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Willard v. Atencio

United States District Court, D. Idaho

July 3, 2018

CODY R.D. WILLARD, Plaintiff,
v.
HENRY ATENCIO; ALBERTO RAMIREZ; SGT. HOWARD; CPL. BAERLOCHER; SGT. BALL; CPL. NORTON; OFFICER NEWCOMB; OFFICER DURKSON [1]; IDAHO BOARD OF CORRECTION; Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (“IDOC”) and currently incarcerated at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution (“IMSI”), is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. On August 29, 2017, United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, and determined that Plaintiff had stated a plausible Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Joshua Duerksen based on Duerksen's alleged failure to protect Plaintiff from an attack by other inmates on May 25, 2017. Initial Review Order, Dkt. 7, at 7. Judge Dale determined that Plaintiff had not stated any other claim for relief against any other Defendant. Id. at 6-10.

         This action has since been reassigned to the undersigned judge. Now pending is Defendant Duerksen's Motion for Summary Judgment, in which Defendant argues that Plaintiff did not properly exhaust available administrative remedies. Having fully reviewed the record, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order granting Defendant's Motion and dismissing this case without prejudice.

         1. Review of Judge Dale's Initial Review Order

         This Court has independently reviewed the Complaint and Judge Dale's Initial Review Order and, although that review has been de novo, agrees with Judge Dale's analysis and conclusion that the only plausible claim asserted in the Complaint is an Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Duerksen arising from the May 25, 2017 attack. The Court now turns to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on that claim.

         2. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

         A. Standard of Law Governing Summary Judgment

         Summary 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 rule “is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses.” 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). Rather, a case will survive summary judgment only if there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact. Material facts are those “that might affect the outcome of the suit.” Id. at 248. “Disputes over irrelevant or unnecessary facts will not preclude a grant of summary judgment.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if that party shows that each material fact cannot be disputed. To show that the material facts are not in dispute, a party may cite to particular parts of materials in the record or show that the adverse party is unable to produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) & (B). The Court must consider “the cited materials, ” but it may also consider “other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). The Court is “not required to comb through the record to find some reason to deny a motion for summary judgment.” Carmen v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1029 (9th Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, the “party opposing summary judgment must direct [the Court's] attention to specific, triable facts.” So. Ca. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 336 F.3d 885, 889 (9th Cir. 2003).

         If the moving party meets its initial responsibility, then the burden shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine dispute as to any material fact actually does exist. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). The existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient. Rather, “there must be evidence on which [a] jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         Material used to support or dispute a fact should be “presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence, ” or it may be subject to being stricken. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). In determining admissibility for summary judgment purposes, it is the content of the evidence, rather than its form, that must be considered. Fraser v. Goodale, 342 F.3d 1032, 1036-37 (9th Cir. 2003). Affidavits or declarations submitted in support of or in opposition to a motion “must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4).

         If a party “fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact, ” the Court may consider that fact to be undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). Summary judgment for the moving party should be granted “if the motion and supporting materials-including the facts considered undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3).

         The Court does not determine the credibility of affiants or weigh the evidence set forth by the parties. Although all reasonable inferences which can be drawn from the evidence must be drawn in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630-31, the Court is not required to adopt unreasonable ...


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