Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cabrera-Asencio v. Young

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

January 19, 2018

CRISTIAN CABRERA-ASENCIO, Plaintiff,
v.
DARIN YOUNG Warden, DENNY KAEMINGK Secretary of Corrections, ELIZABETH VITETTA Coordinator D-Unit, AL ALLCOCK Associate Warden, JENIFER DRIESKE Dept Warden, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          ROBERTO A. LANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Cristian Cabrera-Asencio ("Cabrera-Asencio") filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. 1. This Court screened his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, dismissed it in part, and directed service. Doc. 9. Cabrera-Asencio and defendants moved for summary judgment, which the Court granted in part and denied in part. Doc. 39. The Court denied defendants' motion without prejudice to refiling a renewed motion as to Cabrera-Asencio's claim that they violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause by denying him employment. Id. Defendants then filed a second motion for summary judgment (Doc. 43) and Cabrera-Asencio responded (Doc. 48). Cabrera-Asencio also filed a motion for reconsideration, entry of default, discovery, and scheduling order (Doc. 40) and a motion for court appointed counsel (Doc. 42). For the following reasons, Cabrera-Asencio's motions are denied, and defendants' second motion for summary judgment is granted.

         I. Factual Background

         At the heart of the sole remaining claim in this lawsuit is whether the defendants violated Cabrera-Asencio's constitutional rights when they denied him further employment at the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP). Cabrera-Asencio has held paying jobs at the SDSP. Doc. 47 at 1. But on two separate occasions, November 5, 2014 and January 1, 2015, he lost those paying job when he was disciplined. Id. at 1-2. At the SDSP, jobs are rewards for good behavior and major disciplinary actions move inmates to the bottom of the job waitlist. Doc. 45 at 1.

         Defendant Elizabeth Vitetta held the position of Correctional Officer at the SDSP and was the Unit D Coordinator from December 8, 2015 to July 29, 2016. Id. As Unit D Coordinator, Vitetta was involved in hiring inmates from the waitlist for available jobs. Id. One of the possible jobs was working in the kitchen for an entity called CBM. Id. Normally, CBM would email when it needed inmates for a certain shift. Id. at 2. Vitetta would then review the waitlist of inmates to see who was eligible for a job. Id. Vitetta had access to inmate files and records regarding inmate work history. Id. at 1. Inmates could be restricted from holding jobs because they are federal inmates, have medical restrictions, or lack a valid or verifiable SSN. Id.

         In March 2016, CBM attempted to hire Cabrera-Asencio directly. Vitetta intervened. Doc. 47. Vitetta "informed CBM that Cabrera-Ascencio 1) had not been cleared by the Unit Coordinator for the position, 2) was at the bottom of the jobs list because of major disciplinary action, 3) had not been cleared through Health Services, 4) having checked his Social Security number, it had not been verified and therefore he was ineligible for that position, and 5) he was not trained to work in the kitchen." Id.

         Cabrera-Ascencio claims that the SDSP has a policy that prohibits undocumented inmates from working. Doc. 9 at 5. Defendants aver that the South Dakota Department of Corrections (SDDOC) does not have a policy prohibiting undocumented inmates from working at the penitentiary. Doc. 47 ¶17. SDDOC does, however, have Policy 1.1.A.7 that requires all inmates to have a verified SSN prior to being paid wages. Id. ¶ 16. The policy states that SDDOC is required to submit a report to the IRS containing the names and SSNs of all inmates who earn wages. Doc. 25-1 at 16.

         Defendants claim that in 2016 Vitetta discovered that the SSN Cabrera-Asencio provided SDDOC did not match what was on file with the IRS. Doc. 45 at 2. Defendants maintain that Cabrera-Asencio has not provided the SDDOC a valid SSN. Cabrera-Asencio claims that he has never had a SSN and has never provided defendants one. Doc 37 ¶ 15. It is uncontested that Cabrera-Asencio does not have a SSN. Doc. 37 ¶ 15.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant "shows 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). The moving party can meet this burden by presenting evidence that there is no dispute of material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has not presented evidence to support an element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23(1986).

         "A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest on mere allegations or denials, but must set forth specific facts in the record showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Denn v. CSL Plasma, Inc., 816 F.3d 1027, 1032 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986)). For purposes of summary judgment, the facts, and inferences drawn from those facts, are "viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)).

         III. Discussion

         The sole remaining issue in this lawsuit is whether the defendants violated Cabrera-Asencio's constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause by denying him employment. In its screening order, this Court stated that the policy of not paying undocumented immigrant prisoners will be upheld if defendants show a rational basis for the policy. See Doc. 9 at 5. Defendants now argue that they are entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity, because there is a rational basis for the policy requiring a valid SSN and that the policy was applied to Cabrera-Asencio. Doc. 44 at 7.

         Cabrera-Asencio maintains that he was not allowed to work because he is an undocumented immigrant. Doc. 9 at 5.. This Court held in its opinion and order on cross motions for summary judgment that defendants provided a rational basis for this policy: complying with federal law by reporting income and withholdings for Social Security. Doc. 39 at 7. Defendants need only show that this policy was applied to Cabrera-Asencio. Id. at 8. Previously, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.