United States District Court, D. Idaho
RHONDA LEDFORD, an individual; RAYMON GREGSTON, an individual; JO MCKINNEY, an individual; SHANE PENROD, an individual; KIM MCCORMICK, an individual; BOB ROBINSON, an individual; and GRACIE REYNA, an individual; LISA LITTLEFIELD, an individual; ADDISON FORDHAM, an individual; TOM DE KNIF, an individual, FRANK FARNWORTH, an individual, Plaintiffs,
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE CORRECTIONS, an executive department of the State of Idaho; IDJC DIRECTOR SHARON HARRIGFELD, in her individual and official capacities; IDJC JUVENILE CORRECTIONS CENTER-NAMPA SUPERINTENDENT BETTY GRIMM, in her individual and official capacities; and DOES 1-20, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court
Court has before it a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs'
First Amendment claims filed by the defendants, and to
dismiss the remaining state laws claims without prejudice to
the right of plaintiffs to refile them in state court. The
motion is fully briefed and at issue. For the reasons
expressed below, the Court will grant the motion in part,
dismissing the First Amendment claims, but will deny that
part of the motion seeking a dismissal of the remaining state
a whistleblower case. The original ten plaintiffs - employees
at the Nampa facility operated by the Idaho Department of
Juvenile Corrections - claimed they suffered retaliation when
they protested unsafe conditions at the facility. They
claimed that the retaliation was designed to suppress their
protected speech and prevent the public from finding out
about deplorable conditions at the facility that placed
juvenile inmates in danger.
sued (1) the agency (the Idaho Department of Juvenile
Corrections); (2) the agency Director (Sharon Harrigfeld);
and (3) the Superintendent of the Nampa facility (Betty
Grimm). Their complaint contained seven causes of action: (1)
In Count One, all plaintiffs claim their First Amendment
rights were violated; (2) In Count Two, all plaintiffs claim
their rights under the Idaho Constitution were violated; (3)
In Count Three, all plaintiffs claim their rights under the
Idaho Whistleblower Act were violated; (4) In Count Four, all
plaintiffs claim that the defendants intentionally inflicted
upon them emotional distress; (5) In Count Five, plaintiff
Ledford alleges violations of the Family Medical Leave Act
and the Americans with Disabilities Act; (6) In Count Six,
plaintiff McKinney alleges violations of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act; (7) In Count Seven,
plaintiff Penrod alleges violations of the Uniformed Services
Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
earlier decision, the Court granted a partial summary
judgment to defendants Harrigfeld and Grimm, dismissing
Counts Four through Seven. See Memorandum Decision (Dkt.
No. 65). In addition, the Court, relying on the Eleventh
Amendment, dismissed all monetary damages claims against the
state agency defendant and the individual defendants sued in
their official capacity. Id.
that decision, the claims remaining in the case were (1)
compensatory damage claims under Count One (First Amendment
claim); and Count Three (Idaho Whistleblower Act) against the
individual defendants in their individual capacity, and (2)
claims for declaratory and prospective injunctive relief
under Counts One through Three against all defendants.
Harrigfeld and Grimm appealed the denial of their motion as
to the First Amendment claim, arguing that they were entitled
to qualified immunity. The Ninth Circuit agreed and held as
Because there is no showing that Defendants violated the
constitutional rights of any of the Plaintiffs, the district
court erred in denying Defendants summary judgment based on
qualified immunity with respect to the First Amendment
retaliation claims of all ten Plaintiffs. On remand, the
district court is directed to enter summary judgment for
Defendants Harrigfeld and Grimm on all of Plaintiffs'
First Amendment retaliation claims.
Ledford v. Idaho Dept. of Juvenile Corrections, 2016
WL 4191903 (9th Cir. 2016 (unpublished
disposition). After the case was remanded here, the
defendants filed the motion to dismiss now at issue, asking
the Court to dismiss the First Amendment claim - the only
remaining federal law claim - and to decline to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law
claims. The plaintiffs respond that the Ninth Circuit
resolved only that portion of the First Amendment claim
seeking monetary compensation from Harrigfeld and Grimm,
leaving intact plaintiffs' claims for declaratory and
injunctive relief against Harrigfeld, Grimm and the Idaho
Department of Juvenile Corrections (IDJC).
Ninth Circuit held that plaintiffs made “no showing
that Defendants violated the constitutional rights of any of
the Plaintiffs.” Id. at *2. The Court ruled
that the First Amendment claims of plaintiffs Penrod, Reyna,
Fordham, Littlefield, and McCormick should be dismissed
because “none of these five plaintiffs spoke on a
matter of public concern as a private citizen.”
Id. at *1. The Court ruled that the First Amendment
claims of plaintiffs Ledford, Gregston, DeKnijf, McKinney,
and Farnworth should be dismissed because “[n]one of
these plaintiffs experienced retaliation by defendants as a
result of their speech.” Id.
true that only the monetary compensation portion of the First
Amendment claim was before the Circuit. If the
plaintiffs' claims for declaratory and injunctive relief
were based on violations of the First Amendment separate from
those alleged in their claim for monetary compensation, the
declaratory and injunctive claims would remain alive. But
plaintiffs have not alleged any such separate claims.
Consequently, the First Amendment claims in their entirety
must be dismissed.
all federal claims having been dismissed, the only remaining
claims are based on the Idaho Constitution and the Idaho
Whistleblower Act. The Court has the discretion to maintain
jurisdiction over this case despite the absence of federal
claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). This case
is now five years old, and the ...