Anderson v. Spalding, No. 26648.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtSCHROEDER, Justice.
Citation50 P.3d 1004,137 Idaho 509
Decision Date02 July 2002
Docket NumberNo. 26648.
PartiesRick ANDERSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. James C. SPALDING, Defendant-Respondent.

50 P.3d 1004
137 Idaho 509

Rick ANDERSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
James C. SPALDING, Defendant-Respondent

No. 26648.

Supreme Court of Idaho, Boise, December 2001 Term.

July 2, 2002.


50 P.3d 1006
Jim Jones & Associates, Boise, for appellant. Jim Jones argued

Hon. Alan G. Lance, Attorney General, and Hall, Farley, Oberrecht & Blanton, P.A., Boise, for respondent. Candy W. Dale argued.

SCHROEDER, Justice.

Richard Anderson (Anderson) brought a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a state-law defamation claim against James Spalding (Spalding), Director of IDOC. The claim related to Spalding's decision to terminate Anderson from employment with the Idaho Department of Correction. The district court granted Spalding's motion for summary judgment. Anderson appealed.

I.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In 1994 Anderson was a classified employee of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), holding the position of manager of the Receiving and Diagnostic Unit (RDU). The RDU evaluated and classified inmates entering the state correctional system to determine the appropriate placement and security needs. The RDU was part of the Idaho Maximum Security Institution (IMSI), and Anderson reported to its warden, Arvin Arave.

In June, 1994, a female inmate housed at the RDU reported to Correctional Officer Weeks (Weeks) that Officer Pribble (Pribble) had sexually assaulted her. Weeks's supervisor, Sergeant Smith (Smith), was on vacation, so she reported the inmate's allegations to Anderson. Shortly thereafter, Anderson convened a meeting with the inmate, Pribble, Weeks, and Smith to investigate the allegation. Pribble denied the inmate's allegation. When the inmate was asked about the allegations, she began to cry, apologized to Pribble, and stated that "it wouldn't happen again." Anderson, Weeks, and Smith all concluded that the inmate's allegation had not been true. Smith entered a notation in Pribble's tracking file about the matter, but no further action was taken on the accusation by Anderson or anyone else.

At approximately the same time that the RDU inmate came forward with her allegations, two inmates at the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center (PWCC) filed written complaints alleging that Pribble had sexually molested female inmates at the RDU. The warden of PWCC, Bona Miller, did not act upon the complaints or report them to her superiors. Warden Miller did mention the complaints to Warden Arave and other prison officials at a meeting approximately one month later. In the intervening period another inmate was molested by Pribble. In August 1994, the RDU inmate who had originally accused Pribble filed a written report reiterating the allegations that she had made in June. Shortly thereafter, Pribble was criminally charged for having sexual contact

50 P.3d 1007
with female inmates. He eventually pled guilty to these felony charges

When the accusations against Pribble came to his attention in August, Spalding ordered an investigation. The investigation resulted in a number of recommendations regarding operations at IMSI and RDU, but did not address personnel issues. At some point during or after this internal investigation, IDOC management collected all documents concerning the Pribble matter, including Pribble's tracking file and the investigation file. The documents were then destroyed on the advice of an attorney working for IDOC and with the approval of Director Spalding. Before turning over the documents under his control, Anderson made copies, which he took home. Sergeant Smith also gave Anderson a copy of Pribble's tracking file at some point before giving that file to IDOC management. Anderson took this file to his home as well.

One year later, the Governor requested a formal investigation of the Pribble matter and its handling by IDOC. The Idaho Department of Law Enforcement (IDLE) conducted the investigation, which took five months and included interviews of more than 240 people. Anderson met with IDLE investigators on three separate occasions. He directed his secretary to provide copies of all documents relevant to the Pribble matter that RDU had retained, including duplicates of the documents kept at Anderson's home. Anderson did not turn over to investigators the tracking file that he had received from Sergeant Smith. Anderson later testified that he forgot that Smith had given him the document. Shortly after the beginning of the IDLE investigation, the position of RDU manager was abolished, and Anderson took a voluntary demotion to a human services supervisor position in lieu of a layoff.

According to IDLE personnel, the primary obstacle to its investigation was the fact that many of the relevant documents had been destroyed. The IDLE investigative report was completed in January, 1996. It identified for possible criminal prosecution one IDOC employee, the Administrator of Prisons, who had destroyed the IDOC records. After receiving the IDLE report, the Governor asked Director Spalding for an explanation of the remedial steps that IDOC had taken and suggested that the Board of Correction consider actions against personnel who did not act appropriately during the matter. Thereafter, Director Spalding accepted Warden Arave's retirement, reassigned the Administrator of Prisons from that post to Warden of IMSI (the position that was vacated by Arave), and gave Warden Bona Miller a written reprimand and two weeks' leave without pay. Director Spalding also instituted further investigation of Anderson's and Sergeant Smith's roles in the Pribble matter.

During this further investigation, Anderson turned over a number of documents that he had been keeping at his home. These were a duplicate set of the documents that Anderson had previously directed his secretary to give to the IDLE investigators. He also submitted to a polygraph examination. During the pretest interview, Anderson revealed that on the previous evening he had discovered at his home the documents that Sergeant Smith had given him from Pribble's tracking file. These documents were then turned over to the polygraph examiner. The results of the polygraph examination were inconclusive.

In July of 1996 Director Spalding gave Anderson notice of contemplated disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal. The notice referred to the director's concerns about Anderson's integrity and judgment, the inconclusive results of his polygraph exam, his failure to turn over documents to IDLE investigators, inconsistencies in his statements to the IDLE investigators, his handling of the RDU inmate's complaint about Pribble, and his failure to report the inmate's complaint to Warden Arave. Anderson responded to the notice through his attorney, but in August he received a memorandum from the Director dismissing him. The Director again cited inconsistencies in Anderson's statements to investigators and his failure to turn over documents in his possession as evidence that he failed to cooperate with the investigations of the Pribble matter. He also referred to Anderson's failure to report the RDU inmate's

50 P.3d 1008
complaint to Anderson's supervisor as evidence of his lack of good judgment. Spalding found that Anderson's acts and omissions violated several IDOC policies. He stated that these violations warranted Anderson's termination under Idaho Personnel Commission rules, IDAPA 28.01.01.190.01.a (failure to perform the duties and carry out the obligations imposed by the state constitution, state statutes, or rules of the Department or the Personnel Commission) and 28.01.01.190.01.3 (insubordination or conduct unbecoming a state employee or conduct detrimental to good order and discipline in the Department)

Anderson filed a grievance regarding his dismissal, which was heard by an IDOC review panel. The panel determined that IDOC lacked proper cause to terminate Anderson, recommended that he be reinstated to his position as human services supervisor, and recommended that he be compensated for legal fees he incurred in pursuing the grievance. Director Spalding rejected this recommendation and upheld Anderson's dismissal.

Anderson appealed his dismissal to the Idaho Personnel Commission pursuant to I.C. § 67-5316, and the matter was assigned to a Personnel Commission hearing officer. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the hearing officer issued findings of fact and conclusions of law in which he concluded that IDOC had failed to prove that Anderson had violated the identified IDOC policies or Personnel Commission rules. The hearing officer ordered Anderson's reinstatement with back pay and benefits and awarded Anderson attorney fees and costs. IDOC petitioned for review by the Personnel Commission pursuant to I.C. § 67-5317. The Personnel Commission affirmed the decision of the hearing officer in all respects. The Personnel Commission also awarded attorney fees and costs to Anderson.

The IDOC appealed the Personnel Commission's decision to the district court pursuant to I.C. § 67-5318. The district court affirmed the Personnel Commission's decision. IDOC was ordered to pay Anderson's attorney fees and costs. IDOC appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

While appeals from the hearing officer's decision were pending, Anderson filed this action, which is also based upon his termination from IDOC. He seeks compensation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his civil rights and under state defamation law in relation to his termination.

II.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

On appeal from the grant of a motion for summary judgment, this Court employs the same standard to be used by the district court originally ruling on the motion. Kelso v. Lance, 134 Idaho 373, 374-75, 3 P.3d 51, 52-53 (2000). Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment...

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16 practice notes
  • City of Coeur D'Alene v. Simpson, No. 29299.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • April 27, 2006
    ...Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564-65, 120 S.Ct. 1073, 1074-75, 145 L.Ed.2d 1060, 1063-64 (2000); Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 514, 50 P.3d 1004, 1009 When the Simpsons presented their equal protection claim as holders of the waterward parcel, the district court deni......
  • Summers v. City of McCall, Case No. 1:13–CV–00203–EJL–CWD.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Idaho
    • January 29, 2015
    ...and, thus, were within the course and scope of his employment and subject to the ITCA notice requirement. See Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 50 P.3d 1004, 1013–14 (2002). Mr. Summers has not rebutted the statutory presumption that the claim arises from conduct occurring during Mr. Dra......
  • Waidelich v. Wengler, Docket No. 40019
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • October 16, 2013
    ...if the challenger shows a deliberate plan of discrimination based on some unjustifiable classification. Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 514, 50 P.3d 1004, 1009 (2002); Henson v. Dep't of Law Enforcement, 107 Idaho 19, 23, 684 P.2d 996, 1000 (1984); State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 560, 7......
  • Coeur D'Alene Tribe v. Johnson, Docket No. 44478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 3, 2017
    ...against them. Due process requires that parties be given notice of proceedings and an opportunity to be heard. Anderson v. Spalding , 137 Idaho 509, 516, 50 P.3d 1004, 1011 (2002). The Johnsons argue that because the Tribal Court is biased they did not have a meaningful opportunity to be he......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • City of Coeur D'Alene v. Simpson, No. 29299.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • April 27, 2006
    ...Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564-65, 120 S.Ct. 1073, 1074-75, 145 L.Ed.2d 1060, 1063-64 (2000); Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 514, 50 P.3d 1004, 1009 When the Simpsons presented their equal protection claim as holders of the waterward parcel, the district court deni......
  • Summers v. City of McCall, Case No. 1:13–CV–00203–EJL–CWD.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Idaho
    • January 29, 2015
    ...and, thus, were within the course and scope of his employment and subject to the ITCA notice requirement. See Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 50 P.3d 1004, 1013–14 (2002). Mr. Summers has not rebutted the statutory presumption that the claim arises from conduct occurring during Mr. Dra......
  • Waidelich v. Wengler, Docket No. 40019
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Idaho
    • October 16, 2013
    ...if the challenger shows a deliberate plan of discrimination based on some unjustifiable classification. Anderson v. Spalding, 137 Idaho 509, 514, 50 P.3d 1004, 1009 (2002); Henson v. Dep't of Law Enforcement, 107 Idaho 19, 23, 684 P.2d 996, 1000 (1984); State v. Hayes, 108 Idaho 556, 560, 7......
  • Coeur D'Alene Tribe v. Johnson, Docket No. 44478
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 3, 2017
    ...against them. Due process requires that parties be given notice of proceedings and an opportunity to be heard. Anderson v. Spalding , 137 Idaho 509, 516, 50 P.3d 1004, 1011 (2002). The Johnsons argue that because the Tribal Court is biased they did not have a meaningful opportunity to be he......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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