United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, ECF NO.
Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge
March 2, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Francisco Kakatin
(“Plaintiff”) filed a Third Amended Prisoner
Civil Rights Complaint (“TAC”) alleging a 42
U.S.C. § 1983 claim for violation of his rights under
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. ECF No. 48. During all times
relevant to his claim, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the
Waiawa Correctional Facility (“WCF”). The TAC
names Richard Kai‘aina (“Defendant” or
“Kia‘aina”), a WCF civilian kitchen worker
employed by the State of Hawaii Department of Public Safety,
in his individual capacity, as the sole Defendant.
before the court is Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. ECF No. 57. Pursuant to Local Rule 7(d), the court
finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing.
For the reasons that follow, the Motion is GRANTED.
an African-American male, and Defendant were working in the
WCF kitchen on August 31, 2014. TAC at 2-3; Def.'s
Concise Statement of Facts (“CSF”) ¶¶
3, 4. At approximately 11:30 a.m. that day, and
in the presence of inmate workers Tilton Lasua
(“Lasua”) and Christopher Stark
(“Stark”), Defendant allegedly yelled at
Plaintiff calling him a “nigger” and
“fucking nigger.” See Pl.'s
Interview at 2, ECF No. 101-3; Pl.'s Statement at 1, ECF
No. 101-2; Lasua Phone Interview at 1, ECF No. 101-5; Stark
Interview, ECF No. 101-3 at 3.After yelling at Plaintiff,
Defendant allegedly said that he “hates fucking nigger,
” and that he was “going to fire his ass.”
Lasua Interview at 1-2, ECF No. 101-6; TAC at 3 (alleging
that “other inmates heard Defendant state that . . .
[he] was going to get Plaintiff fired”) (quotation
September 3, 2014, Plaintiff reported the incident to his
boss, Janice Colon, saying that “[Defendant] was after
[him].” Pl.'s Statement at 2, ECF No. 101-2.
Plaintiff told Colon that “he didn't want to work
if he needed to keep watching his back and told her what
happened.” Sgt. McNeil's Summary of Investigation
(“Summ.”) Ex. #9, ECF No. 111 at PageID
#508. Plaintiff later made inconsistent
statements about what exactly he told Colon. On September 26,
2014, he stated that when discussing the incident with Colon,
he “didn't tell” her “what happen[ed]
between [himself] and [Defendant], ” but that
“all I told her is that [Defendant] was in my face and
he's after me and I can't be watching my back.”
Pl.'s Interview at 2, ECF No. 101-3. And on March 22,
2018, Plaintiff described the incident - “[D]efendant
used derogatory language towards me” - and stated that
he told Colon on September 3, 2014 “that the incident
occurred, ” to which Colon responded that she
“was committed to look into it.” Pl.'s Decl.
¶¶ 11-12, ECF No. 113-1.
September 25, 2014, Colon reported to Sgt. McNeil that on
September 3, 2014, Plaintiff “went to sick call”
and failed to report to work. Sgt. McNeil's Summ. Ex.
#21, ECF No. 111 at PageID #508. As summarized by Sgt.
McNeil, Colon further reported that:
Kakatin gave [Colon] his medical memo during breakfast. Cook
Colon asked him does he really want to work in the kitchen?
Inmate Kakatin said no he don't [(sic)] want to. Later
that day Cook Colon attended the Program Committee . . . when
she decided to remove (terminate) Kakatin. Ms. Yokoyama
walked in and mentioned that Kakatin told her that Cook
Kia‘aina had called him a “Nigger.”
[Colon's] response was “I'll inform my
supervisor” . . . which she did on September 4, 2014.
Id.; see also Colon Decl. ¶¶ 5,
6, ECF No. 58-4 (stating that “during the breakfast
serving [on September 3, 2014, Plaintiff] approached me and
gave me a medical slip explaining why he was not present . .
. [and stated] that he did not wish to continue working [in
the kitchen]”). According to Colon, after Plaintiff
said he did not want to continue working in the kitchen, she
“informed him that this would result in his termination
from the [kitchen] workline [and Plaintiff] confirmed that he
no longer wanted to work on the [kitchen] workline.”
Colon Decl. ¶ 6.
after speaking with Colon, Plaintiff told his case manager,
Christy Yokoyama, that Defendant had called him a
“nigger.” See Pl.'s Statements, ECF
Nos. 101-2, at 2, 101-3, at 2; Yokoyama's Statement,
101-8, at 1; Sgt. McNeil's Summ. Ex. #2, ECF No. 111, at
PageID #506. Plaintiff also told Yokoyama that “Colon
told him not to report to work anymore and that he should
look for another workline.” Sgt. McNeil's Summ. Ex.
#2, ECF No. 111, at PageID# 506-07.
states that he was notified of his termination from the WCF
kitchen workline on September 9, 2014. Pl.'s Decl. ¶
14, ECF No. 113-1, TAC ¶ 7; see Pl.'s
Statement, at 2, ECF No. 101-2 (“I was directed by
[Colon] not to come back [to] work.”); Sgt.
McNeil's Summ. Ex. #2, ECF No. 111, at 2 (“On
September 9, 2014 . . . Kakatin told [Yokoyama] . . . that
Colon told him not to return to work anymore and that he
should look for another workline.”); cf. Lasua
Interview at 2, ECF No. 101-6 (“Kakatin said that they
kicked him out of the kitchen.”).
to Colon, on September 3, 2014, after speaking with Plaintiff
that morning, she attended a program committee meeting. Colon
Decl. ¶ 7. The “hiring and termination of inmates
from various worklines” is discussed during such
meetings. Id. Prior to the September 3, 2014
meeting, Colon “had decided to remove Kakatin from the
[kitchen] workline because he had indicated . . . that he did
not want to work there.” Id. ¶
Prior to her decision to terminate Plaintiff, Defendant
“did not ask, suggest, recommend or in any way
influence [Colon's] decision that Kakatin should be
terminated” from the kitchen workline. Id.
¶¶ 10, 11. And according to Defendant,
“[p]rior to Kakatin's termination . . . [he] did
not ask, suggest or recommend to anyone, including Colon,
that Kakatin be terminated” from the kitchen workline.