United States District Court, D. Idaho
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill Chief U.S. District Court Judge
Court has before it Defendants' First Motion for
Dispositive Relief (Dkt. 39). The Court held a hearing on
April 4, 2018, and the Court now issues the following
Memorandum Decision and Order.
a male-to-female transgender prisoner, in the custody of the
Idaho Department of Corrections (“IDOC”).
Edmo's medical records indicate diagnoses of Gender
Identity Disorder (GID) and Gender Dysphoria (GD). Edmo
remains anatomically male but identifies as female. As a
result of IDOC's policy to assign an inmate's
facility in accordance with the inmate's primary sexual
characteristics, Edmo is currently incarcerated in a
men's prison at Idaho State Correctional Institution
(“ISCI”). According to Edmo, common treatments of
GID/GD are the “real-life” experience of living
full-time within the desired gender, hormonal therapy, and
sex reassignment surgeries. After being diagnosed with
GID/GD, Edmo requested treatment including access to
feminizing hormones, evaluation for sex affirming surgery,
and the ability to live as a woman while incarcerated. Edmo
alleges that Defendants denied certain necessary medical
treatment resulting in Edmo's suffering harm, including
two attempted self-castrations.
filed a complaint alleging that Defendants' actions
violated the following: (1) the Eighth Amendment by failing
to protect her from harm and it's prohibition on cruel
and unusual punishment; the Fourteenth Amendment's
guarantee of equal protection; (2) the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act by discriminating in provision of medical treatment and
participation in programs and services; (3) the
nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
by discriminating based on sex, sex stereotyping, and/or
gender identity; and (4) Idaho tort law by negligently
failing to provide treatment. Amended Complaint, Dkt.
now seek summary judgment on all claims for which
administrative remedies were not exhausted, and dismissal
under FRCP 12(b)(6) of statutorily time-barred claims, ADA
claims, ACA claims, and state negligence claims.
Motion for Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where a party can show that, as to
any claim or defense, “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). One of the
principal purposes of the summary judgment “is to
isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . .
.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986). It is “not a disfavored procedural
shortcut, ” but is instead the “principal tool[ ]
by which factually insufficient claims or defenses [can] be
isolated and prevented from going to trial with the attendant
unwarranted consumption of public and private
resources.” Id. at 327. “[T]he mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). There must be a
genuine dispute as to any material fact - a fact
“that may affect the outcome of the case.”
Id. at 248.
evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and the Court must not make credibility
findings. Id. at 255. Direct testimony of the
non-movant must be believed, however implausible. Leslie
v. Grupo ICA, 198 F.3d 1152, 1159 (9th Cir. 1999). On
the other hand, the Court is not required to adopt
unreasonable inferences from circumstantial evidence.
McLaughlin v. Liu, 849 F.2d 1205, 1208 (9th Cir.
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine dispute as to material fact.
Devereaux v. Abbey, 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir.
2001)(en banc). To carry this burden, the moving party need
not introduce any affirmative evidence (such as affidavits or
deposition excerpts) but may simply point out the absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.
Fairbank v. Wunderman Cato Johnson, 212 F.3d 528,
532 (9th Cir.2000).
shifts the burden to the non-moving party to produce evidence
sufficient to support a jury verdict in her favor.
Deveraux, 263 F.3d at 1076. The non-moving party
must go beyond the pleadings and show “by her [ ]
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, or admissions on file” that a genuine
dispute of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” in order to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964
(2007). While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” it must set forth “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. at 570.
too much in the complaint may also be fatal to a plaintiff.
Dismissal may be appropriate when the plaintiff has included
sufficient allegations disclosing some absolute defense or
bar to recovery, such as a statute of limitations. See
Weisbuch v. County of L.A., 119 F.3d 778, 783, n. 1 (9th
Cir. 1997) (stating that “[i]f the pleadings establish
facts compelling a decision one way, that is as good as if
depositions and other . . . evidence on summary judgment
establishes the identical facts”).
dismissal without leave to amend is improper unless it is
beyond doubt that the complaint “could not be saved by
any amendment.” Harris v. Amgen, Inc., 573
F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009). The Ninth Circuit has held
that “in dismissals for failure to state a claim, a
district court should grant leave to amend even if no request
to amend the pleading was made, unless it determines that the
pleading could not possibly be cured by the allegation of
other facts.” Cook, Perkiss and Liehe, Inc. v.
Northern California Collection Service, Inc., 911 F.2d
242, 247 (9th Cir. 1990). The issue is not whether plaintiff
will prevail but whether he “is entitled to offer
evidence to support the claims.” Diaz v. Int'l
Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 13, 474 F.3d 1202,
1205 (9th Cir. 2007)(citations omitted).
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court may consider matters that are
subject to judicial notice. Mullis v. United States
Bank, 828 F.2d 1385, 1388 (9th Cir. 1987). The Court may
take judicial notice “of the records of state agencies
and other undisputed matters of public record” without
transforming the motions to dismiss into motions for summary
judgment. Disabled Rights Action Comm. v. Las Vegas
Events, Inc., 375 F.3d 861, 866, n.1 (9th Cir.
2004). The Court may also examine documents
referred to in the complaint, although not attached thereto,
without transforming the motion to dismiss into a motion for
summary judgment. See Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d
1068, 1076 (9th Cir. 2005).
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
must exhaust their available administrative remedies before
bringing civil rights actions based on prison conditions. The
federal Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”)
requires exhaustion of administrative remedies for all
federal claims brought by state prisoners who challenge the
conditions of their confinement in a federal complaint.
“No action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other
federal law, until such administrative remedies as are
available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
This requirement gives prison officials an opportunity to
resolve disputes concerning the exercise of their
responsibilities before being haled into court. Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007).
must be proper; meaning “a prisoner must complete the
administrative review process in accordance with the
applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a
precondition to bringing suit in federal court.”
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006). “The
level of detail necessary in a grievance to comply with the
grievance procedures will vary from system to system and
claim to claim, but it is the prison's requirements, and
not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper
exhaustion.” Jones, 549 U.S. at 204.
to exhaust is an affirmative defense that, in rare
situations, may be asserted in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir.
April 3, 2014) (en banc) (“In a few cases, a
prisoner's failure to exhaust may be clear from the face
of the complaint.”). If, however, the material facts
underlying the exhaustion issue are genuinely disputed, the
Court may decide the issue on a motion for summary judgment
under Rule 56. Id.
defendant bears the ultimate burden of proving failure to
exhaust. See Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926, 936 (9th
Cir. 2005). If the defendant initially shows that (1) an
available administrative remedy existed and (2) the prisoner
failed to exhaust that remedy, then the burden of production
shifts to the plaintiff to bring forth evidence
“showing that there is something in his particular case
that made the existing and generally available administrative
remedies effectively unavailable to him.”
Albino, 747 F.3d at 1170-71.
prohibits the courts from resolving genuine disputes as to
material facts on summary judgment. If a genuine dispute
exists as to material facts relating to an exhaustion
defense, the motion should be denied, and the “disputed
factual questions relevant to exhaustion should be decided by
the judge, in the same manner a judge rather than a jury
decides disputed factual questions relevant to jurisdiction
and venue.” Albino, 747 F.3d at 1170-71.
See Lake v. Lake, 817 F.2d 1416, 1420 (9th Cir.
1987) (the court has the discretion to take evidence at a
preliminary hearing to resolve ...