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McBryde v. Thomas

United States District Court, D. Montana, Helena Division

April 7, 2014

CAMERON McBryde, Plaintiff,

KEITH STRONG, Magistrate Judge.

Findings and Recommendations to Grant Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment

I. Synopsis

Mr. McBryde alleged the State of Montana violated his constitutional rights by conditioning his parole on completion of an addiction treatment program with religious elements. The facts revealed in discovery, including Mr. McBryde's deposition testimony, show that Mr. McBryde's parole was not conditioned on any religious activity. He was simply advised to participate in a drug treatment program that he himself suggested. Mr. McBryde has not come forward with substantial evidence to establish a genuine issue of material fact. His complaint should be dismissed.

II. Jurisdiction

Mr. McBryde filed suit in federal court, in the Helena Division of the District of Montana. Doc. 2. Venue is proper, as Mr. McBryde is suing members of the Board of Pardons and Parole, which is a state entity based in Lewis and Clark County, Montana. Local Rule 1.2(c)(3). The Complaint asserts a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which invokes federal question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The Court has personal jurisdiction over the parties, all of whom are found in Montana. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(k)(1)(A); Mont. R. Civ. P. 4(b). The case is assigned to the Hon. Dana L. Christensen, Chief United States District Court Judge and referred to the undersigned to submit findings and recommendations on dispositive motions. Doc. 23; Local Rule 72.2(a)(1).

III. Status

Mr. McBryde filed a Complaint on August 17, 2012. Doc. 2. After the review required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A, the Complaint was served upon Defendants. Doc. 8. Discovery is now complete. Doc. 46. The Defendants are in two separately represented groups. The first group, the "Nexus Defendants, " consists of the Nexus Treatment Center, Community Corrections and Counseling Services, and Nexus personnel Derrick Gibbs and Howard Lamely. The second group, the "Prison Defendants, " includes Montana State Prison officer Tim Krumb, and Board of Pardons and Parole personnel Fern Osler, Meaghan Shone, Craig Thomas and Julie Thomas. The unmodified term "Defendants" refers to both groups.

The Nexus Defendants previously moved for summary judgment. Doc. 31. That motion was denied. Doc. 65. All Defendants have now moved for summary judgment on new grounds, via separate motions. Docs. 53, 57. Both groups of Defendants properly provided Mr. McBryde with notice of the potentially dispositive motions ( Rand notice). Docs. 56, 60. The motions are fully briefed. Docs. 54, 55, 58, 59, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 76, 77.

IV. Standards

Summary Judgment

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a.). The party moving for summary judgment has the initial burden of showing there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970).

A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The materiality determination rests on substantive law. Id. A dispute about a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. On summary judgment, all inferences should be drawn in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment. Adickes, 398 U.S. at 157.

Once the moving party has made a prima facie showing that it is entitled to summary judgment, the burden shifts to the opposing party to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. Summary judgment is mandated if, after adequate time for discovery, the party that bears the burden of proof has failed to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986).

In general, the Court will not consider a new claim raised for the first time in response to a motion for summary judgment. See Coleman v. Quaker Oats Co., 232 F.3d 1271, 1292-93 (9th Cir.2000). Nevertheless, a plaintiff proceeding pro se should be afforded the benefit of any doubt in ascertaining what claims he raised in his complaint and argued to the court in his later filings. Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1158 (9th Cir.2008).

42 U.S.C. § 1983

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States by a person acting under the color of ...

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