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Pringle v. Cardall

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 27, 2019




         Plaintiff Pamela Pringle filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that defendants violated her civil rights during and after her incarceration in Idaho Department of Correction (“IDOC") facilities. Defendants Sandy Jones, Amanda Gentry, Noel Barlow-Hust, Judy Mesick, Cindy McDonald, Mark Kubinski, and Elisa Magnuson (collectively “the Idaho defendants”) move to dismiss plaintiff's complaint. (Docket No. 53.)

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         On May 25, 2016, plaintiff, then a prisoner at Idaho Department of Correction Pocatello Women's Correctional Center, was informed that California had lodged a detainer against her for an untried pending felony. (First Am. Compl. (“FAC”) ¶ 26 (Docket No. 7).) The Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, 18 U.S.C. § APP. 2 § 1 et seq., provides a mechanism through which prisoners incarcerated in one state may request a final disposition on indictments lodged against them in a second state. (Id. ¶ 24.) Plaintiff alleges that defendants Amanda Gentry, the Warden at Pocatello Women's Correctional Center, Cindy McDonald, the Interstate Coordinator for the Idaho Department of Correction Central Office, and Mark Alan Kubinski, a Deputy Attorney General assigned to the Idaho Department of Correction, repeatedly declined to process her request for a final disposition of her California indictment. (Id. ¶¶ 28, 30 & 45-48.) Plaintiff also alleges that following her transfer to South Boise Women's Correction Center on July 14, 2016, defendant Noel Barlow-Hust, the Warden at that facility, refused to process the same request for a final disposition. (Id. ¶¶ 35-37.) She contends that, at the direction of defendants Gentry and Kubinski, she was threatened with punitive measures if she continued to seek assistance in submitting a request for a final disposition on her California detainer. (Id. ¶¶ 41-43.)

         On November 1, 2016, immediately after she was released from prison in Idaho and onto parole, plaintiff was taken into custody by an IDOC officer and transported to Bannock County Jail to await transportation to California. (Id. ¶¶ 59-66.) These actions were allegedly taken pursuant to an illegal transport order drafted by defendants McDonald and Kubinski. (Id. ¶ 65.) Plaintiff claims that during the more than 48 hours she spent at Bannock County Jail, as well as during the 13-hour trip from Idaho to Yolo County, California, she endured substandard conditions -- e.g., her jail cell was brightly lit and loud 24 hours a day and she was denied water during the 13-hour trip from Idaho to California. (Id. ¶¶ 66-69.)

         On December 30, 2016, plaintiff was released from the Yolo County detention facility, but was ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor, remain in Yolo County, and to submit to supervision by the Yolo County Probation Department until the resolution of the California felony criminal case against her. (Id. ¶ 70.) Around January 26, 2017, an IDOC employee contacted her in California and directed her to apply for transfer of supervision of her Idaho parole to California under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision (“ICAOS”). (Id. ¶ 71.) Responding in writing, plaintiff declined to do so and asserted that she was still under the jurisdiction of the Yolo County detainer and therefore ineligible to apply for transfer of supervision under the ICAOS. (Id. ¶ 72.)

         On February 6, 2017, an IDOC employee allegedly ordered plaintiff to report to Sylvia Diaz of the Yolo County Probation Department for an Idaho parole check-in. (Id. ¶ 73.) Plaintiff was told that defendant Kubinski, along with defendant Mesick, the Deputy Interstate Compact Commissioner for Idaho (id. ¶ 12), and defendant Jones, the Executive Director for the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole (id. ¶ 11), had decided that California would supervise plaintiff's Idaho parole. (Id. ¶ 73.) Plaintiff alleges that she contacted Sylvia Diaz on February 6, 2017 and learned that on February 2, 2017 the Yolo County Probation Department had received an interstate compact application to transfer plaintiff's parole from Idaho to California. (Id. ¶ 73.) Plaintiff maintains that she was not eligible to apply for transfer of supervision under ICAOS. (Id. ¶ 75.) She claims that she neither initiated nor signed this application for an interstate compact (id. ¶ 81), and that it was defendant Mesick who fraudulently submitted plaintiff's interstate compact application. (Id. ¶ 77.) According to plaintiff, defendant Mesick forwarded plaintiff an email on February 14, 2017, which stated that if plaintiff did not consent to the transfer of her parole from Idaho to California, plaintiff would receive a parole violation and be re-incarcerated. (Id. ¶ 84.) On March 8, 2017, plaintiff “reluctantly and belatedly” signed the “fraudulent Interstate Compact Application.” (Id. ¶ 86.)

         In October 2017, plaintiff brought Pringle v. Gentry, 2:17-cv-2206 (“Pringle I”), pro se against a variety of Idaho correctional and parole officials, many of them also defendants in the instant case. (Id. ¶¶ 91 & 93.) That case was assigned to Judge Troy L. Nunley. Plaintiff alleges that in retaliation for that suit, defendants Jones, Mesick, and Kubinski conspired with defendants Cardall and Pennella, as well as with the Yolo County Probation Department, to issue a groundless parole violation against plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 102-04.) Plaintiff states that at all times between May 4, 2017, and November 3, 2017, she was in compliance with the terms of her Idaho parole. (Id. ¶¶ 89-90.) Plaintiff alleges that at some point between October 26, 2017, and November 3, 2017, her status in the IDOC Offender Database was changed from “Released to [parole] supervision” to “Fugitive.” (Id. ¶¶ 98-99.) Plaintiff contends that this change occurred because of defendants' allegedly conspiratorial and baseless report that plaintiff had absconded from parole. (Id. ¶¶ 100-104.)

         On March 28, 2018, a hearing was held before Magistrate Judge Allison Claire in Pringle I. (Id. ¶ 123.) Plaintiff appeared telephonically. (Id.) She alleges, however, that defendants Kubinski, Mesick, and Jones conspired with defendant Magnuson, a Deputy Attorney General for the state of Idaho (id. ¶ 15), to arrange for plaintiff to be detained by a United States Marshal working in the same building where the hearing was held. (Id. ¶ 125.) Plaintiff further alleges that defendant Elisa Magnuson, an Idaho Deputy Attorney General, engaged in ex parte communications with Judge Claire. (Id. ¶ 127.) Eventually, after the parties litigated various jurisdictional and venue-related issues, Judge Nunley ordered the case transferred to the District of Idaho under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). Later that same day, plaintiff filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of that action under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) and the case was closed.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed the complaint in this action, 2:18-cv-02035 WBS KJN, (“Pringle II”) one week before Judge Nunley's ruling ordering Pringle I's transfer to Idaho. Citing Pringle I's transfer to Idaho and the fact that the court had not reached Pringle I's merits, Judge Nunley declined to relate Pringle I and Pringle II. (Minute Order (Docket No. 6).)

         Plaintiff represented to the court that all of the defendants in this case were properly served pursuant to Rule 4(e)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Docket Nos. 8-19.) The Idaho defendants failed to respond or otherwise defend themselves in the time allotted under Rule 12. Plaintiff then requested and received an entry of default against the Idaho defendants. (Docket Nos. 20 & 22.) On January 2, 2019, the Idaho defendants moved to set aside the default and quash the summons. (Docket No. 30.) That same day plaintiff moved for default judgment against the Idaho defendants. (Docket No. 31.) The court eventually granted the Idaho defendants' motion to set aside the default on the condition that they pay plaintiff $5, 040 in attorney's fees associated with the preparation of her motion for entry of default judgment. (Docket Nos. 46, 56 & 65.)

         Around the same time, defendants Brent Cardall and the County of Yolo moved to dismiss two of plaintiff's claims against them, sever and transfer all claims against the Idaho defendants to the District of Idaho, and stay proceedings. (Docket No. 21.) The court dismissed plaintiff's claims against defendants Cardall and the County of Yolo for negligent hiring and supervision, and negligent ...

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