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Stone v. Nielsen

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 27, 2018

ROCKY D. STONE, Plaintiff,
v.
LORIN NIELSEN, Bannock County Sheriff; CAPTAIN TAD BYBEE; SGT. FRENCH; SGT. MICHELSON; CAPTAIN TOPLIFF; J.T. HAPKE; J.T. FONNESBECK; RYAN WEST, United States Marshal, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOCKET NO. 20)

          Ronald E. Bush Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         Now pending before the Court is Defendants' (French, Topliff, Hapke, and Fonnesbeck) Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 20). Having carefully considered the record, participated in oral argument, and otherwise being fully advised, the Court enters the following Memorandum Decision and Order:

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Rocky Stone is an inmate in the custody of Madison County, currently incarcerated in the Madison County Jail in Rexburg, Idaho. This case involves an incident that took place on January 9, 2016 while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Bannock County Jail in Pocatello, Idaho. The relevant facts are as follows:[1]

         1. After pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, Plaintiff was originally incarcerated in the Mini-Cassia County Jail. See Defs.' SOF, p. 2 (Docket No. 20, Att. 2). While there, Plaintiff notified officers that he had been labeled as a cooperating witness against an inmate in the Bannock County Jail (Christopher Keeling), and that he would have a “housing issue” if transferred to Bannock County Jail. See Stone Dep., 49:19-24, Attached as Ex. A to Hall Aff. (Docket No. 20, Att. 5).

         2. On January 8, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred to Bannock County Jail. See id. at 53:6-10. During the booking process, Plaintiff underwent two different evaluations - (1) an Initial Inmate Evaluation at approximately 5:58 p.m. and (2) a Risk Assessment Evaluation at 1:16 a.m. See Topliff Aff., ¶¶ 3-4 (Docket No. 20, Att. 3).

a. As part of the Initial Inmate Evaluation, Plaintiff was asked whether he had any enemies at the Bannock County Jail; Plaintiff answered “no.” See id. at ¶ 3 (citing Ex. A. to Topliff Aff. (Docket No. 20, Att. 3) (“Question: Do you have any enemies in this facility? Answer: No”)). With respect to his communication with Defendant Hapke (identified by Plaintiff as a “Jail Tech”), Plaintiff testified:
She - Hapke booked me into the jail, did my booking questionnaire. She asked me if I had any known enemies or any family in the facility. I told them, I said: I don't have any known enemies that I know about. I don't know who is here. I said: But you need to be aware that there's going to be a housing issue wherever you guys house me in this jail due to the fact that - the circumstances involving my case that I'm labeled a snitch.
Stone Dep., 56:12-17, attached as Ex. A to Hall Aff. (Docket No. 20, Att. 5). Defendant Hapke responded that she would document Plaintiff's concerns. See id. at 56:23-25.
b. As part of the Risk Assessment Evaluation, Plaintiff was asked whether there was anyone in the facility that he did not get along with; Plaintiff answered “yes, ” that he did not get along with Christopher Keeling. See id. at ¶ 4 (citing Ex. B to Topliff Aff. (Docket No. 20, Att. 3) (“Question: Is there anyone in this facility that you do not get along with? Answer: Yes (add comments below) Notes: keeling, christopher”)); but see Stone Dep., 56:18- 22, attached as Ex. A to Hall Aff. (Docket No. 20, Att. 5) (Plaintiff testifying that, when booked, he did not know whether Christopher Keeling was housed at Bannock County Jail).

         3. After being booked into the Bannock County Jail and while being confined in a holding cell, Plaintiff mentioned to Defendant Fonnesbeck (identified by Plaintiff as a “Jail Tech”) that he may have a “housing issue, ” testifying:

Next one was Jail Tech Fonnesbeck. He was doing a walk - in Bannock County they have little things on the doors where they have to walk and do security checks. He was doing his security check. An inmate that was in the cell with me had asked me if I had made any of the officers aware of me being housed around Keeling.
And I told him, I said: Yeah, I made Hapke aware of it. He said: Well, make sure you make Fonnesbeck aware of it too so he can make sure it's documented. So I told Fonnesbeck about it. I told him that there was going to be a housing issue for me there. He said that he would make sure that it was documented.

Stone Dep., 57:4-18, attached as Ex. A to Hall Aff. (Docket No. 20, Aff. 5). Defendant Fonnesbeck responded that he would ensure that Plaintiff's concerns were documented. See id. at 58:13-15.

         4. Approximately an hour later, Plaintiff also notified Defendant Topliff (identified by Plaintiff as a “Corporal”) of his potential “housing issue, ” testifying:

[Defendant Topliff] was walking me to visiting to go schedule a visit and to check my messages on the kiosk. Down there they have a kiosk. People message you. On the way down there I made him aware of the situation. And he's always been an officer that I've always been able to talk to there in that county ..... He's somebody that I've been able to - like he's light-mooded. You know, I've been able to talk to him. I've always been on a good basis with him ..... He took me to visiting. On the way to visiting that day, I made him aware of the situation. . . . On our way to visiting when we were walking through - out the booking door into the hallway, I told him - I made him aware of this situation . . . [w]ith me and Keeling and told him that it's a huge issue for me to be housed around any of that - anything that has to do with that sort of politics . . . [such as] [b]eing labeled a rat, being labeled a witness. I informed him that there was going to be issues with me to be housed in that jail. And he was the third person that I made aware of it. On the way into visiting he asked me if I had made Hapke aware of it. I told him that I had. He said that he would speak to her.

Id. at 58:20-60:15.

         5. Plaintiff then spoke to Defendant French (identified by Plaintiff as a “Sergeant”) when she retrieved him from his holding cell to watch an orientation video, testifying:

Sergeant French pulled me into - she pulled me out of the cell and had me go into this little orientation room where they do - they make you watch a procedural video. And while I was sitting in that room I told her about the issue that I would have being housed in that jail and that I had already spoken to Hapke and Fonnesbeck and Topliff about it. And she said that she would make sure that I wasn't housed around any of those guys [Chris Keeling].

Id. at 60:25-61:14. Defendant French indicated to Plaintiff that he would not be housed around Mr. Keeling. See ...


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