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Wolf v. Otter

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 6, 2017

ANDREW J.J. WOLF, R. HANS KRUGER, and DAVID S. BEGLEY, Plaintiffs,
v.
C.L. “BUTCH” OTTER; LAWRENCE WASDEN; IDAHO STATE BOARD OF CORRECTIONS; ROBIN SANDY, J.R. VAN TASSEL; JAY NEILSON; IDAHO COMMISSION OF PARDONS AND PAROLE; OLIVIA CRAVEN; BILL YOUNG; MARK FUNAIOLE; JANE DRESSEN; NORMAN LANGERAK; MIKE MATTHEWS; BRENT REINKE; CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC.; TIM WENGLER; CORRISON INC., each sued in their individual and official capacities and their successors in office, Defendants. Staff Post Position Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Supervisor Discovery Disclosures Agreed To Request or Production Nos.: Actually Produced:

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendant Kevin Kempf's second motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 179), as well as a host of motions filed by Plaintiffs Andrew Wolf and Hans Kruger, including two motions to reconsider, a motion for leave to conduct additional discovery, and various other motions. See Dkts. 170, 173, 176, 193-96. For the reasons explained below, the Court will deny plaintiffs' motions to reconsider, deny plaintiffs' motion to conduct additional discovery, and refrain from ruling on the pending motion for summary judgment until plaintiffs have filed a substantive response.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs are prisoners in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. They are proceeding pro se in this action, which has been narrowed to two plaintiffs pursuing one defendant on three claims. In the original complaint, three plaintiffs alleged twenty-four claims against sixteen defendants. See Compl., Dkt. 7. The Court has repeatedly denied plaintiffs' efforts to certify this as a class action.

         Two of plaintiffs' remaining claims deal with conditions of confinement at the Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC) in Kuna, Idaho, and the third is a failure-to-protect claim. The details of these claims are as follows:

         Twelfth Claim. In the twelfth claim for relief, Plaintiff Andrew Wolf alleges that defendant failed to provide adequate dayroom space in the West Wing Living Units of ISCC. See Compl., Dkt. 7, ¶ 338.

         Twentieth Claim: Out-of-Cell Time at ISCC. In the twentieth claim, Wolf alleges that prison officials fail to adequately staff ISCC, which resulted in Wolf's failure to receive enough time outside his prison cell. See Compl., Dkt. 1, ¶ 349.[1]

         Twenty-Fourth Claim: Failure to Protect. In the twenty-fourth claim, Plaintiff Hans Kruger alleges that the prison failed to protect him from attacks by other inmates.

         In March 2016, this Court granted summary judgment in defendant's favor on numerous other claims. See Mar. 31, 2016 Order, Dkt. 160. This order left plaintiffs with the three claims just discussed. The Court did not schedule a trial on these claims, however, opting instead to allow for further summary judgment proceedings in accordance with Federal Rule of Procedure 56(e).

         Regarding the twenty-fourth claim, the Court decided that Plaintiff Kruger was entitled to review certain documents related to prisoner-on-prisoner assaults, which defendant had previously refused to produce. See id., at 7. The Court ordered defendant to produce these documents to Kruger and, after doing so, allowed defendant to renew his motion for summary judgment on the twenty-fourth claim. Kruger would then have an opportunity to file a new response brief, potentially supported with new factual evidence gleaned from the additional discovery materials provided to him. See id., at 35.

         Regarding the twelfth and twentieth claims, Kempf's sole argument on summary judgment was that these claims were moot. The Court disagreed, but allowed Kempf the opportunity renew his motion to address those claims on the merits. See Mar. 31, 2016 Order, Dkt. 160, at 18, 19.

         After the Court issued this ruling, plaintiffs filed two motions to reconsider, plus a motion for leave to conduct additional discovery. See Dkts. 170, 173, 176. Later, defendant filed a second motion for summary judgment regarding the three remaining claims. See Dkt. 179. The Court will address each of these motions in turn (as well as various additional motions), beginning with plaintiffs' request that this Court reconsider its March 31, 2016 Order.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion to Reconsider Summary Judgment in Defendant's Favor (Dkt. 173)

         1. Governing Legal Standard

         Plaintiffs rely on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) to support their motions to reconsider. See Dkts. 170, 173. That rule does not apply here because this Court has not entered a final judgment. See Madsen v. Bumb, 419 F.2d 4, 6 (9th Cir. 1969) (“By its terms Rule 60(b) applies only to relief from a final judgment.”). Nevertheless, “as long as a district court has jurisdiction over the case, then it possesses the inherent procedural power to reconsider, rescind, or modify an interlocutory order for cause seen by it to be sufficient.” City of L.A. Harbor Div. v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 889 (9thCir. 2001).

         “A motion for reconsideration should not be granted, absent highly unusual circumstances, unless the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, committed clear error, or if there is an intervening change in the controlling law.” Sissoko v. Rocha, 440 F.3d 1145, 1153-54 (9th Cir. 2006). The Court will apply this standard to both motions to reconsider (Dkts. 170, 173).

         2. Newly Discovered Evidence

         Plaintiffs ask this Court to reconsider its March 2016 summary judgment ruling based on their assertion that they have recently discovered new evidence. The evidence consists of two multi-page charts, which the parties refer to as staffing matrixes, or staffing rosters. The charts list which prison employee is slated to cover a particular post at the prison for the year 2016. An excerpt of the ISCI chart is shown here:

Lieutenants
Staff [2]
Post
Position
Sun
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thu
Fri
Sat
Supervisor
1L
Shift Commander, 1stShift
X
X
Sammons, David
2L
Shift Commander, 2ndShift
X
X
Sammons, David
3L
Shift Commander, 3rd Shift
Sammons, David
4L
Housing Lieutenant
X
X
Sammons, David
5L
Fixed Relief
3rd
3rd
X
X
Rlf
1st
1st
Sammons, David
6L
External
Security/Fixed
Relief
2nd
2nd
ES
ES
ES
1st
1st
Sammons, David
7L
Relief
Sammons, David

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