Grant v. Scott et al
ORDER granting 58 Motion for Summary Judgment. It is further ORDERED that this case is dismissed in its entirety. It is further ORDERED that judgment shall enter on behalf of Defendants and against Plaintiff, in accordance with this Order and this courts Order regarding Defendants Motion to Dismiss 40 , by Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya on 9/11/14.(sgrim)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLORADO
Magistrate Judge Kathleen M. Tafoya
Civil Action No. 13–cv–00153–KMT
LARRY NEIL GRANT,
LT. BERNADETTE SCOTT,
This matter is before the court on “Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment” (Doc.
No. 58 [Mot.], filed March 10, 2014). Plaintiff did not file a response. This matter is ripe for
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Sterling Correctional Facility (“SCF”) in the Colorado
Department of Corrections (“CDOC”). (Compl. [Doc. No. 15] at 4.) Plaintiff’s only remaining
claim is that Defendant Scott violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1201(2)(A)-(C), when she terminated him from his Offender Care Aide
(“OCA”) position because of his disabilities. (See Doc. No. 40 at 16.) This court previously
ordered that Plaintiff is limited to prospective injunctive relief only. (Id.)
Defendant Scott moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claim on the basis of
Plaintiff alleges that “[o]n March 24, 2012, inmate Danny Boyce, #107752, and
Plaintiff had a disagreement. An incident report was written about the situation and Plaintiff was
fired from [his] OCA job pending an investigation.” (Doc. No. 15, p. 5.)
The incident report states:
On 3/24/2012 at approx. 1:30 pm I, C/O Behrendsen was working in the Lu 2
Control center when inmate Grant, Larry # 150782 and inmate Boyce, Danny
#107752 were walking through A pod slider Inmate Grant told inmate Boyce that
he better watch his f***ing mouth. I told Grant to go to the office. Grant was an
offender care aid and Boyce is a [sic] ADA offender. Sgt. Clement had advised
inmate Grant that he was no longer having to be inmate Boyce’s OCA due to not
wanting a OCA nor having a [sic] accommodation for one. Inmate Boyce came
to the office and stated to Sgt. Clement that Grant was telling other inmates that if
they helped inmate Boyce they would get a write up. Sgt. Clement had called the
inmates into the office and explained to inmate Grant that what he was saying was
wrong and that other inmates could assist them without getting into trouble. Sgt.
Clement removed inmate Grant as an OCA pending job board evaluation.
(Mot., Ex. 1.)
The Job Board reviews offenders for placement in the facility work assignments,
educational classes, vocational assignments, I-Pod placement, restricted privilege status, and
termination requests. (Id., Ex. 2, ¶ 12.) Once a work supervisor has determined that an offender
should be terminated from a position for cause, the Job Board reviews the incident and approves
or denies the termination. (Id.)
The Job Board reviewed Plaintiff’s termination from his OCA position and found
sufficient evidence to terminate Plaintiff’s position. (Id., ¶ 13.)
Defendant Scott is the ADA Coordinator for Sterling Correctional Facility. (Id., ¶
3.) Among her duties is the responsibility to review offenders’ requests to be trained as OCAs.
(Id., ¶ 5.) The OCA program requires, among other things, that offenders be Class I
report/conviction free for twelve months. (Id.)
Defendant Scott has no authority to hire or fire offenders from job positions
within the facility (id., ¶ 8), and she did not take part in the decision to terminate Grant from his
OCA position (id., ¶ 11).
Rather, once Defendant Scott reviews whether an offender is OCA program
compliant, the offenders are interviewed by a case manager, the Nurse III or IV, and the ADA
Coordinator. (Id., ¶ 6.) Once approved by the interview board, potential OCA candidates are
trained by the Nurse III using the DOC approved lesson plan. (Id., ¶ 7.) If they pass the class
and the test, they are placed on the approved OCA list. (Id.) Quadrant supervisors then hire the
offenders and, if necessary, terminate them for cause. (Id., ¶ 8.)
On October 17, 2013, Plaintiff met with Defendant Scott and Captain Vorwald
regarding a letter Plaintiff sent to the Executive Director’s office about the termination of his
OCA position. (Id, ¶ 14.) Plaintiff was informed at this meeting that while he was not charged
or convicted under the Code of Penal Discipline for threatening another offender, an OCA
position required him to assist and care for a disabled offender, and that harassment, threats, and
abuse would not be tolerated. (Id.) Plaintiff stated that he had reviewed his “Thinking for a
Change” materials so that he could avoid trigger situations and that the behavior that caused the
termination of his OCA position would not happen again. (Id.)
On October 24, 2013, Plaintiff was moved to Living Unit 4. (Id., ¶ 15.) He was
reassigned to an OCA position on October 29, 2013, following a Job Board review. (Id.) Due to
a new lesson plan for OCAs, SCF began conducting refresher classes in October 2013. (Id.) On
December 19, 2013, Plaintiff was recertified by Nurse IV Jamey VanMeter and is currently
employed in an OCA position. (Id.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate 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). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing an absence of evidence to support
the nonmoving party’s case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). “Once the
moving party meets this burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to demonstrate a
genuine issue for trial on a material matter.” Concrete Works, Inc. v. City & County of Denver,
36 F.3d 1513, 1518 (10th Cir. 1994) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325). The nonmoving party
may not rest solely on the allegations in the pleadings, but must instead designate “specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(c). A disputed fact is “material” if “under the substantive law it is essential to the proper
disposition of the claim.” Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir.1998)
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute is “genuine” if the
evidence is such that it might lead a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Thomas v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 631 F.3d 1153, 1160 (10th Cir. 2011) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248).
When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, a court may consider only admissible
evidence. See Johnson v. Weld County, Colo., 594 F.3d 1202, 1209-10 (10th Cir. 2010). The
factual record and reasonable inferences therefrom are viewed in the light most favorable to the
party opposing summary judgment. Concrete Works, 36 F.3d at 1517. Moreover, because
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the court, “review[s] his pleadings and other papers liberally and
hold[s] them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys.” Trackwell v. United
States, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (holding allegations of a pro se complaint “to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers”). At the summary judgment stage of litigation, a
plaintiff’s version of the facts must find support in the record. Thomson v. Salt Lake Cnty., 584
F.3d 1304, 1312 (10th Cir. 2009). “When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of
which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court
should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Thomson, 584 F.3d at 1312.
In his Complaint, Plaintiff requests that he be “reinstated in his old job, without any
adverse consequences from this action.” (Doc. No. 15 at 9.) Defendant moves for summary
judgment on Plaintiff’s remaining claim for injunctive relief because his claim is moot. (Mot. at
“The mootness doctrine derives from Article III’s requirement that federal courts decide
only actual cases between litigants.” United States v. Dominguez–Carmona, 166 F.3d 1052,
1055 (10th Cir. 1999), overruled on other grounds by United States v. Meyers, 200 F.3d 715,
721–22 (10th Cir. 2000). When a case or claim is moot, federal courts lack power to review it,
because to do so would result in an advisory opinion prohibited by Article III. Id.; see also
Jones v. Temmer, 57 F.3d 921, 922 (10th Cir. 1995) (citing Preiser, 422 U.S. at 401).
“A case becomes moot when events occur which resolve the controversy underlying it.”
Dominguez–Carmona, 166 F.3d at 1055.
Mootness is a threshold issue because the existence of a live case or controversy
is a constitutional prerequisite to federal court jurisdiction. This requirement
exists at all stages of federal judicial proceedings, and it is therefore not enough
that the dispute was alive when the suit was filed; the parties must continue to
have a personal stake in the outcome . . . . When a party seeks only equitable
relief, as here, past exposure to alleged illegal conduct does not establish a present
live controversy if unaccompanied by any continuing present effects. In these
circumstances, the party must demonstrate a good chance of being likewise
injured in the future.
McClendon v. City of Albuquerque, 100 F.3d 863, 867 (10th Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). See also Transwestern Pipeline v. F.E.R.C., 897 F.2d 570, 575 (D.C. Cir.
1990) (“A case is moot if events have so transpired that the decision will neither presently affect
the parties’ rights nor have a more-than-speculative chance of affecting them in the future.”).
Here, Plaintiff has received the relief he sought—the reinstatement to his OCA
position—in his claim for injunctive relief. Plaintiff has not demonstrated, nor is it otherwise
apparent to the court, that there is a good chance that Defendant will deprive him of the OCA
position in the future under the same circumstances. Accordingly, the court finds that Plaintiff’s
claim for injunctive relief is moot, and that Defendant’s motion for summary judgment properly
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, it is
ORDERED that “Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment” (Doc. No. 58) is
GRANTED. It is further
ORDERED that this case is dismissed in its entirety. It is further
ORDERED that judgment shall enter on behalf of Defendants and against Plaintiff, in
accordance with this Order and this court’s Order regarding Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. No. 40).
Dated this 11th day of September, 2014.
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