United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Teilborg, Senior United States District Judge.
Pardis Zainulabadin, who is currently confined in the Arizona
State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Eyman, Meadows Unit in Florence,
Arizona brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 8.) Before the Court are Defendants
Kent and Ryan's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 82) and
Defendants GEO, Riddell, Coday, and Ryan's (“GEO
Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 84),
which Plaintiff opposes (Docs. 89, 90).
Court will grant Defendants Ryan and Kent's Motion for
Summary Judgment, grant GEO Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment, and terminate the action.
screening of Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 8)
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that
Plaintiff stated the following claims: (1) religious exercise
claims under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (RLUIPA), the First Amendment, and article 2
section 12 of the Arizona Constitution against Defendants GEO
Group, Inc., GEO Officer Riddell, Arizona Department of
Corrections (ADC) Disciplinary Officers John Doe and Jane
Doe, ADC Director Ryan, and ADC Deputy Warden
Coday in Count One; and (2) a Fourteenth
Amendment equal protection claim against Defendants ADC
Corrections Officer (CO) II Kent and Ryan in Count Two. The
Court directed these Defendants to answer the respective
claims against them and dismissed the remaining claims and
Defendants. (Docs. 6, 32.) The Court did not order service on
the Doe Defendants at this time. (Doc. 6 at 12.)
Defendants move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim
in Count One on the grounds that he failed to exhaust the
available administrative remedies and that the claim fails on
the merits. (Doc. 84.) Defendants Kent and Ryan move for
summary judgment on the merits of Plaintiff's claim in
Count Two, and in the alternative, argue that they are
entitled to qualified immunity. (Doc. 82.)
Summary Judgment Standard
must 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); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The movant bears
the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of the record, together
with affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
movant fails to carry its initial burden of production, the
nonmovant need not produce anything. Nissan Fire &
Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Co.,
Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). But if
the movant meets its initial responsibility, the burden
shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate the existence of a
factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material,
i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law, and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 250 (1986);
see Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d
1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish
a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor, First
Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 288-89 (1968); however, it must “come forward with
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)
(internal citation omitted); see Fed. R. Civ. P.
summary judgment, the judge's function is not to weigh
the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 249. In its analysis, the court must believe the
nonmovant's evidence and draw all inferences in the
nonmovant's favor. Id. at 255. The court need
consider only the cited materials, but it may consider any
other materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).
GEO Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
Count One of the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges
that his religious exercise rights were violated when he was
placed on disciplinary report for missing mandatory
orientation in order to attend a religious service on April
8, 2016. (Doc. 8 at 7.)
Exhaustion Legal Standard
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a prisoner must exhaust
“available” administrative remedies before filing
an action in federal court. See 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a); Vaden v. Summerhill, 449 F.3d 1047, 1050
(9th Cir. 2006); Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926,
934-35 (9th Cir. 2005). The prisoner must complete the
administrative review process in accordance with the
applicable rules. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81,
92 (2006). Exhaustion is required for all suits about prison
life, Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 523 (2002),
regardless of the type of relief offered through the
administrative process, Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S.
731, 741 (2001).
defendant bears the initial burden to show that there was an
available administrative remedy and that the prisoner did not
exhaust it. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1169,
1172 (9th Cir. 2014); see Brown, 422 F.3d at 936-37
(a defendant must demonstrate that applicable relief remained
available in the grievance process). Once that showing is
made, the burden shifts to the prisoner, who must either
demonstrate that he, in fact, exhausted administrative
remedies or “come forward with evidence showing that
there is something in his particular case that made the
existing and generally available administrative remedies
effectively unavailable to him.” Albino, 747
F.3d at 1172. The ultimate burden, however, rests with the
defendant. Id. Summary judgment is appropriate if
the undisputed evidence, viewed in the light most favorable
to the prisoner, shows a failure to exhaust. Id. at
1166, 1168; see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
summary judgment is denied, disputed factual questions
relevant to exhaustion should be decided by the judge; a
plaintiff is not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of
exhaustion. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1170-71. But if a
court finds that the prisoner exhausted administrative
remedies, that administrative remedies were not available, or
that the failure to exhaust administrative remedies should be
excused, the case proceeds to the merits. Id. at
Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has adopted
Department Order (DO) 802 to address prisoners'
complaints regarding their conditions of confinement. (Doc.
85 (GEO Defs.' Statement of Facts) ¶ 9.)
the version of DO 802 that was in effect when Plaintiff's
claim arose, prisoners must first attempt to resolve their
complaints through informal means, such as discussing the
issue with staff or submitting an Inmate Informal Complaint
Resolution Form to their unit Correctional Officer (CO) III.
(Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) The Informal Complaint
must be submitted within ten days from the date of the
incident that gave rise to the grievance. (Doc. 85-1 at 14
(DO 802.02 § 1.2).) The CO III has 15 workdays to
respond to the Informal Complaint. (Id. (DO 802.02
§ 1.3.2).) If the prisoner is unable to resolve the
issue informally, the prisoner ...