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Wolf v. Otter

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 21, 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.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court

         I INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendant Henry Atencio's Second Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 179) and various related motions. (Defendant Atencio, as the current director of IDOC, is substituted for former director defendants Kevin Kempf and Brent Reinke. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d)). For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant Atencio's motion.

         II PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs, prisoners in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), are proceeding pro se in this civil rights action. Plaintiffs claim that defendants violated the Eighth Amendment in several ways, all stemming from prison overcrowding. The following three claims remain:

         Twelfth Claim. In the twelfth claim for relief, Plaintiff Andrew Wolf alleges that Defendant Atencio failed to provide adequate dayroom space in the West Wing Living Units of the Idaho State Correctional Center (ISCC, formerly known as ICC[1]). See Compl., Dkt. 7, ¶ 338.

         Twentieth Claim. In the twentieth claim, Wolf alleges that prison officials failed to adequately staff ISCC, which resulted in Wolf's failure to receive enough time outside his prison cell. See Id. ¶ 349.[2]

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

         Plaintiffs seek injunctive relief only on these claims.

         III FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs did not file a substantive response to Atencio's second motion for summary judgment. Likewise, they did not submit a statement of disputed facts. Accordingly, in resolving this motion, the Court relies on Atencio's fact statement and supporting evidentiary materials submitted with this motion, as well as the materials plaintiffs submitted in the first round of summary-judgment proceedings. See e.g., Defendant's Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts (“SOF”), Dkt. 179-2; Plaintiff's Statement of Disputed Facts, Dkt. 137-2. The relevant facts are briefly summarized here.[3]

         A. Facts Relevant to Plaintiff Kruger's Claim

         In 1993, Plaintiff Hans Kruger was sentenced to 30 years in prison, through March 2023. During 23 years of incarceration, Kruger was assaulted by other inmates on two occasions, once in 1994 when he was incarcerated at a different prison (Idaho Correctional Institution - Orofino), and a second time in 2003, when he was incarcerated at ISCI. Kruger did not report either incident or seek medical treatment.

         Kruger observed other inmates fighting on two occasions in December 2010. IDOC responded each time, stopped the fighting, and removed the inmates. Kruger did not file a concern form or ask for protective custody. SOF ¶¶ 8-9.

         In the summer of 2012, while he was in his cell, Kruger saw one inmate attack another. IDOC removed the victim, offered him medical care and protective custody, and transferred him to a different unit. IDOC also disciplined the attacker. Id. ¶ 11-13.

         Kruger also testified that in late August 2012, the A Tier of Unit 15 was locked down after members of the Aryan Knights gang demanded that sex offenders pay “rent” (ramen noodles from the commissary) to stay on the tier. ISCI investigated the matter and found that the Aryan Knights had coerced one sex offender to attack another for refusing to pay rent. Both inmates were taken to administrative segregation and protective custody was offered to the victim as well as to two other inmates who complained the Aryan Knights were demanding rent from then. Id. ¶ 15.

         That same day, Kruger submitted a concern form to Warren Blades. He submitted two more concern forms on September 8, 2012. Warden Blades responded to each concern form, and on September 17, 2012, Kruger was transferred to a different unit and tier. Id. ¶ 16-18.

         Shortly afterward, Kruger sued. See Oct. 15, 2012 Compl., Dkt. 7. During his deposition, Kruger testified regarding events occurring during the pendency of this lawsuit, including a November 2014 attack and a May 2016 fight between inmates. Kruger submitted various grievances and concern forms during the past four years, including September and October 2015 concern forms, wherein he complained of an influx of “young aggressive thugs” and “known active gang members from differing/opposing gangs.” SOF ¶ 21; see also Id. ¶ 22, ¶ 28. Kruger said he was purposely vague in some these forms. He did identify four inmates as aggressors in a later concern form, but these inmates did not threaten him and he was not afraid of them. Id. ¶¶ 23-27. These four inmates are no longer housed at ISCI. Id. ¶ 27.

         At his summer 2016 deposition, Kruger testified that he had not been threatened by other inmates in the past year, and that he was in fairly good standing with the other inmates. He did say, however, that in early June 2016 an inmate in Unit 14 told Kruger that the skinheads were “gunning” for him. Id. ¶ 33-34.

         B. Facts Relevant to Plaintiff Wolf's Claims

         Plaintiff Wolf has been housed at both ICC (now ISCC) and ISCI during the past decade. He was housed at ICC from April 2008 through April 2011, when he was transferred to ISCI. Then, after being transferred to other prison facilities, Wolf returned to ICC where he remained until October 2013, when he was again transferred to ISCI. Wolf remains at ISCI as of this date.

         The ISCC Warden has submitted an affidavit demonstrating that ISCC inmates have multiple opportunities throughout the day to be outside their cells. See Blades Aff., ΒΆΒΆ 1-21; Ex. A thereto. Specifically, in the morning, afternoon, and evenings, inmates may leave their cells. They have opportunities to work, attend school, use the library and the Legal Resources Center, or the gym. Inmates may also stay inside and watch ...


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