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Heath v. Jones

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 10, 2015

TELLY ALEXANDER HEATH, Plaintiff,
v.
GREG JONES, et al., Defendants.

TELLY ALEXANDER HEATH, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Pendleton, OR, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

ELLEN F. ROSENBLUM, Attorney General, ROBERT E. SULLIVAN, Senior Assistant Attorney General Department of Justice, Salem, OR, Attorneys for Defendants

OPINION AND ORDER

MALCOLM F. MARSH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, an inmate at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff alleges that his confinement in the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Intensive Management and Behavioral Health Units violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff names ODOC officials as defendants, including mental health specialists and counselors, classification officers, and members of the Special Needs Inmate Evaluation Committee (SNEIC). Currently before the court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (#59). For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is granted.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS

Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Tolan v. Cotton 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014). The moving party bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc. v. Parts Geek, LLC, 692 F.3d 1009, 1014 (9th Cir. 2012). A genuine dispute of material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). This court reviews the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Tolan, 134 S.Ct. at 1863; Maxwell v. County of San Diego, 697 F.3d 941, 947 (9th Cir. 2012).

BACKGROUND

On December 3, 2013, this court screened plaintiff's amended complaint and held as follows: (1) claim one shall proceed as an Eighth Amendment claim only unless plaintiff files a second amended complaint alleging a retaliation or equal protection claim; and (2) claim two is dismissed on the basis that it is against parties not named as defendants. Order (#12).

Because plaintiff failed to file a second amended complaint, this case shall proceed on claim one only, limited to the assertion that his confinement violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.[1] The claim arises out of plaintiff's confinement in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit (DSU), the Intensive Management Unit (IMU), and the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU). Accordingly, a basic understanding of those units and inmate custody classifications is necessary.

I. Applicable Prison Regulations

A. Inmate Classifications

Oregon inmates are assigned housing consistent with their custody level, demonstrated behavior, and special needs. OAR 291-104-0106(3)(b). One of five levels of supervision are assigned to each inmate. As is relevant to this case, level five is assigned to inmates who have "demonstrated behaviors causing serious management concerns, or [have] demonstrated behaviors that in the judgment of the Department present a threat sufficient to require special security housing on intensive management status." OAR 291-104-0111 (9) (b).

B. Housing Assignments

1. Disciplinary ...


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