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Lafleur v. Nooth

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 25, 2014

JEAN WILNER LAFLEUR, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK NOOTH, CAPTAIN ROBERT REAL, in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.

Jean Wilner LaFleur, Pendleton, OR, Pro se

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General for the State of Oregon; Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice, Salem, OR Attorneys for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MICHAEL H. SIMON, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jean Wilner LaFleur ("Mr. LaFleur") was an inmate in the Snake River Correction Institution ("SRCI") from September 29, 2009 to June 8, 2011. Mr. LaFleur filed pro se claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that two SRCI employees, Defendants Mark Nooth and Captain Robert Real (collectively, the "Defendants"), violated Mr. LaFleur's constitutional right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.[1] Defendants now move for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Dkt. 54. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 54) is GRANTED.

STANDARDS

A party is entitled to summary judgment 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 moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Clicks Billiards Inc. v. Sixshooters Inc., 251 F.3d 1252, 1257 (9th Cir. 2001). Although "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge... ruling on a motion for summary judgment, " the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is] insufficient...." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 255 (1986). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation and quotation marks omitted). A court must liberally construe the filings of a pro se plaintiff and afford the plaintiff the benefit of the doubt. Hebbe v. Pliler, 637 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2012).

BACKGROUND[2]

Plaintiff was an inmate in SRCI from September 23, 2009 until June 8, 2011, at which time he was transferred to the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution ("EOCI"). Dkt. 65 at 2 ¶ 3. From October 1, 2010 through December 29, 2010, Mr. LaFleur was housed in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit ("DSU") of Special Housing at SRCI as a disciplinary sanction for engaging in a mutual fight with another inmate. Dkt. 65 at 2, ¶ 4. From December 30, 2010 through February 27, 2011, Mr. LaFleur remained in the DSU because of a second disciplinary sanction for refusing to return his meal tray to a corrections officer on December 12, 2010. Id. On February 28, 2011, Mr. LaFleur was administratively segregated from the general population in Special Housing while SRCI staff worked to find a suitable place to transfer him. Id. at ¶ 5. He remained in administrative segregation from February 28, 2011 until March 27, 2011, when he received a third disciplinary sanction for kicking his cell door and breaking his cell window. Id. at ¶ 6. Mr. LaFleur served his third disciplinary sanction in the DSU from March 27, 2011 through April 9, 2011. Id. On April 10, 2011, Mr. LaFleur returned to administrative segregation status. Id. at ¶ 7. He remained in administrative segregation until June 8, 2011, when he was transferred to EOCI. Id.

Mr. LaFleur spent a total of 251 days in Special Housing at SRCI. He served 164 days of disciplinary sanctions: 150 consecutive days from October 1, 2010 through February 27, 2011, and 14 days from March 27, 2011 through April 9, 2011. He spent 87 days in administrative segregation: 27 days from February 28, 2011 until March 27, 2011, and 60 days from April 10, 2011 through June 8, 2011.

Defendants afforded Mr. LaFleur all property and services available to inmates in Special Housing during his terms in administrative segregation. Dkt. 56 at 3 ¶12. This included access to basic visits with relatives and friends, telephones, religious services, education services, and work assignments. Dkt. 65 at 3 ¶¶ 8-14. Mr. LaFleur had to request theses services in order to access them. Id. at ¶ 14.

The basic services afforded to Mr. LaFleur in administrative segregation were comparable to the services available to inmates in SRCI's general population. General population inmates may visit with two friends or relatives during regular visiting hours. Or. Admin. R. XXX-XXX-XXXX(5)(a), (c)(B). In administrative segregation, Mr. LaFleur could hold basic visits with two visitors on his approved visitor list during regular scheduled visiting hours. Dkt. 65 at 3 ¶ 10. Inmates in general population may also make phone calls, although the functional unit manager may restrict the times telephones are available. OAR 291-130-0060(4). Mr. LaFleur had access to two telephones in the segregated housing unit at regular times daily. Dkt. 65 at 3 ¶ 11. General population inmates may attend religious activities in their facility, subject to restrictions when "necessary to maintain facility security, safety, health, and order." OAR 291-143-0130(1). Although Mr. LaFleur could not attend group religious activities, he could access religious services in his cell by making written request to SRCI's Religious Services. Dkt. 65 at 3 ¶ 9. Similarly, Mr. LaFleur could receive visits from Education Services by sending a written communication. Id. at ¶ 12. Finally, Mr. LaFleur could have applied for work assignments as a Unit or Yard orderly. Id. at 4 ¶ 13.

Mr. LaFleur filed several complaints with SRCI while in administrative housing requesting a hearing and a transfer out of Special Housing. Dkt. 8 at 9, 12, 14, 15. Defendant Real and Defendant Nooth responded to at least two of the complaints, explaining they were looking for alternative housing for Mr. LaFleur, but his poor behavior made relocating him difficult. Id. at 10, 13. Mr. LaFleur filed his complaint in this civil lawsuit under Section 1983 on April 11, 2012.

Mr. LaFleur claims that his confinement in segregation without a hearing violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Dkt. 8 at 3. He alleges that Defendants deprived him access to visitations, telephones, employment, education, religious services, and rehabilitation services.[3] According to Mr. LaFleur, these alleged ...


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