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Stockmeier v. Green

Supreme Court of Nevada

December 31, 2014

ROBERT LESLIE STOCKMEIER, Appellant,
v.
TRACEY D. GREEN, STATE HEALTH OFFICER, Respondent

Proper person appeal from a district court order denying a petition for a writ of mandamus and request for injunction. First Judicial District Court, Carson City; James Todd Russell, Judge.

Robert Leslie Stockmeier, Lovelock, in Proper Person.

Catherine Cortez Masto, Attorney General, Carson City, and Linda C. Anderson, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Carson City, for Respondent.

BEFORE HARDESTY, DOUGLAS and CHERRY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 584

CHERRY, J.:

NRS 209.382(1)(b) requires respondent, Nevada's Chief Medical Officer,[1] to periodically examine and semiannually report to the Board of State Prison Commissioners regarding " [t]he nutritional adequacy of the diet of incarcerated offenders." At issue here is the district court's denial of appellant's petition for mandamus and injunctive relief, which sought to compel respondent to comply with the duties imposed by this statute. Our review of this decision requires us to determine whether respondent sufficiently complied with the dictates of NRS 209.382(1)(b). And in this regard, we conclude that respondent's examination of inmate diets and her resulting report to the

Page 585

Board fell well short of what was required, as her report included no analysis of the diets of general population inmates, addressed diets at only one of Nevada's correctional facilities, and generally lacked any indication as to how the required examination was conducted. We therefore reverse the denial of appellant's petition and remand this matter to the district court with instructions to issue a writ of mandamus compelling respondent to exercise her statutory duties in accordance with this opinion.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This case began when appellant Robert Leslie Stockmeier, an inmate at Lovelock Correctional Center, filed the underlying district court petition seeking mandamus and injunctive relief to compel respondent Tracey Green, in her capacity as the Chief Medical Officer for the State of Nevada, to comply with NRS 209.382(1)(b) by examining the nutritional adequacy of inmate diets and making the required semiannual reports to the Board regarding her findings. Stockmeier alleged that Green failed to comply with her statutory duties as to either of these requirements. In particular, he maintained that she had never examined the ingredients or nutritional properties of inmate diets and instead relied on the report of a dietician who merely reviewed a printed menu detailing what was being offered to inmates. Stockmeier further asserted that Green had failed to report to the Board regarding a finding from a Nevada Department of Corrections dietician that indicated that the diets served to inmates were high in sodium, cholesterol, and protein, which could lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

After the petition was filed, Stockmeier moved for summary judgment and Green submitted a response, addressing both the petition and the summary judgment motion, which asserted that she had regularly inspected inmate diets and had recently provided a written report of her findings to the Board. To support this contention, Green attached a cover letter addressed to the Acting Director of the Department of Corrections, which had purportedly been accompanied by her report to the Board. Although the letter indicated that Green had " no recommendations" for improving the inmate diets, a copy of the report was not provided to the district court. Nonetheless, the district court denied the petition, and Stockmeier, proceeding pro se, appealed that decision to this court.

On appeal, this court reversed the district court's denial of Stockmeier's petition. See Stockmeier v. Green, Docket No. 58067 (Order of Reversal and Remand, March 13, 2012). In so doing, this court noted that Green had failed to provide the district court with copies of any reports and that she had not submitted any other evidence to refute Stockmeier's assertion that she had failed to exercise the duties imposed by NRS 209.382(1)(b). As a result, this court concluded that the district court had abused its discretion in denying the petition and remanded the matter with instructions to " require [Green] to submit evidence, such as the reports that were purportedly attached to the [cover] letter" so as to allow the district court to address the merits of Stockmeier's petition. Stockmeier, Docket No. 58067, (Order of Reversal and Remand, March 13, 2012).

On remand, Green submitted the entire report that she had presented to the Board in 2011 and provided minutes from a December 5, 2011, Board meeting at which she had appeared and informed the Board that she had found no nutritional deficiencies in her inspection of inmate diets. The report that Green provided, however, focused mainly on issues regarding medical care and sanitation in Nevada's prisons, rather than the diets served to the inmate population. To the extent that inmate diets were discussed, the report indicated that a dietician had reviewed the regular and medical diets ...


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