United States District Court, D. Nevada
RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 46). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is
granted in part and denied in part.
Laustevion Johnson filed this pro se civil rights action on
January 10, 2014, alleging three causes of action against the
Director of the Nevada Department of Corrections
(“NDOC”); James Cox, the Warden of Ely State
Prison (“ESP”); Renee Baker; two Correctional
Officers at Ely State Prison, Nwoko and D. Shorter; one
Senior Officer at Ely State Prison, R. Little; the Ely State
Prison Law Library Supervisor, N. Young; and the Ely State
Prison Kitchen Supervisor, L. Lopez. All Defendants were sued
in both their official and individual capacities.
Johnson's claims are for violations of the First
Amendment right to Access to the Courts, the First Amendment
right to Free Exercise of Religion, and the Fourteenth
Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. These causes of
action are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
filed this Motion for Summary Judgment on October 21, 2015.
(ECF No. 46). Johnson filed his response on November 4, 2015.
(ECF No. 49). Defendants filed a Reply on November 18, 2015.
(ECF No. 51). The Court held a hearing on this Motion for
Summary Judgment on September 28, 2016. (ECF No. 59).
Motion for Summary Judgment
judgment is appropriate 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 judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); accord Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). When considering the propriety of summary
judgment, the court views all facts and draws all inferences
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Gonzalez v. City of Anaheim, 747 F.3d 789, 793 (9th
Cir. 2014). If the movant has carried its burden, the
non-moving party “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . .
. . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no genuine issue for trial.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007) (alteration in
original) (internal quotation marks omitted).
UNDISPUTED AND DISPUTED FACTS
Court incorporates its discussion of the undisputed and
disputed facts from its hearing on September 28, 2016, and
elaborates these facts below.
Court finds the following general facts to be undisputed.
Plaintiff is a prisoner in lawful custody of the NDOC, and on
February 1, 2012, was transferred to ESP from High Desert
State Prison, and was a prisoner at ESP at all times relevant
to these claims.
First Amendment Access to the Courts Claim Against Defendants
Young, Baker, and Cox
Court finds the following facts related to Johnson's
First Amendment Access to the Courts claim to be undisputed.
On May 17, 2013, Johnson filed a petition for a writ of
habeas corpus in the Eighth Judicial District Court seeking
reversal of the Nevada State Parole Board's denial of his
parole. (ECF No. 46-4). This petition was denied on June 17,
2013. (ECF No. 46-5). Johnson appealed the denial to the
Nevada Supreme Court. (ECF No. 46-6). The Nevada Supreme
Court affirmed the denial of his habeas petition on July 16,
2013, saying that Nevada state law precludes challenging
denial of parole. (ECF No. 46-7).
had no physical access to the law library or to law clerks or
jailhouse lawyers while at ESP. Johnson was able to check out
materials from the ESP law library. (ECF No. 46-2). The
process for checking out materials from the ESP law library
is for prisoners to submit written requests for materials to
officers, who deliver the requests to the library. The
library then issues the materials to the corrections
officers, who bring them to the prisoners' cells. The
return process is similar: prisoners give the materials to
the officers, who then return them to the library. (ECF No.
8). Johnson requested materials before filing his habeas
claim, and received some materials. (ECF No. 46-2). Johnson
requested Federal Reporters, various other federal materials,
and treatises on habeas corpus, and was not provided with the
actual volumes requested or sections of the volumes. When
Johnson filed grievances complaining of the library's
lack of materials, he was told that the materials he
requested were available electronically on LexisNexis.
parties dispute whether Johnson requested materials that
weren't provided, what LexisNexis searches (if any) he
requested, and whether he was provided with information
requested related to these searches. The parties dispute to
what extent Johnson was provided specific caselaw materials.
. . . . . .
First Amendment Free Exercise Claim Against Defendants Baker,
Cox, Nwoko, Shorter, Little, and Lopez
Court finds the following facts related to Johnson's Free
Exercise claim to be undisputed. Johnson is Muslim, and his
belief in the necessity of the Ramadan fast is sincerely held
and religious in nature. (ECF No. 49-5). Johnson was
scheduled to receive meals at special times during the
Ramadan fast in 2013. (ECF No. 46). Ramadan in 2013 began the
morning of July 9, and Johnson began receiving meals at
special times ...