United States District Court, D. Oregon
OPINION AND ORDER
Mustafa T. Kasubhai, United States Magistrate Judge.
is a Utah state prisoner housed at Eastern Oregon
Correctional Institutional (EOCI) pursuant to the Interstate
Corrections Compact. Plaintiff filed suit in January 2014 and
alleged that Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC)
officials denied him access to the courts, improperly
rejected or delayed his mail, and improperly limited visiting
and marriage privileges. The court dismissed plaintiff's
claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and
after plaintiff appealed, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part
and remanded the case as to one claim. Defendants now move
for summary judgment on plaintiff's remaining claim. For
the following reasons, defendants' motion is
2012, plaintiff was housed in an Idaho correctional facility
and preparing for trial in a lawsuit he had filed against
Idaho correctional officials. Am. Compl. at 3 (ECF No. 5). At
the time, Renee McKenzie - now Renee Wood (Ms. Wood) - worked
at an Idaho law office as a paralegal, and she and plaintiff
met in relation to plaintiff's litigation efforts. Ms.
Wood offered to help plaintiff after the law office in which
she worked declined to accept representation in his case.
Id. at 3-4. The District Court for the District of
Idaho (Idaho District Court) appointed Ms. Wood as
plaintiff's volunteer legal assistant - not as his lawyer
- to help plaintiff prepare for trial. Eventually, the Idaho
District Court became troubled by Ms. Wood's tendency to
overstep the boundaries of her role, particularly her
attempts to circumvent prison security measures in order
“to have unmonitored communication [with plaintiff]
under the guise of legal communication.” Defs.'
Mot. Summ. J. at 5 (ECF No. 77) (quoting Memorandum Decision
& Order at 13-14, Wood v. Idaho Dep't Corr.,
No. 3:04-cv-99-BLW (D. Idaho April 8, 2013)). In February
2013, the Idaho District Court rescinded Ms. Wood's
appointment as plaintiff's volunteer legal assistant.
2013, plaintiff was transferred to ODOC custody. At that
time, ODOC officials learned that Idaho law enforcement
authorities were investigating potential criminal charges
against Ms. Wood based on her statements to Idaho
correctional officials. See Arendell Decl. ¶ 20
(ECF No. 79). The investigation concerned whether Ms.
Wood's misrepresented the nature of her phone calls,
visits, and correspondence with plaintiff as
“legal” rather than “personal” in
order to obtain unmonitored access to plaintiff. Id.
20, 2013, Ms. Wood applied for Basic Visitation status. ODOC
denied her application due to the fact that Ms. Wood had
called EOCI prior to plaintiff's transfer and asked about
his status. Id. ¶¶ 16-18. ODOC officials
were concerned because Ms. Wood possessed confidential
housing information about an inmate that was not known to the
September 2, 2013, Ms. Wood appealed the denial of Basic
Visitation. Arendell Decl. ¶ 19. Her appeal was denied
due to the pending criminal investigation in Idaho.
Id. ¶ 20; see also former Or. Admin.
R. 291-127-0230(3) (“A person who has a pending
criminal charge(s) is ineligible to visit.”). She was
informed that her visitation request would be denied until
she could show that the pending legal issues had been
resolved. Arendell Decl. ¶ 23 & Exs. 6, 8.
February 7, 2014, Ms. Wood provided ODOC with documentation
establishing that she would not be charged with any crime in
Idaho. One week later, on February 14, 2014, ODOC granted Ms.
Wood Basic Visitation status. Id. ¶¶
February 18, 2014, Ms. Wood informed ODOC that she had
inadvertently checked the “Basic Visitation” box
on the visitation application and instead sought Privileged
Visitation status. Id. at ¶ 28. Ms. Wood was
informed that she was approved for Basic Visitation rather
than Privileged Visitation. Id. at ¶
February 27, 2014, plaintiff received a misconduct report for
alleged disciplinary rule violations of Distribution I and
Racketeering. Arendell Decl. ¶ 30 & Ex. 11. The
charges arose after Ms. Wood deposited several hundred
dollars into the trust accounts of three ODOC inmates at
plaintiff's request. On March 4, 2014, a Hearings Officer
found plaintiff guilty of violating ODOC Rule 4.10,
Distribution I. Id. ¶ 31 & Ex. 12.
September 15, 2014, Ms. Wood appealed her Basic Visitation
status and sought Privileged Visitation. Id. ¶
32. On October 2, 2014, Ms. Wood's request was denied due
to her involvement in plaintiff's rule violation.
Id. ¶¶ 33-34. Ms. Wood and plaintiff were
informed that her visitation status would be eligible for
review on February 14, 2015, after one year of Basic
February 14, 2015, Ms. Wood's visitation status was
reviewed, and she was granted Privileged Visitation status.
Id. ¶ 36; Miles Decl. ¶ 4 (ECF No. 78).
alleges that defendants denied Ms. Wood visiting privileges
in retaliation for plaintiff's lawsuits against Idaho
correctional officials and his complaints, grievances, and
legal claims against ODOC officials. Plaintiff seeks an
injunction requiring ODOC to grant Ms. ...