Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Diaz v. Kessler

United States District Court, N.D. California

March 10, 2017

ENRIQUE DIAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
R. A. KESSLER, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; REFERRING CASE TO SETTLEMENT PROCEEDINGS; STAYING CASE; INSTRUCTIONS TO CLERK (DOCKET NO. 54)

          EDWARD J. DAVILA United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, a California prisoner proceeding pro se, filed the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”). Finding the complaint stated cognizable claims, the Court ordered service upon Defendants. (Docket No. 8.) Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the Court granted in part with respect to the claims against Defendants D. Ambriz, B. Hedrick, M. Ross, J. Hughes, and L. M. Pennisi who were then dismissed from this action. (Docket No. 49.) The Court ordered remaining Defendants A. Tankersley, S. Nunez, P. Sullivan, and R. A. Kessler to file a motion for summary judgment on the remaining claim, i.e., the violation of Plaintiff’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. (Id.)

         Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that Plaintiff cannot prove that they impeded the free exercise of his religion and that they are entitled to qualified immunity, among other grounds. (Docket No. 54, hereafter “Mot.”) Plaintiff filed an opposition, (Docket No. 62), and Defendants filed a reply, (Docket No. 63). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is DENIED.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Statement of Facts

         The only facts that are undisputed are that on June 18, 2013, Defendants Tankersley and Nunez came and removed Plaintiff during the middle of a Jewish service at SVSP. Plaintiff was assigned to Building A4 at the time.

         According to Defendants, SVSP officials received information regarding a possible threat to the safety of one or more correctional officers in Facility A on June 18, 2013. (Kessler Decl. ¶ 3, Docket No. 57.) On the same day, a threat assessment procedure was conducted in Building A4 of SVSP which houses up to 200 inmates. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-7.) As per normal prison procedure, inmates were confined in their cells, and those inmates who were assigned to, but not present in, Building A4 were methodically located and returned to A4. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff was assigned to A4, and had to be retrieved from Jewish services and returned to his cell as part of the threat assessment. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Plaintiff was one of over 100 inmates who were located and retrieved on June 18, 2013, as part of the threat assessment. (Id.) It was determined that a threat did not exist, and the building was returned to regular program at that time. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Because the threat assessment was completed in less than 24 hours, no official report was created. (Id.)

         According to Plaintiff, he was the only inmate out of A4 who was removed from Jewish services that day. (Diaz Decl.. Opp. Ex. B.) Plaintiff observed that he was the only inmate taken in handcuffs back to his unit and that all the other inmates from the same unit remained in the recreational yard. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he witnessed no cells being searched, no inmates being interviewed or questioned, nothing “out of the ordinary,” and that inmates “went and came in from the unit to the yard without any impedement [sic] at anytime that day of June 18[,] 2013.” (Id.)

         II. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is proper where the pleadings, discovery and affidavits show 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). A court will grant summary judgment “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial . . . since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party’s case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Celotex Corp. v. Cattrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the lawsuit under governing law, and a dispute about such a material fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         Generally, the moving party bears the initial burden of identifying those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Where the moving party will have the burden of proof on an issue at trial, it must affirmatively demonstrate that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party. But on an issue for which the opposing party will have the burden of proof at trial, the moving party need only point out “that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case.” Id. at 325. If the evidence in opposition to the motion is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50.

         The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to “go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,’ designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324 (citations omitted). If the nonmoving party fails to make this showing, “the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Id. at 323.

         The Court’s function on a summary judgment motion is not to make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence with respect to a material fact. See T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. V. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass’n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and the inferences to be drawn from the facts must be viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See id. at 631. It is not the task of the district court to scour the record in search of a genuine issue of triable fact. Keenan v. Allen, 91 F.3d 1275, 1279 (9th Cir. 1996). The nonmoving party has the burden of identifying with reasonable particularity the evidence that precludes summary judgment. Id. If the nonmoving party fails to do so, the district court may properly grant summary judgment in favor of the moving party. See id.; see, e.g., Carmen v. San Francisco Unified School District, 237 F.3d 1026, 1028-29 (9th Cir. 2001).

         A. Free ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.