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Wilson v. Akana

United States District Court, D. Oregon

August 28, 2017


          Hunter Tyee Wilson, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, pro se.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General; Todd Albert, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Oregon Department of Justice, Of Attorneys for Defendants.



         Plaintiff is an inmate in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections (“ODOC”). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, who are all employees of ODOC, violated Plaintiff's rights under the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution when they prevented Plaintiff from attending a prison disciplinary hearing for an assault that he allegedly committed, later found Plaintiff in violation of prison rules without cause, and subjected Plaintiff to unlawful disciplinary actions. On April 7, 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment on the basis that they are entitled to qualified immunity. ECF 32. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to Defendants' motion. On April 17, 2017, however, Plaintiff moved pursuant to Rule 56(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to defer consideration of Defendants' summary judgment motion pending additional discovery. ECF 40. On May 10, 2017, Defendants moved to stay discovery as to all Defendants but Akana and Deacon pending resolution of their summary judgment motion. ECF 50. In addition, Plaintiff has filed several motions to compel production sought from Defendants.

         For the reasons below, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion to defer consideration of Defendants' summary judgment motion, Plaintiff's motions to compel, and Plaintiff's motion for extension of time to conduct pretrial discovery. The Court grants Defendants' motion to stay discovery.


         A. The Parties

         At all relevant times, Plaintiff was an inmate at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution (“Two Rivers”). Defendants Akana and Deacon are ODOC correctional officers assigned to Two Rivers. The remaining Defendants are all ODOC employees serving in supervisory or managerial roles at Two Rivers or the ODOC Administrative Building. Defendants Boston and Young (lieutenants), Jackson and Jorgenson (captains), Myrick (Superintendent), and Ridley (Assistant Supervisor of Security) also work at Two Rivers. Defendants Williamson and Barnett are inspectors general at the ODOC Administration Building. Defendants Nofziger and Gower also work at the ODOC Administration Building, as a Hearings Administrator and Assistant Director of Operations, respectively, and Defendant Peters is ODOC Director.

         B. Plaintiff's Complaint

         Plaintiff was accused of licking a fellow inmate's face on July 6, 2015. According to a one-page misconduct report submitted by Defendant Boston the following week (see Exhibit 1 to Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF 2-1 at 1), Boston received an email from the State's Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) Coordinator relaying a complaint that Plaintiff had licked a fellow inmate. Boston states in the misconduct report: “At the conclusion of my investigation, I have determined that there is enough evidence to support the claim that [Plaintiff] stood up from eating his morning meal, leaned over to his right and licked the face of [a fellow inmate].” Based on the misconduct report, on July 16, 2015, Plaintiff was removed from the Administrative Housing Unit and placed in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit (“DSU”), with resulting loss or restriction of privileges.

         On July 22, 2015, Defendant Deacon conducted the disciplinary hearing regarding Plaintiff's alleged assault. Plaintiff requested an investigation, a video recording of the unit at the time of the assault, and to call several witnesses. On the day of the hearing, while waiting to be brought into the hearings room, Plaintiff engaged in a verbal confrontation with Defendant Akana. As relayed in a separate misconduct report submitted by Akana regarding the confrontation (see Exhibit 2 to Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF 2-1 at 3), Plaintiff ignored Akana's orders to remain quiet. Because of Plaintiff's insubordination and disobedience and because other inmates were present, Akana decided to return Plaintiff to his cell, without allowing Plaintiff to attend the pending disciplinary hearing. Plaintiff alleges that Akana's actions were in retaliation for grievances that Plaintiff previously filed against Akana.

         Shortly after Akana returned Plaintiff to his cell, Plaintiff asked Deacon for permission to attend the disciplinary hearing or to have the hearing postponed. Deacon declined and conducted the disciplinary hearing in Plaintiff's absence, noting that Plaintiff had been restricted from attending the hearing based on his allegedly disruptive behavior. Deacon denied Plaintiff's request for witnesses on the basis that the proffered testimony would not constitute a defense to the charges. Deacon denied Plaintiff's request for an investigation for the same reason.

         Deacon found by a preponderance of the evidence that Plaintiff committed Inmate Assault II by causing his body fluids to come into contact with another person. See Exhibit 3 to Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF 2-1 at 3-4. Deacon sanctioned Plaintiff to 45 days of disciplinary segregation, 14 days of lost privileges, and a $100 fine.

         On July 28, 2015, Plaintiff attended a second disciplinary hearing. This hearing related to Plaintiff's allegedly disruptive actions in the DSU hallway before his July 22nd disciplinary hearing. Plaintiff attended this hearing, and Deacon granted Plaintiff's request for an investigation, witnesses, and video records. The investigating officer, Defendant Young, concluded that the evidence supported allegations of Disrespect I and Disobedience of an Order (but not the other alleged violations, Extortion I and Compromising an Employee). Deacon, however, ultimately concluded that the facts did not support a charge of Disrespect I, but were sufficient to find Plaintiff had committed Disrespect II, based on Plaintiff's actions “direct[ing] hostile, sexual, abusive or threatening language or gestures . . . under circumstances that create[ ] a threat to safety, security or orderly operation of the facility.” Exhibit 8(b) to Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF 2-1 at 18. Deacon sanctioned Plaintiff to ten days of disciplinary segregation, ten days' loss of yard privileges, and a $25 fine. Plaintiff alleges that each of the remaining Defendants participated actively or by omission in the administration of the above sanctions or of Plaintiff's formal grievances regarding the same.

         On May 23, 2016, Plaintiff filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking damages and declaratory relief. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. ECF 2. Plaintiff alleges, specifically, that Akana wrongfully prevented Plaintiff from attending the July 22, 2015, disciplinary hearing regarding the alleged assault by Plaintiff, in retaliation for grievances about Akana that Plaintiff had previously filed. Plaintiff also alleges that Deacon wrongfully proceeded with the hearing notwithstanding Plaintiffs absence and request for postponement. According to Plaintiff, Deacon then found Plaintiff in violation of prison rules without cause. Therefore, Plaintiff argues, the resulting disciplinary sanctions were unlawful. Based on those allegations, Plaintiff argues that Deacon and Akana violated his substantive and procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and that Akana further violated Plaintiffs First Amendment rights by doing so in retaliation for Plaintiffs grievances against him.

         Plaintiff alleges that Boston and Akana, by submitting and endorsing the two misconduct reports against Plaintiff, caused Plaintiff an atypical and significant hardship in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and the Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, by subjecting Plaintiff to solitary confinement in the DSU without cause. Plaintiff alleges that Jackson, who signed the first misconduct report as the “Reviewing Supervisor, ” and Jorgenson, who signed the second misconduct report in the same capacity, also thereby violated Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff argues that Myrick, Williamson, Barnett, Nofziger, Gower, Ridley, and Peters violated Plaintiffs rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by “refusing to address, resolve, properly train, or hold [Akana and Deacon] accountable” for violating Plaintiffs rights and by “upholding the decisions made by ...

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