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Naehu v. Read

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

March 28, 2017

ROBERT NAEHU, JR., Plaintiff,
THOMAS READ, Defendant.


          Derrick K. Watson Judge.


         Plaintiff Robert Naehu, Jr. seeks remand on the basis that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this negligence action involving the calculation of his state prison sentence. The Magistrate Judge agreed, finding removal improper because the Complaint alleged a single state-law claim and supplied no other basis for federal court jurisdiction. Defendant Thomas Read now objects to the Magistrate Judge's January 24, 2017 Findings and Recommendation (“F&R”).

         Because Naehu's Complaint does not allege a violation of 42 U.S.C § 1983 nor any other federal constitutional, statutory or common law right, and Plaintiff, in fact, disavows any claim for relief based on federal law, Read has not met his burden of establishing this Court's jurisdiction. The Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, this action was improperly removed, and the Magistrate Judge appropriately recommended granting Naehu's Motion to Remand. The Court adopts the conclusions of the F&R and overrules Read's Objections.[1]


         I. Complaint And Notice of Removal

         On December 21, 2016, Naehu filed his First Amended Complaint in the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii. Dkt. No. 1-2, Notice of Removal, Ex. A (First Amended Complaint). Read removed the case on December 23, 2016, based solely on the Court's original jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3). See Dkt. No. 1, Notice of Removal ¶ 2.

         A. Naehu's Claims

         Naehu served jail sentences at various prisons in the State of Hawaii for crimes committed in the State, originally with a maximum term release date (“MTRD”) of May 7, 2010. First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) ¶¶ 1, 5. Read was the Administrator for the State Department of Public Safety's (“DPS”) Offender Management Office, which was “ultimate[ly] responsible for the calculation of an inmate's [MTRD].” FAC ¶ 2. Naehu alleges that, “on October 2009, before his release date, [he] was informed by letter there were ‘discrepancies' in the computation of his release date and that convictions previously considered ‘concurrent' were actually ‘consecutive' by operation of law. This recalculation was approved of by Read.” FAC ¶ 5.

Although Naehu's MTRD was extended from May 7, 2010 to June 12, 2013, Naehu was able to “fix this wrongful recalculation.” FAC ¶ 5. Naehu asserts that- Although [Naehu] objected to this ‘recalculation' it wasn't until [Naehu] was able to procure legal counsel to request the sentencing court to reiterate the court's true intent in sentencing [him] was to a concurrent sentence. Once the sentencing court clarified [Naehu's] sentence was concurrent to any other sentence, an amended judgment issued on March 3, 2011 after which [he] was released. By this date [Naehu] had been forced to serve an EXTRA 300 days in jail over what the sentencing court intended all without legal justification which caused Plaintiff to suffer damages in [an] amount to be shown at trial.

         FAC ¶ 6.

         According to Naehu, because his “original MTRD was calculated during the period of the ‘practice, ' when it was ‘recalculated' on October 15, 2009 under the “P&P, ” his MTRD was now considered a consecutive sentence without notice, hearing or legal justification which caused his sentence to be extended[.]” FAC ¶ 9. Moreover, he alleges that the new “P&P came with no precautions or procedural safeguards to avoid recalculations as to how the P&P should be carried out.” FAC ¶ 9. Naehu alleges a single cause of action, entitled “Negligence, ” which states, in part:

11. [Read's] manner of carrying out the P&P without procedural safeguards or precautions to guard against overdetentions caused [Naehu] to remain in prison an extra 300 days after his originally calculated MTRD of May 7, 2010 had expired.
12. [Read] was both a lawyer and THE Administrator of OMO for the State of Hawaii, so that,
* * * *
• Read would know or should have known a review of a sentence pursuant to the “P&P”, PREVIOUSLY calculated under the practice WOULD result in a recalculation which happened to [Naehu].
• Read would know or should know he must take reasonable efforts to avoid needless harm to [Naehu] while in DPS custody but did not make such efforts for [Naehu].
• Read would know or should know circumstances may require greater care if a defendant knows or should know of other risks not contemplated by a prison regulation which was the case with [Naehu].
• Read would know or should have known of the risk that would be prevented by imposing reasonable precautions not otherwise required by the regulation but chose not to take such measures.
13. Read's conduct was a breach of the duty of care owed [Naehu] and his breach of this duty caused [Naehu] to suffer overdetention and emotional distress damages ...

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