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Harden v. Nevada Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 12, 2017

HAROLD D. HARDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.W. Hoffman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge.

         Presently before the court is pro se Plaintiff Harold D. Harden's motion for order to show cause (ECF No. 26), filed on October 20, 2016. Defendant Venus Fajota filed a response (ECF No. 27) on November 3, 2016. Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 29) on November 7, 2016. Plaintiff filed a supplemental reply (ECF No. 31) on November 16, 2016.

         Also before the court is Plaintiff's objection regarding acceptance of service (ECF No. 30), filed on November 21, 2016. Defendant did not file a response.

         Also before the court are Plaintiff's motions for a scheduling order (ECF Nos. 32, 41), filed on November 28, 2016, and February 21, 2017, respectively. Defendant did not file responses.

         Also before the court is Plaintiff's objection and reply to Defendant's answer (ECF No. 34), filed on January 12, 2017. Defendant filed a countermotion to strike (ECF No. 36) on January 25, 2017. Plaintiff filed a response (ECF Nos. 37, 39) on February 3 and February 8, 2017, respectively. Defendant did not file a reply.

         Also before the court is Plaintiff's motion for a contempt order (ECF No. 35), filed on January 23, 2017. Defendant filed a response (ECF No. 38) on February 7, 2017. Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 40) on February 13, 2017.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The parties are familiar with the facts of this case, and the court will repeat them here only as necessary. This civil-rights action arises out of a dispute regarding the Nevada Department of Corrections' accounting staff's handling of funds in Plaintiff's inmate account. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges accounting staff stole the $20.00 monthly gift from Plaintiff's disabled mother because they repeatedly withdrew this money for a disciplinary sanction and medical fees although those fees already had been paid. (Am. Compl. (ECF No. 17) at 4.) Plaintiff further alleges that money for legal fire boxes and telephone time was improperly deducted from his account. (Id.) After screening, the only remaining claim is Plaintiff's due process claim against Defendant Venus Fajota. (Screening Order (ECF No. 20) at 6.)

         The parties participated in an Inmate Early Mediation conference with a court-appointed mediator but were unable to reach a settlement. (Mins. of Proceedings (ECF No. 23).) Following the mediation, the court ordered the Attorney General's Office to advise the court and Plaintiff of the names of the defendants for whom it would accept service. (Order (ECF No. 25).) The Attorney General's Office subsequently filed a notice stating it accepted service for Defendant Fajota. (Notice of Acceptance of Service (ECF No. 28).) Plaintiff now files various motions seeking contempt sanctions related to the mediation, Rule 11 sanctions, and assistance with other issues. Defendant moves to strike one of Plaintiff's motions.

         II. MOTION FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE (ECF No. 26)

         Plaintiff requests that the court impose contempt sanctions on all other parties who participated in the mediation, arguing that the defense representatives who attended did not have full settlement authority and were not authorized to hear the sensitive issues discussed at the mediation. Plaintiff argues this put him at a disadvantage during the mediation and was in violation of the court's order setting the mediation. In addition to contempt sanctions, Plaintiff requests that the mediation be rescheduled, that the deputy attorney general assigned to this case be removed, and that he be awarded attorney's fees and costs related to the mediation.

         Defendant responds that all necessary and proper people attended the mediation, including an individual with full monetary settlement authority. Specifically, Defendant represents that the mediation was attended by Theresa M. Haar, Defendant's attorney; Warden Gentry and Associate Warden Howell as representatives on behalf of the Nevada Department of Corrections; and Ann McDermott, on behalf of Nancy Katafias, the State Tort Claims Manager with monetary settlement authority. (Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for OSC (ECF No. 27) at 2.)

         Plaintiff replies that Defendant's opposition should be stricken because it does not contain legal argument or authority. He further replies that Warden Gentry did not attend, that Jeff Miller attended, and that Ann McDermott stated that she was a representative of the insurance company but that she was not authorized to make decisions about the case. Finally, he replies that the mediator stated that Defendant's representatives were not authorized to provide Plaintiff's settlement terms.

         The court's order setting the mediation required the following individuals to attend the mediation on behalf of Defendant: Defendant's attorney, a representative for the Nevada Department of Corrections, and a representative with full monetary settlement authority. (Order (ECF No. 22) at 2.) The parties were advised that the court may impose sanctions if a necessary party or representative failed to attend the mediation. (Id.) Additionally, the parties were advised that the court ...


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