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Dale v. Dooley

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

January 15, 2015

JAMES I. DALE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT DOOLEY, JENNIFER WAGNER, GEORGE DEGLMAN, UNKNOWN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS STAFF, CBM CORRECTIONAL FOOD SERVICES, UNKNOWN CBM EMPLOYEES, TAMMY DEJONG, KIM LIPINCOTT, JENNIFER BEMBOOM, Defendants.

ORDER ON MOTIONS (DOCKET # 34 AND 57)

VERONICA L. DUFFY, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, James Irving Dale ("Dale") has filed a motion for independent medical expert (Docket 34) and motion for stay pending the completion of discovery or in the alternative, motion for extension of time (Docket 57).

BACKGROUND

Dale filed a civil lawsuit alleging: (1) the defendants violated his constitutional rights and that he is entitled to injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Religious Land Use Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a). See generally, Amended Complaint, Docket 21, and Affidavit of James Dale, Docket 21-1. On June 5, 2014, Judge Piersol ordered Dale's Amended Complaint and accompanying Affidavit to be served upon the defendants. Docket 20.

Thereafter, the defendants moved to stay discovery pending a decision on their request for summary judgment pursuant to qualified immunity. Docket 28. Judge Piersol granted the request for a stay of discovery. Docket 38. In the meantime, Dale requested the appointment of an independent medical expert (Docket 34). The purpose of Dale's request was to "assist [him] and this court, in determining whether the alleged kosher diet that the defendants feed the plaintiff is nutritionally adequate to sustain the plaintiff in good health and to determine if said diet is the reason why the plaintiff is suffering from so many low blood sugar levels and other medical problems." Id . In his Order granting the stay of discovery, Judge Piersol explained that Dale's motion for the appointment of an independent medical expert would be addressed "after the issue of qualified immunity has been resolved." See, Docket 38.

The defendants have now filed their motion for summary judgment, alleging they are entitled to qualified immunity because, as to each of Dale's claims, Dale has failed to show the defendants violated Dale's constitutional or statutory rights. In his motion for stay pending the completion of discovery or in the alternative, motion for extension of time (Docket 57) Dale asserts that although the defendants' qualified immunity summary judgment brief was due on December 12, he did not receive it until December 22, 2014. See, Dale's supporting affidavit, Docket 58, at p. 2, ¶ 6.[1]

Dale also asserts the defendants' brief went beyond the parameters of Judge Piersol's August 25, 2014 and November 5, 2014 Orders which limited defendants' summary judgment motion and supporting brief to the issue of their entitlement to qualified immunity. Dale claims that because the defendants' brief addressed the merits of all his underlying claims, Judge Piersol's stay of discovery should be lifted before Dale is required to submit his response to the defendants' brief. Id. at p. 2, ¶ 1-4.

DISCUSSION

A. Motion for Stay Pending Discovery or in the Alternative, For Extension of Time

In his motion (Docket 57) Dale asks the Court for a stay pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56(f) and an Order requiring defendants to provide him with discovery to allow him to properly respond to the summary judgment motion. In his accompanying affidavit, Dale explains he needs discovery to respond to the defendants' claims: (1) that Dale's diet is nutritionally adequate and sustains him in good health; (2) that Dale has requested to be taken off his Kosher diet on several occasions; and (3) that the Kosher meals Dale receives are in fact Kosher and prepared according to Kosher law. In the alternative, Dale requests an extension of time until February 23, 2015 to file his response to the defendants' summary judgment motion. See, Docket 57 at p. 2.

The defendants filed a response to Dale's motion (Docket 60). They oppose the motion for a stay of discovery pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 56(f)[2] but do not oppose Dale's request for an extension of time to respond. Id.

The court has reviewed the defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket 50), memorandum in support (Docket 51), and statement of material facts (Docket 52). The motion requests summary judgment as a matter of law on the grounds of qualified immunity "and as to all claims raised by Plaintiff." Id. at p. 2.

"Qualified immunity shields government officials from civil liability where their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." McVay v. Sisters of Mercy Health System, 399 F.3d 904, 907 (8th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). As such, qualified immunity entitles the defendants to avoid trial and the other burdens of litigation. Id . "Evaluating a claim of qualified immunity requires a two-step inquiry: (1) whether the facts shown by the plaintiff make out a violation of a constitutional or statutory right, and (2) whether that right was clearly established at the time of the defendant's alleged misconduct. The defendants are entitled to qualified immunity unless the answer to both of these questions is yes." Burton v. St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners, 731 F.3d 784, 791 (8th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted). In Burton, the Eighth Circuit found there was no constitutional or statutory violation at the first step of the qualified immunity inquiry, and affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the plaintiff's entire complaint. Id. at 799.

The party claiming qualified immunity "always has the burden to establish the relevant predicate facts, and at the summary judgment stage, the nonmoving party is given the benefit of all reasonable inferences." Id. at 791. If the facts taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiff do not establish a constitutional or statutory violation, the qualified immunity inquiry ends and summary judgment is appropriate, because there is no constitutional violation for which the government official would need qualified immunity. Lytle v. Bexar County, Texas, 560 F.3d 404, 410 (5th Cir. 2009)(citing, Saucier v. ...


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