United States District Court, D. Montana, Missoula Division
DONALD W. MOLLOY, District Judge.
Plaintiff Clifton Ray Oliver, appearing prose, alleges in his Second Amended Complaint denial of his due process and equal protection rights as a result of his detention in segregation as a federal pretrial detainee. (Doc. 57.) Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or in the alternative a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 31.) Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch entered Findings and Recommendations on March 31, 2015, recommending that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted. (Doc. 96.) Oliver filed objections to the Findings and Recommendations on April 20, 2015, (Doc. 97), and Defendants filed a response on May 1, 2015, (Doc. 98). Oliver is entitled to de novo review of the specified findings or recommendations to which he objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). His objections encompass the entirety of the Findings and Recommendations.
Oliver objects to the findings of fact and analysis in the Findings and Recommendations that relate to his segregation in multiple facilities. Additionally, Oliver insists that he requested a continuance so he could conduct further discovery to gather evidence he claims would corroborate the genuine material factual disputes that exist and that his request was ignored. According to Defendants, the Findings and Recommendations should be adopted because Judge Lynch's careful review of the facts show Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on their claim of qualified immunity. For the reasons stated below, Oliver's objections are overruled, his request for a continuance is denied, and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.
I. Qualified Immunity
Courts apply a two-part test in evaluating qualified immunity: "whether plaintiff's allegations, if true, establish a constitutional violation, " and whether the defendants' actions violated "clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 736, 739 (2002) (internal quotation marks omitted). The facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff. Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per curiam).
"Pretrial detainees have a substantive due process right against restrictions that amount to punishment." Valdez v. Rosenbaum, 302 F.3d 1039, 1045 (9th Cir. 2002) (citing Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979)). "This right is violated if restrictions are imposed for the purpose of punishment.' There is no constitutional infringement, however, if restrictions are but an incident of some other legitimate government purpose.'" Id. (quoting Bell, 441 U.S. at 535) (internal citation omitted). "In distinguishing between a permissible restriction and impermissible punishment, [courts] first examine whether the restriction is based upon an express intent to inflict punishment.... [and] next consider whether punitive intent can be inferred from the nature of the restriction." Id. Here, there is no indication Defendants had an express intent to inflict punishment on Oliver. As to whether punitive intent can be inferred, "if a particular condition or restriction of pretrial detention is reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective, it does not, without more, amount to punishment.'" Id. (quoting Bell, 441 U.S. at 539).
Oliver objects to the analysis in the Findings and Recommendations that relate to his segregation at the Missoula County Detention Facility beginning May 23, 2012; the Federal Detention Center in Seatac, Washington, in August and September, 2012; the Missoula County Detention Facility in October, 2012; and Crossroads Correctional Center, the CCA Nevada Southern Detention Center, and the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners ("USMCFP") in Springfield, Missouri from February through May, 2013. (Doc. 97.)
A. Missoula County Detention Facility beginning May 23, 2012
Oliver was placed in administrative segregation at the Missoula County Detention Facility on May 23, 2012, because Oliver was attempting to intimidate witnesses in his case. (Docs. 34, 36.) The government has a legitimate interest in preventing witness tampering. Jones v. Horne, 634 F.3d 588, 597-600 (D.C. Cir. 2011); Haraszewski v. Brannan, 2013 WL 4516776, at **9-10 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2013) (slip copy). Oliver's segregation "was reasonably related to this interest, " Valdez, 302 F.3d at 1046, and it therefore does not amount to punishment. Oliver insists his segregation was instigated by FBI Task Force Officer Guy Baker rather than Deputy U.S. Marshal Marvin Goffena. (Doc. 97 at 1-5.) This distinction is immaterial. Regardless of who alerted Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Elliott to Oliver's attempts to contact a witness in his case, it is undisputed Oliver was placed in administrative segregation because of his attempts to contact the witness. (Docs. 32 at ¶¶ 41-42; 79 at ¶¶ 41-42.) Oliver also insists that portions of Baker's reports documenting Oliver's witness tampering between March 14 and May 22, 2012, (see Doc. 61), are false. (Doc. 97 at 1-5.) Yet it is undisputed Oliver subsequently plead guilty to one count of witness tampering for his attempts to contact the witness between March 14 and May 22, 2012. (Doc. 35 at 91-92, 95-121.) Oliver's objection is overruled.
B. Seatac Federal Detention Center in August and September, 2012
Oliver was placed in segregation when he arrived at the Seatac Federal Detention Center on August 27, 2012, and he remained in segregation until September 10, 2012. Oliver was placed in segregation because it was Seatac's practice at that time to segregate a person admitted for a mental capacity examination for a period of time to determine whether safety issues exist. (Doc. 72.) The government has a legitimate interest in maintaining security and order in operating an institution. Bell, 441 U.S. at 540 n.23. Because Oliver's segregation "was reasonably related to this interest, " Valdez, 302 F.3d at 1046, it does not amount to punishment. Oliver insists that correspondence from Elliott to Seatac played a significant role in his placement in segregation. (Doc. 97 at 5-6.) Elliott did not deny playing a role in Seatac's housing decision, and her declarations express her continued concern about Oliver contacting the witness in his case both before and after his time at Seatac. (Docs. 34, 63.) Yet drawing the inference that Elliott did play a role in Oliver's placement in segregation at Seatac does not ...