IDOC's Grievance Coordinator (“Whittington Aff.”) (Dkt. 22-4). This grievance process consists of three stages. First, any inmate with a concern is required to seek an informal resolution by filling out an offender concern form “addressed to the most appropriate staff member.” (Whittington Aff., Dkt. 22-3, ¶ 5.) If the issue cannot be resolved informally through the concern form, the inmate must then file a grievance form. (Id.) A grievance must be submitted within 30 days of the incident giving rise to the grievance.

         When submitting a grievance form, the inmate must attach a copy of the concern form, showing the inmate's attempt to settle the issue informally; the grievance must also “contain ‘specific information including [the] nature of the complaint, dates, places, and names.'” (Id. ¶ 6.) When the Grievance Coordinator receives a grievance, the coordinator enters the grievance information into the Corrections Integrated System (“CIS”), “an electronic database used to track inmate grievances.” (Id.)

         The grievance coordinator then assigns the inmate grievance “to the staff member most capable of responding to and, if appropriate, resolving the issue.” (Id.) That staff member responds to the grievance and returns it to the coordinator. The coordinator then forwards the grievance to a “reviewing authority.” In the case of a medical grievance, the reviewing authority is the “facility Health Services Administrator.” (Id.) In other cases, the reviewing authority is generally a deputy warden. The reviewing authority reviews the staff member's response to the grievance and issues a decision on the inmate's grievance. The grievance decision is then returned to the inmate. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

         If the inmate is not satisfied with the decision on a grievance, the inmate may appeal that decision. (Id. ¶ 8.) If the grievance involves a medical issue, the “appellate authority” is the Health Services Director. (Id.) In other cases, the appellate authority is the warden of the prison. The appellate authority decides the grievance appeal and the appeal form is returned to the inmate. Not until the completion of all three of these steps-concern form, grievance form, and grievance appeal-is the grievance process exhausted. (Id. at ¶ 9.)

         Plaintiff submitted only one grievance to prison authorities in the last eight years. That grievance was submitted in May 2008 and was assigned Grievance No. IC 080000282. This grievance requested a transfer of funds to Plaintiff's ...

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