United States District Court, D. Nevada
before the court is a motion for summary judgment filed by
defendants Minor Adams, J. Calderon, James Cox, Francis
Dreesen, Sheryl Foster, Jo Gentry, Brian Henley, Wes Mattice,
Jennifer Nash, Dwight Nevins, Greg Smith, Richard Snyder,
James Stogner, Brian Williams, Jason Yelle, and Johnny
Youngblood. (ECF No. 70). Plaintiff Randy Johnson has not
filed a response, and the period to do so has since passed.
is an inmate currently in the custody of the Nevada
Department of Corrections (“NDOC”). Plaintiff
alleges that he is a declared member of Islam. (ECF No. 5 at
6). Plaintiff's complaint alleges numerous civil rights
claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against multiple
defendants for events that took place while plaintiff was
incarcerated at the Southern Desert Correctional Center, Warm
Springs Correctional Center, and High Desert State Prison.
(ECF No. 5).
December 1, 2014, the court screened plaintiff's amended
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and determined
that the following claims were sufficiently pleaded to
proceed: (I) free exercise clause and equal protection clause
violations against Snyder and Smith; (II) & (III)
retaliation against Henley and Smith; (IV) free exercise
clause and equal protection violations against Cox, Smith,
Mattic, Williams, Nevens, Nash, Dreesen, Gentry, Stogner,
Snyder, Calderon, and Youngblood; (V) free exercise clause
violations against Cox, Williams, Nevens, Gentry, Nash,
Smith, Mattic, Snyder, Calderon, Stogner, Adams, Baca, Donae,
and Youngblood; (VI) retaliation and free exercise clause
violations against Snyder and Smith; (VII) free exercise
clause and equal protection violations against Nevens, Nash,
and Calderon; (VIII) retaliation and free exercise clause
violations against Smith, Mattice, and Snyder; (IX)
retaliation, free exercise clause, and Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (“RLUIPA”)
violations against Yelle, Williams, Gentry, Adams, and
Foster; and (X) retaliation, free exercise clause and RLUIPA
violations against Snyder, Mattice, and Smith. (ECF No.
instant motion, defendants move for summary judgment in their
favor, arguing that plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies and cannot establish a genuine issue
of material fact as to his alleged claims. (ECF No. 70).
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow summary judgment when
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose
of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of
factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).
purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should
be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v.
Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990).
However, to be entitled to a denial of summary judgment, the
nonmoving party must “set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
determining summary judgment, a court applies a
burden-shifting analysis. The moving party must first satisfy
its initial burden. “When the party moving for summary
judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must
come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a
directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at
trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial
burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact
on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp.
Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480
(9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).
contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of
proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its
burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an
essential element of the non-moving party's case; or (2)
by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a
showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that
party's case on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
323-24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden,
summary judgment must be denied and the court need not
consider the nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes
v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159- 60 (1970).
moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine
issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
(1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the
opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact
conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the
claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge
to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth
at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec.
Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir.
other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary
judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are
unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880
F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must
go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and
set forth specific facts by producing competent evidence that
shows a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex, 477
U.S. at 324.
summary judgment, a court's function is not to weigh the
evidence and determine the truth, but to determine whether
there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).
The evidence of the nonmovant is “to be believed, and
all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Id. at 255. But if the evidence of the
nonmoving party is merely colorable or is not significantly
probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id.
to Local Rule 7-2(d), an opposing party's failure to file
a timely response to any motion constitutes the party's
consent to the granting of the motion and is proper grounds
for dismissal. LR 7-2(d). A court cannot, however, grant a
summary judgment motion merely because it is unopposed, even
where its local rules might permit it. Henry v. Gill
Indus., Inc., 983 F.2d 943, 949-50 (9th Cir. 1993);
see also Martinez v. Stanford, 323 F.3d 1178, 1182
(9th Cir. 2003) (a ...