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Bautista-Aguayo v. Lee

United States District Court, D. Idaho

February 13, 2019

BENJAMIN K. LEE, Defendant.


          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge


         Pending before the Court is Defendant Benjamin K. Lee's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 20. Also pending is Plaintiff Emmanual Bautista-Aguayo's Motion to Take Judicial Notice. Dkt. 24.

         The Motions are fully briefed and ripe for the Court's review. Having reviewed the record herein, the Court finds the parties have adequately presented the facts and legal arguments in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court decides the Motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendant Lee's Summary Judgment Motion[1] and DENIES Plaintiff Bautista-Aguayo's Motion to Take Judicial Notice.[2]


         Plaintiff Bautista-Aguayo is an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). Bautista-Aguayo asserts that, on November 4, 2014, at the Idaho State Correctional Institution (“ISCI”), the Defendant, Sergeant Benjamin K. Lee sexually assaulted him while performing a body search. Bautista-Aguayo filed a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint with the Court on February 2, 2017. The Court issued an Initial Review Order allowing Bautista-Aguayo to proceed against Lee. In a Successive Review Order, the Court noted that Bautista-Aguayo had attached a grievance to his Amended Complaint appearing to show that he had exhausted any available administrative remedies as required. The Successive Review Order also allowed Lee the opportunity to file a Motion of Summary Judgment. Lee subsequently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment claiming Bautista-Aguayo's claim has not been administratively exhausted as required under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) and further, that his claim is barred by the applicable statute of limitations.


         Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that 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). The Court's role at summary judgment is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Zetwick v. Cty. of Yolo, 850 F.3d 436, 441 (9th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must “view[] the facts in the non-moving party's favor.” Id.

         To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the respondent need only present evidence upon which “a reasonable juror drawing all inferences in favor of the respondent could return a verdict in [his or her] favor.” Id. (citation omitted). Accordingly, the Court must enter summary judgment if a party “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The respondent cannot simply rely on an unsworn affidavit or the pleadings to defeat a motion for summary judgment; rather the respondent must set forth the “specific facts, ” supported by evidence, with “reasonable particularity” that precludes summary judgment. Far Out Productions, Inc. v. Oskar, 247 F.3d 986, 997 (9th Cir. 2001).

         IV. ANALYSIS

         A. Exhausting of Administrative Process

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 87-88 (2006) (emphasis original) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) (2000 ed.)). “The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies is well established in the jurisprudence of administrative law. . . . The doctrine provides ‘that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed administrative remedy has been exhausted.'” Woodford, 548 U.S. at 88-89(quoting McKart v. United States, 395 U.S. 185, 193 (1969)). Exhaustion requires both following the proper steps set forward by the administrative agency and doing so properly. Woodford, 548 U.S. at 90 (quoting Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1024 (7th Cir. 2002)).

         “[W]hether the administrative process actually produces a result that satisfies the inmate is not the appropriate inquiry. Instead, courts merely need to ask whether the institution has an internal administrative grievance process in place, then § 1997e(a) requires inmates to exhaust those procedures before bringing a prison conditions claim.” Massey v. Helman, 196 F.3d 727, 733-34 (7th Cir. 1999); accord Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 737-41 (2001).

         In the present case, the administrative agency that Bautista-Aguayo reports to is IDOC. IDOC has an administrative grievance process set up for precisely these instances and it has been adhering to these procedures since 1990. The IDOC offender grievance process is set forth in the Department's Standard Operating Procedure 316.02.01.001. The grievance process may be used by offenders for most things that affect them during incarceration. The IDOC grievance process is a three-step process and the offender must complete all three steps (or levels) in order to exhaust the administrative grievance process. The process requires the inmate to: (1) Seek an informal resolution of the matter by completing an Offender Concern Form, (2) Complete a Grievance ...

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