United States District Court, D. Nevada
TODD M. HONEYCUTT, Plaintiff,
ISIDRO BACA, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE
case involves a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Todd
M. Honeycutt (“Honeycutt”) against Defendants
Isidro Baca, Laurie Hoover, Michelle Hicks-Moses, Shannon
Moyle, Jorja Powers, Holly Skulstad, David Tristan, and Brian
Ward (collectively referred to as
“Defendants”). Currently pending before the court is
Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 42,
44, 52.) Honeycutt opposed the motion (ECF No. 47),
and Defendants replied (ECF No. 51). For the reasons stated
below, the court recommends that Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 42) be granted.
BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of
Corrections (“NDOC”) and is currently housed at
the Northern Nevada Correctional Center (“NNCC”).
(ECF No. 4.) Proceeding pro se, Honeycutt filed the
instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging a procedural due process claim against Defendants.
to Honeycutt's Complaint (ECF No. 4), the alleged events
giving rise to his claims are as follows: In February 2016,
Dr. Laurie Hoover (“Dr. Hoover”) submitted a
false risk assessment (also known as a
“Static-99R”) to the Nevada parole board.
(Id. at 5.) Dr. Hoover falsely scored Honeycutt at a
“5” which automatically mandated a denial of
parole. (Id.) The parole board denied Honeycutt
parole for that reason. (Id.) Honeycutt learned of
the “5” risk assessment score at that parole
hearing. (Id.) An NDOC caseworker, Jorja Powers
(“Powers”), was present for the parole hearing
and believed that the score of “5” was incorrect.
(Id.) Powers had psychologist Steve Daniels
(“Daniels”) conduct a new risk assessment.
(Id.) Daniels scored Honeycutt with a
“2” and informed Powers. (Id. at 5-6.)
spoke to Honeycutt's parole attorney, Ryan Norward, about
the “2” score. (Id. at 6.) Norward
notified the parole board. (Id.) The parole board
wrote a letter to both Honeycutt and Powers and responded
that, pursuant to NRS § 213.1214, Powers/NDOC had to
contact the parole board. (Id.) Powers informed her
boss, Shannon Moyle (“Moyle”), about the
situation. (Id.) Moyle instructed Powers not to
contact the parole board and to not help Honeycutt any
further. (Id.) NRS § 213.1214 provides that the
NDOC must fix the risk assessment if it is inaccurate.
contacted Robert Scholfield, Nathaniel Woods, and Brian Ward
(“Ward”) for help, but they all turned a
“blind eye” to the issue. (Id.) Isidro
Baca (“Baca”), Michelle Hicks-Moses
(“Moses”), David Tristan (“Tristan”),
and Holly Skulstad (“Skulstad”), answered
Honeycutt's grievances, but failed to correct the
violation. (Id.) Honeycutt seeks (1) injunctive
relief “sanction[ing] defendants in compliance to state
& federal law, ” (2) compensatory damages in the
amount of “$300.00 a day from [the] violation, ”
and (3) punitive damages in the amount of “300.00 a day
from [the] violation.” (Id. at 13.)
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the District Court entered a
screening order, allowing Honeycutt to proceed with a claim
for procedural due process violations. (ECF No. 3.) On
screening, the District Court specifically found that
Plaintiff seeks to have the correct risk assessment
evaluation used and is not seeking to invalidate his
confinement or its duration, thus Honeycutt had properly
raised the procedural due process claim in a § 1983
action. (Id. at 4-5.) On April 1, 2019, Defendants
filed their motion for summary judgment asserting that they
are entitled to summary judgment because the assessment was
accurate, and thus Honeycutt's procedural due process
claims were not violated because there was not an inaccurate
assessment for the Defendants to correct. (ECF Nos. 42, 52).
Honeycutt opposed (ECF No. 47), and Defendants replied (ECF
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).
Civil Rights Claims under ...