United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR DE NOVO REVIEW OF
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S DECISION ON RETENTION OF CLASS MEMBERS
IN THE SHU (DKT NO. 795)
CLAUDIA WILKEN United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to review and reverse the
magistrate judge's decision on a dispositive matter
referred to him regarding the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) retention of class
members in the Security Housing Unit (SHU). Defendants filed
an opposition to the motion and Plaintiffs filed a reply.
Having considered the papers, the Court reviews the
magistrate judge's decision de novo and affirms it.
December 2016, the CDCR found Inmates A and B guilty of
charges of conspiracy to murder Inmate C. The CDCR intends to
hold Inmates A and B in the SHU for their offense until 2020.
Declaration of Carmen E. Bremer (Bremer Decl.), Ex. A. The
CDCR's finding was based on four prisoner notes and a
letter from an alleged co-conspirator, Inmate D. See
Id. The CDCR provided Inmates A and B with
Confidential Information Disclosure Forms (1030 forms), which
are used to convey information that the CDCR deems to be
confidential. Bremer Decl., Ex. B. The 1030 forms contain the
text of the four prisoner notes and the CDCR's
interpretation of those notes. See Id. The
names of the alleged conspirators and co-conspirators were
replaced with asterisks for safety reasons. See Id.
The 1030 forms additionally referred to a letter from Inmate
D to Inmate A about a plan to murder Inmate C. Bremer Decl.,
Ex. C; see also Bremer Decl., Ex. E. The 1030 forms
stated that Inmate D's letter constituted additional
information concerning Inmate A and B's participation in
the plot to murder Inmate C and that the information
confirmed that the plan to murder Inmate C existed.
See Bremer Decl., Ex. C.
brought a motion before Magistrate Judge Vadas to enjoin the
CDCR from retaining class members Inmates A and B in the SHU
on two bases: that the CDCR did not make the requisite
evidentiary showing to place Inmates A and B in the SHU and
that the CDCR violated paragraph thirty-four of the
Settlement Agreement by issuing inadequate 1030 forms. Docket
No. 706. Judge Vadas denied the motion, holding that the
Settlement Agreement terms “do not include granting the
court broad, general authority to review disciplinary
decisions by the CDCR using any standard . . .” Docket
No. 786. Plaintiffs then brought the instant motion to
challenge Judge Vadas' order. See Settlement
Agreement ¶ 53.
Court reviews de novo Judge Vadas' decision. Docket No.
486-3, Settlement Agreement ¶ 53 (“An order issued
by Magistrate Judge Vadas under this Paragraph is subject to
review under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).”). The
referenced section provides, “A judge of the court may
accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
argue that the CDCR has not substantially complied with
paragraph thirty-four of the Settlement Agreement. In
California, “a party is deemed to have substantially
complied with an obligation only where any deviation is
unintentional and so minor or trivial as not substantially to
defeat the object which the parties intend to
accomplish.” Rouser v. White, 825 F.3d 1076,
1082 (9th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted).
thirty-four of the Settlement Agreement requires that the
CDCR “adhere to the standards for the consideration of
and reliance on confidential information set forth in Title
15 of the California Code of Regulations, section
3321.” Section 3321, which defines the types of
confidential information and their use, provides in relevant
following types of information shall be classified as
(1) Information which, if known to the inmate, would endanger
the safety of any person.
(2) Information which would jeopardize the security of the
(3) Specific medical or psychological information which, if
known to the inmate, would be medically or psychologically