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Nordholm v. Barkell

United States District Court, D. Montana, Butte Division

October 23, 2018

WILLIAM NORDHOLM, Plaintiff,
v.
TIM BARKELL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JEREMIAH C. LYNCH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff William Nordholm brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Anaconda-Deer Lodge County and that entity's law enforcement officers Tim Barkell, Bill Sather, Richard Pasha, Mark Durkin, and Brandon Staley, alleging they violated the rights secured him by the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Nordholm seeks injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary compensation.

         Nordholm advances three claims for relief: Count I asserts a due process violation resulting from the policy of Anaconda-Deer Lodge County (“ADLC”) charging pretrial detainees “booking” and “bonding”/“holding” fees. Count II asserts a due process violation stemming from an alleged conspiracy on the part of Pasha - and an unknown officer - to file false criminal charges against Nordholm. Finally, Count III advances a claim against various ADLC detention officers for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights by failing to provide him with grievance forms, failing to respond to his grievances and medical requests, and failing to forward his mail.

         Before the Court is Defendants' consolidated motion for partial summary judgment seeking dismissal of Count I on the ground that Nordholm has failed to exhaust the administrative remedies purportedly available as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) at 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Defendants also allege those aspects of Count I seeking declaratory and injunctive relief are moot because Nordholm is no longer incarcerated at ADLC. Nordholm opposes Defendants' motion.[1]

         II. Factual Background

         Nordholm lists three separate instances in which he allegedly incurred fees as a pretrial detainee at ADLC and before being released on bond. Nordholm complains that on each instance he was charged a “booking” and “bonding” fee. Nordholm challenges the constitutional validity of the fees, emphasizing he was never provided notice or hearing to contest the fees.

         Defendants admit to charging Nordholm $285 for “booking and holding fees.” (Doc. 37 at 2.) In this regard, ADLC admits it received $23 directly from Nordholm. But with respect to the remaining $262 of the fees, ADLC simply states, without explanation, that amount was paid by a bonding company. (Doc. 37-22.)

         For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is denied.[2] Defendant's motion asserting Nordholm's claims are moot is denied with respect to his claim for declaratory relief, but granted as to his claim for injunctive relief.

         III. Discussion

         Summary judgment is to be granted only when there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Because Nordholm is proceeding pro se, the Court must construe his documents liberally and give them “the benefit of the doubt” with respect to Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment. Frost v. Symington, 197 F.3d 348, 352 (9th Cir. 1999). See also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         If the moving party makes a prima facie showing that summary judgment is appropriate, the burden shifts to the opposing party to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Betz v. Trainer Wortham & Co., Inc., 504 F.3d 1017, 1020-21 (9th Cir. 2007). On summary judgment, all inferences should be drawn in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         A. Exhaustion of ...


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