United States District Court, D. Nevada
RICKIE L. HILL, Plaintiff,
C. ROWLEY, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE
the court is defendant Christian Rowley's
(“Rowley”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No.
104.) Plaintiff Rickie Hill (“Hill”) filled an
opposition and cross-motion for summary judgment, (ECF No.
110), and defendant replied, (ECF No. 111). Having thoroughly
reviewed the record, the court hereby recommends Rowley's
motion for summary judgment be denied.
PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of
Corrections (“NDOC”), and is incarcerated at Ely
State Prison (“ESP”) in Ely, Nevada. Pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and proceeding pro se,
plaintiff brings a civil rights action against ESP
Correctional Officer Christian Rowley (“Rowley”).
(ECF No. 5.) The parties have engaged in extensive pretrial
litigation. Currently, the only surviving claim in this case
is a claim for sexual harassment in violation of the Eight
Amendment. (See ECF No. 53).
claim arises from the following simple facts. According to
the complaint, Rowley “gripped [Hill's] ass”
while handcuffing him for transport to the nurse.
(Id. at 4.) Hill contends that Rowley's actions
constitute sexual harassment, “based on the fact that
plaintiff is a Gay-Black-Sex-Offender on NDOC charts.”
(Id. at 4-5.)
November 30, 2018, Rowley moved for summary judgment arguing
this case should be dismissed because he is entitled to
qualified immunity. (ECF No. 104). According to Rowley, there
is no “clearly established” law that establishes
“inadvertent touching” of an inmate while
handcuffing them constitutes “sexual abuse” in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Id. at 2, 6).
Hill opposed, (ECF No. 110), and Rowley replied. (ECF No.
111). After extensively reviewing the record and the above
filings, the court recommends Rowley's motion for summary
judgment be denied.
judgment allows the court to avoid unnecessary trials.
Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n v. U.S. Dep't of
Agric., 18 F.3d 1468, 1471 (9th Cir. 1994). The court
properly grants summary judgment when the record demonstrates
that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
330 (1986). “[T]he substantive law will identify which
facts are material. Only disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual
disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be
counted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” only
where a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party.
Id. Conclusory statements, speculative opinions,
pleading allegations, or other assertions uncorroborated by
facts are insufficient to establish a genuine dispute.
Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978,
984 (9th Cir. 2007); Nelson v. Pima Cmty. Coll., 83
F.3d 1075, 1081-82 (9th Cir. 1996). At this stage, the
court's role is to verify that reasonable minds could
differ when interpreting the record; the court does not weigh
the evidence or determine its truth. Schmidt v. Contra
Costa Cnty., 693 F.3d 1122, 1132 (9th Cir. 2012);
Nw. Motorcycle Ass'n, 18 F.3d at 1472.
judgment proceeds in burden-shifting steps. A moving party
who does not bear the burden of proof at trial “must
either produce evidence negating an essential element of the
nonmoving party's claim or defense or show that the
nonmoving party does not have enough evidence of an essential
element” to support its case. Nissan Fire &
Marine Ins. Co. v. Fritz Cos., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th
Cir. 2000). Ultimately, the moving party must demonstrate, on
the basis of authenticated evidence, that the record
forecloses the possibility of a reasonable jury finding in
favor of the nonmoving party as to disputed material facts.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Orr v. Bank of Am., NT
& SA, 285 F.3d 764, 773 (9th Cir. 2002). The court
views all evidence and any inferences arising therefrom in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Colwell
v. Bannister, 763 F.3d 1060, 1065 (9th Cir. 2014).
the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party to “designate specific facts
demonstrating the existence of genuine issues for
trial.” In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627
F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). “This
burden is not a light one, ” and requires the nonmoving
party to “show more than the mere existence of a
scintilla of evidence. . . . In fact, the non-moving party
must come forth with evidence from which a jury could
reasonably render a verdict in the non-moving party's
favor.” Id. (citations omitted). The nonmoving
party may defeat the summary judgment motion only by setting
forth specific facts that illustrate a genuine dispute
requiring a factfinder's resolution. Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248; Celotex, 477 U.S. at
324. Although the nonmoving party need not produce
authenticated evidence, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), mere assertions,
pleading allegations, and “metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts” will not defeat a properly-supported
and meritorious summary judgment motion, Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87
purposes of opposing summary judgment, the contentions
offered by a pro se litigant in motions and
pleadings are admissible to the extent that the contents are
based on personal knowledge and set forth facts that would be
admissible into evidence and the litigant attested under
penalty of perjury that they were true and correct. Jones
v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 923 (9th Cir. 2004).
Legal Standards for Civil Rights Claims under §
U.S.C. § 1983 aims “to deter state actors from
using the badge of their authority to deprive individuals of
their federally guaranteed rights.” Anderson v.
Warner, 451 F.3d 1063, 1067 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting
McDade v. West, 223 F.3d 1135, 1139 (9th Cir.
2000)). The statute “provides a federal cause of action
against any person who, acting under color of state law,
deprives another of his federal rights[, ]” Conn v.
Gabbert, 526 U.S. 286, 290 (1999), and therefore
“serves as the procedural device for enforcing
substantive provisions of the Constitution and federal
statutes, ” Crumpton v. Gates, 947 F.2d 1418,
1420 (9th Cir. 1991). Claims under § 1983 require a
plaintiff to allege (1) the violation of a
federally-protected right by (2) a person or official acting
under the color of state law. Warner, 451 F.3d at
1067. Further, to prevail on a § 1983 claim, the
plaintiff must establish each of the elements required to
prove an infringement of the underlying constitutional or
Legal Standards for ...