Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Espinosa v. Stogner

United States District Court, D. Nevada

October 17, 2017

BENJAMIN W. ESPINOSA, AMERICAN HUMANIST ASSOCIATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOSEPH STOGNER, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          WILLIAM G. COBB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This Report and Recommendation is made to the Honorable Robert C. Jones, Senior United States District Judge. The action was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and the Local Rules of Practice, LR 1B 1-4.

         Before the court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 29.) Plaintiffs filed a response (ECF No. 31), and Defendants filed a reply (ECF No. 34).

         After a thorough review, it is recommended that Defendants' motion be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Benjamin Espinosa is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), proceeding with this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Sec. Am. Compl. (SAC), ECF No. 37.) The events giving rise to this action took place while Plaintiff Espinosa was housed at Lovelock Correctional Center (LCC). (Id.) The other plaintiff to this action is the American Humanist Association (AHA), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with members nationwide that promotes Humanism and is dedicated to advancing and preserving separation of church and state and the rights of its members. (Id.) Defendants are NDOC Director James Dzurenda and Chaplain James Stogner. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he sincerely holds Humanist convictions, but that NDOC does not recognize Humanists as a faith group, and therefore, he is denied accommodations made to other faith groups, despite his requests. (Id.) The SAC asserts violations of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Id.) Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief as well as an award of nominal damages, and reasonable costs and fees. (Id.)

         Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that the AHA does not have standing. AHA concedes it is not asserting prudential or organizational standing, but maintains it has associational standing; therefore, the court's analysis will focus on whether the AHA may assert associational standing.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         "The purpose of summary judgment is to avoid unnecessary trials when there is no dispute as to the facts before the court." Northwest Motorcycle Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). In considering a motion for summary judgment, all reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the non-moving party. In re Slatkin, 525 F.3d 805, 810 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). "The court shall grant summary judgment 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). On the other hand, where reasonable minds could differ on the material facts at issue, summary judgment is not appropriate. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B).

         If a party relies on an affidavit or declaration to support or oppose a motion, it "must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.