Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. Taylor

United States District Court, D. Oregon

September 18, 2018

CHRISTOPHER J. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
JERI TAYLOR, et al., Defendants.

          CHRISTOPHER J. JONES #15279830 Snake River Correctional Institution Plaintiff, Pro Se

          ELLEN F. ROSENBLUM Attorney General SHANNON M. VINCENT Senior Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Defendants BROWN, Senior Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          ANNA J. BROWN UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion (#39) to Produce Extra Legal Documentation to Defendant's Summary Judgment Claim and Defendants' Motion (#30) for Summary Judgment. The Court concludes the record is sufficiently developed such that oral argument would not be helpful to the resolution of these Motions. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion and GRANTS Defendants' Motion.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and the parties' materials related to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and are viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.

         At all relevant times Plaintiff Christopher J. Jones was an inmate at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI).

         On February 7, 2017, Defendant Lieutenant (Lt.) Rodney Carey submitted an Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) Request for Administrative Housing in which he requested Plaintiff to be placed in involuntary administrative segregation for 30 days through March 9, 2017, pending investigation into allegations that Plaintiff was sexually assaulting and sexually coercing a vulnerable inmate. Captain J. Walker approved the 30-day placement.

         After Lt. Carey completed his investigation, he filed a Misconduct Report against Plaintiff on March 9, 2017. Lt. Carey reported:

On 03/09/2017 I was assigned as the Assignment Lieutenant on second shift. At approximately 4:00pm I finished my investigation into Inmate Jones, Christopher #15279830 sexually assaulting another inmate on F4 Housing Unit. Multiple CI [Confidential Informant] reports as well as Oregon State Police documentation support the above rule violations. CI's [sic] stated Inmate Jones was engaged in forceful sexual situations with [Victim Inmate][1] between the dates of 8/25/2016 and 1/27/2017. One CI reported there were other inmates that Inmate Jones had forced into sexual situations other than [Victim Inmate]. My investigation concluded that Inmate Jones used extortion, intimidation and physical force to gain canteen items and sex from [Victim Inmate]. These situations took place in the unit shower, laundry room as well as the bunk area.

Decl. of Jason Walker, Ex. 3 at 1. Lt. Carey charged Plaintiff with violating four ODOC Rules: (1) Rule 2.20, Sexual Assault; (2) Rule 2.15, Extortion I; (3) Rule 2.10, Disrespect I; and (4) Rule 2.05, Inmate Assault I. An officer-in-charge reviewed Lt. Carey's misconduct report and found "the rule violations . . . are of such a serious nature that the good order and security of the facility" required Plaintiff to remain in segregation on the ground that "[e]xperience has shown that inmates who engage in assaultive conduct are a present and continuing threat to themselves, other inmates and staff members. Therefore becoming a threat to the safety and security of the institution." Walker Decl., Ex. 3 at 1.

         On March 14, 2017, Defendant Hearings Officer Heather Nevil held a disciplinary hearing relating to Plaintiff s alleged rule violations. At the hearing Plaintiff acknowledged he had received copies of his Notice of Rights, Notice of Hearing, and Rules of Prohibited Conduct and that he understood those documents, his rights in the hearing, and the rule violations against him. Decl. of Heather Nevil, Ex. 4 at 1. Plaintiff denied he violated ODOC rules. Officer Nevil read Lt. Carey's Misconduct Report into the record and advised Plaintiff that she had "the Confidential Informant Packet[, which included] all of the verbatim statements that were provided in confidence to Lt. Carey during his investigation." Id. at 2. Officer Nevil further advised Plaintiff that due to "the consistency of the information that's been provided in those confidential informants [sic] statements [Lt. Carey] . . . has deemed that these informants are credible and that their verbatim statements as well as their names should be withheld in order to protect the safety and security of the facility." Id. Plaintiff asked Officer Nevil to read the CI statements at the hearing. Officer Nevil declined and noted the salient information from the statements was contained in the Misconduct Report that she had read into the record, she deemed the statements to be credible, and she had determined the verbatim statements and identities of the CIs should not be revealed due to safety concerns. Plaintiff provided a statement in which he denied the rule violations. Ultimately Officer Nevil dismissed the Rule 2.05 (Inmate Assault I) violation, substituted a violation of Rule 2.16 (Extortion II) for Rule 2.15 (Extortion I), and found Plaintiff guilty of violating Rule 2.20 (Sexual Assault) and Rule 2.10 (Disrespect I). Officer Nevil recommended sanctions of 120 days in disciplinary segregation with credit for the time Plaintiff had already served in segregation, a 28-day loss of privileges, and a $200 fine that was suspended "pending no [additional] major rule violations."[2]

         Plaintiff sought administrative review of Officer Nevil's decision with the Oregon Inspector General's Office pursuant to ODOC rules.

On April 11, 2017, Assistant Inspector General Melissa Nofziger advised Plaintiff that the Inspector General's Office had reviewed Plaintiff's disciplinary hearing and the review indicates there was substantial compliance with the rule, the finding was based upon a preponderance of the evidence and the sanction imposed was in accordance with the provisions set forth in the rule. Refer to OAR 291-105-0085(3) (4) .

Nevil Decl., Ex. 6 at 1.

         On June 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Lt. Carey, Officer Nevil, and SRCI Superintendant Jeri Taylor alleging (1) Lt. Carey violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Right to procedural due process when he kept Plaintiff in administrative segregation from February 7, 2017, through March 9, 2017, and continued his administrative segregation from March 9, 2017, through March 14, 2017; (2) administrative segregation violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment because the cells do not have access to direct sunlight and Plaintiff was unable to purchase items from the canteen, including unidentified "religious items," during that time; (3) Officer Nevil violated Plaintiff's right to procedural due process when she interrupted him during the hearing, refused to read the CI statements into the record, and found Plaintiff guilty of the rule violations without sufficient evidence; and (4) Superintendent Taylor violated Plaintiff's right to due process when she "approved the sanction rather than dismiss it." Plaintiff seeks damages, injunctive relief, and declaratory relief.

         On October 25, 2017, Defendants filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiff s Complaint in which they asserted affirmative defenses of qualified immunity, Plaintiff's failure to state a claim, and Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.

         On June 15, 2018, Defendants filed their Motion seeking summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff's claims on the grounds that (1) Plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies as to his Eighth Amendment claims before filing this action, (2) Defendants did not violate Plaintiff's right to due process, and (3) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.

         On June 18, 2018, the Court issued a Summary Judgment Advice Notice to Plaintiff advising him that if he did not submit evidence in opposition to Defendants' Motion, summary judgment would be entered against him if appropriate.

         On August 9, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Produce Extra Legal Documentation to Defendant's Summary Judgment Claim.

         The Court took the parties' Motions under advisement on August 13, 2018.

         PLAINTIFF'S MOTION (#39) TO PRODUCE EXTRA LEGAL DOCUMENTATION TO DEFENDANT'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT CLAIM

         In his Motion Plaintiff seeks to include additional evidence in his Declaration in opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff notes he was not able to include the information before he filed his Motion because he did not receive the information from the Oregon State Police until after the deadline for his Response to Defendants' Motion had passed. Defendants do not object to Plaintiff's Motion, and they address the evidence Plaintiff submits in their Response to Plaintiff s Motion.

         Because Plaintiff was unable to produce the evidence at issue before his Response deadline through no fault of his own and in light of the fact that Defendants do not object, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion and will consider the recent evidence he offers in opposition to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment along with the rest of the record in resolving Defendants' Motion.

         DEFENDANTS' MOTION (#30) FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         As noted, Defendants move for summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff's claims on the grounds that (1) Plaintiff did not exhaust his Eighth Amendment claims before filing this action, (2) Defendants did not violate Plaintiff's right to due process, and (3) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.

         I. Standards.

         Summary judgment is appropriate when "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Washington Mut. Ins. v. United States, 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The moving party must show the absence of a dispute as to a material fact. Rivera v. Philip Morris, Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005). In response to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and show there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact for trial. Id. "This burden is not a light one . . . . The non-moving party must do more than show there is some 'metaphysical doubt' as to the material facts at issue." In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted).

         A dispute as to a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Villiarimo v. Aloha Island Air, Inc.,281 F.3d 1054, 1061 (9th Cir. 2002) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Sluimer v. Verity, Inc.,606 F.3d 584, 587 (9th Cir. 2010). "Summary judgment cannot be granted where contrary inferences may be drawn from the evidence as to material issues." Easter v. Am. W. Fin.,381 F.3d 948, 957 (9th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). A "mere disagreement or bald assertion" that a genuine dispute as to a material fact exists "will not preclude the grant of summary judgment." Deering v. Lassen Cmty. Coll. Dist., No. 2:07-CV-1521-JAM-DAD, 2011 WL 202797, at *2 (E.D. Cal., Jan. 20, 2011) (citing Harper v. Wallingford, 877 F.2d 728, 731 (9th Cir. 1989)). When the nonmoving party's claims ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.