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Oakley v. Raemisch

United States District Court, D. Colorado

August 8, 2017

JACOB DANIEL OAKLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
RICK RAEMISCH, Executive Director Individual and Official Capacities, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          CHRISTINE M. ARGUELLO United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on two motions for summary judgment - one filed by Plaintiff Jacob Daniel Oakley, an inmate of the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC), and the other filed by Defendant Rick Raemisch, Executive Director of the CDOC. (Doc. ## 87, 89.) For the following reasons, the Court grants summary judgment in Defendant's favor.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case concerns the CDOC's handling of Plaintiff's inmate bank account. The following facts are undisputed.

         Inmate bank accounts are handled in accordance with CDOC Administrative Regulations 200-02 and 200-15. (Doc. # 89, p. 3-4; Doc. # 87, p. 4.) If an inmate's bank account has a negative balance, fifty percent of each deposit is applied toward that deficit. (Id.) In addition, automatic garnishments are applied to each deposit in the event that an inmate owes restitution, child support, medical expenses, court costs, or payments due to a conviction under the Code of Penal Discipline (COPD). (Id.)

         During the applicable timeframe, Plaintiff had a negative bank account balance. (Doc. # 89, p. 5; Doc. # 94, p. 3.) Thus any deposits he made were subject to a fifty percent automatic reduction. (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff's deposits were subject to a twenty percent withholding for court-ordered costs and another twenty percent for court filing fees. (Id.)

         Between May and June 2014, Plaintiff filed three administrative grievances, each one alleging that his bank account was being handled differently from the bank accounts of other inmates and essentially requesting an abeyance. (Doc. # 87-3, p. 7- 10.) Plaintiff specifically mentioned differential treatment being applied to inmates Thomas Baskerville, Justin Frederickson and Tyler Morland. (Id.) The CDOC's response to each grievance was the substantially the same:

• Plaintiff's inmate account is being managed appropriately and correctly per AR 200-12, AR 100-15, and Colorado Revised Statutes;
• the ARs apply equally to all inmate accounts, with no exceptions; and
• any reference to the specifics of another inmate's account is irrelevant and private and will not be addressed. (Id.)

         In September 2014, the CDOC granted an inmate at Fremont Correctional Facility, Inmate Doe, [1] an abeyance, or temporary suspension, from inmate banking regulations.[2] According to a letter written by the Fremont Warden, the CDOC granted the abeyance in response Inmate Doe's efforts to modify his previously-disruptive behavior and to “demonstrate to [Inmate Doe] that positive behavior will produce positive results.” (Doc. # 87-3, p. 43.)

         Plaintiff initiated this suit in November 2014. (Doc. # 1.) As pertinent here, Plaintiff brings a class-of-one equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendant violated his right to equal protection of the laws with respect to the handling of his inmate bank account as compared to the handling of Inmate Doe's bank account. In addition to denying that he violated Plaintiff's right to equal protection, Defendant contends that Plaintiff failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies or adequately plead his claim with respect to Inmate Doe.

         Each party contends that summary judgment is warranted in his favor.

         II. EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES

         Defendant first argues that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his argument ...


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