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Evans v. Deacon

United States District Court, D. Oregon

May 21, 2019

MICHAEL JAMES EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES DEACON and JOSE OLVERA, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          MUSTAFA T. KASUBHAI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Defendants filed a motion asking the Court to dismiss Plaintiff's fourth claim (against Defendant Deacon) and to strike his entire complaint with prejudice and enter judgment in favor of defendants as a sanction. The Court heard oral argument on this matter April 9, 2019. The Court ruled that day that it would not strike the entire complaint as a sanction and that Plaintiff's Third Claim for Relief (Against Defendant Olvera) remained a viable claim. The Court instructed the parties that Plaintiff's Third Claim would continue through the adjudicative process, along with two other cases filed by Plaintiff which have been stayed pending disposition of the present motion. See Evans v. Myrick et al., No. 2:16-cv-00928; and Evans v. Gower et al., No. 2:17-cv-00162. Parties were instructed to confer and to file a scheduling order after the Court ruled on this matter. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Fourth Amended Complaint remains viable; the Third Claim for Relief survives, but Plaintiff's Fourth Claim (Against Defendant Deacon) is dismissed with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND FACTS

         The history of this case has been recounted multiple times over the eight years since it was filed. The following summarizes facts and history pertinent to the present issue. Plaintiff is an inmate in custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections (“ODOC”). Fourth Am. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 310. Over the course of this litigation, Plaintiff has filed multiple complaints and numerous pro bono attorneys have been appointed for limited assistance, including aiding Plaintiff in filing complaints. See e.g., ECF Nos. 47, 50, 54, 58, 212, 229, 273.

         On December 7, 2011, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendant Olvera for denying access to a typewriter in the law library while he was in the custody of the Oregon Department of Corrections at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla, Oregon. Fourth Am. Compl. ¶ 8, ECF No. 310. Plaintiff alleged that, in retaliation against the grievance, Defendant Olvera willfully, maliciously, or with indifference to Plaintiff's rights, filed a false disciplinary report against the Plaintiff. Id. at ¶¶ 10-16.

         On January 31, 2012, a misconduct report involving an incident with another inmate was filed against the Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff denied the charges and proceeded to disciplinary hearings. Id. at ¶¶ 20-22. According to Plaintiff, Hearing Officer Deacon denied him access to exculpatory witness and videotape evidence. Id. at ¶¶ 21-24. Plaintiff was found guilty of the charges against him and spent thirty days in disciplinary segregation before being transferred to the Snake River Correctional Institute's Administrative Segregation Unit (“ASU”) for another 654 days. Id. at ¶¶ 23-26.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In his Third Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, a retaliation claim against Defendant Olvera (Third Claim) and due process violations against Defendant Deacon for denying Plaintiff the ability to present evidence regarding an extortion charge at the disciplinary hearing in January, 2012 (Fourth Claim). Third Am. Compl., ECF No. 75; and see Op. and Order 19-22, 23-26, ECF No. 226. On January 20, 2015, this Court granted summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff as to liability on the due process claim against Defendant Deacon but granted summary judgement in favor of Defendant Olvera on Plaintiff's Third Claim. Op. and Order 31, ECF No. 226. Judge Stewart's opinion stated that although Plaintiff was entitled to summary judgment as to liability, he may well have suffered no harm as a result of the due process violation involving the extortion charge, given that he was also found guilty of other misconduct charges. Id. at 25. The Court noted that the appropriate remedy for the violation was not at issue during the summary judgment stage. Id. On February 23, 2015, Judge Stewart referred the parties to mediation to resolve the Fourth Claim, pursuant to Local Rule 16-4. Order, ECF No. 230.

         On March 2, 2015, Plaintiff, acting pro se, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Judge Stewart's order from January 20, 2015, which he titled “Motion to Alter or Amend Judgement [sic].” ECF No. 235. Plaintiff argued that the Court failed to appreciate that his Fourth Claim for Relief involved retaliation on the part of Defendant Deacon, and that Plaintiff should have been granted declaratory relief, and damages for time incurred at ASU as a result of Defendant Deacon's withholding of exculpatory evidence. Id. at 9-10. On March 5, 2015, Judge Stewart ordered a stay of Plaintiff's motion pending the completion of mediation. ECF No. 236.

         Plaintiff next filed a Motion for Leave to File Fourth Amended Complaint. ECF No. 242. Plaintiff sought specifically to include a retaliation claim related to his stay in the ASU. Id. The Court stayed this motion as well, again “pending completion of mediation.” Order, ECF No. 243. Both Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for Leave to File Fourth Amended Complaint contested Plaintiff's transfer from Snake River Correctional Institute to Snake River's ASU.

         The parties attended their first mediation session on May 28, 2015. See ***NON-PUBLIC***Remark/Staff Notes; Mediator report filed May 29, 2015. After that first session, the parties agreed to return to mediation to attempt to settle all claims, including those claims as yet unpled by Plaintiff, which Plaintiff alleged related to the extended stay in the ASU. Id.

         Although Plaintiff agreed to return to mediation, on June 4, 2015 he filed a “Revised Motion for Reconsideration of Order on Motion to Dismiss and Order on [M]otion for [S]ummary [J]udgment [ECF No.] 226. ECF No. 246. The Court also stayed this motion, pending mediation. ECF No. 247.

         On October 5, 2015, after a second mediation session, the parties placed a settlement on the record regarding Plaintiff's Fourth Claim for Relief; specifically, the mediator stated that:

[t]he settlement finally resolves Mr. Evans' fourth claim for relief against Defendant Deacon (the claim involving a denial of the opportunity to present evidence at a disciplinary hearing, and subsequent detention in disciplinary segregation for approximately 30 days). The settlement does not affect Mr. Evans' other claims for relief-claims which Judge Stewart dismissed on summary judgement but on which which [sic] Mr. Evans has filed motions for reconsideration.

         Docket entry October 5, 2015 ***NON-PUBLIC***Remarks/Staff Notes. Two days later, the Court lifted the stays previously ordered. Order, ECF No. 248. The Court also denied Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Fourth Amended Complaint (Order, ECF No. 249), with leave to renew as ...


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