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Farvela v. Barth

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 18, 2018

SAUL FARVELA, Plaintiff,
JAY BARTH, et al., Defendants.




         Before the Court is the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 27). For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.


         The Plaintiff filed an Application to Proceed in Forma Pauperis on April 11, 2016. ECF No. 1. Judge Leen issued a screening order on November 1, 2016, which allowed the Complaint to proceed on the following claims only: Count I against Barth for denial of access to the grievance process, retaliation, and due process-property claims; Count I against Groover for the due process-disciplinary segregation claim; and Count II against Nash, Howell, and Stroud for the supervisory liability claim only. The screening order gave the Plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint. ECF No. 7. On December 14, 2016, Judge Leen entered an order noting that as the Plaintiff had not filed an amended complaint, the case would proceed on only those claims previously identified. ECF No. 10. An inmate mediation conference was held on February 24, 2017, and a settlement was not reached. ECF No. 13. Defendants filed an Answer on May 16, 2017. ECF No. 18. Plaintiff filed a Response to the Answer on June 6, 2017. ECF No. 20. Attorney Travis N. Barrick appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff on September 13, 2017. ECF No. 21. Plaintiff filed a Suggestion of Death as to Defendant Stroud on September 13, 2017. ECF No. 22. Judge Leen entered a scheduling order on September 21, 2017. ECF No. 23. Discovery was due by January 4, 2018 and Motions were due by February 5, 2018. Id. Defendants filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on February 5, 2018. ECF No. 27. Plaintiff responded on March 5, 2018. ECF No. 30. Defendants replied on March 19, 2018. ECF No. 31.


         A. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary 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).


         Based on the record, the Court finds that the following facts to be undisputed.

         Plaintiff Saul Farvela was an inmate at HDSP housed in 1B41, a segregation unit. He was classified as a member of the Sureno gang by NDOC's Correction Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T). On September 30, 2015, Defendant Barth conducted a random cell search of Farvela's cell. Barth confiscated legal books that were the property of other inmates. Farvela did not have a written letter authorizing that he was being assisted by another inmate in a legal matter. As a result of Farvela's cell search, Farvela was issued and served with a notice of charges related to gang activities, unauthorized trading/bartering, unauthorized use of equipment or mail, and possession of a tattoo device. On November 1, 2015, a disciplinary hearing was conducted by Defendant Groover. Farvela was found guilty of gang activities, misuse of the prison mail system, and possession of another inmate's MP3 player without authorization. Farvela was sanctioned with 540 days of disciplinary segregation and forfeiture of 180 days of his good time credits. Defendant Nash denied the Plaintiff's second-level grievance regarding the false charges filed by Defendant Barth and lack of evidence at his disciplinary hearing.


         The parties dispute the following material facts.

         Whether Defendant Barth recovered other contraband from the cell search, including: one homemade tattoo needle, one MP3 player belonging to inmate John Groccia, one white cardboard, and letters indicating Sureno Gang activity. Whether Defendant Bath refused to give the Plaintiff a grievance form and fabricated charges against him in retaliation for requesting a form. Whether contraband that was confiscated from Farvela's cell was presented as evidence at the November 1, 2015 disciplinary hearing. Whether Farvela made inculpatory interview statements that were introduced in the ...

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