United States District Court, D. Hawaii
ORDER DENYING BALANCE OF DEFENDANTS STATE OF HAWAII,
NOLAN ESPINDA AND ERIC G. TANAKA'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL
SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON COUNTS I-V, VIII, AND XI OF THE THIRD
A. OTAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action concerns the alleged sexual assault of female inmates
at the Women's Community Correctional Center
(“WCCC”). The Court previously granted in part
and deferred in part Defendants State of Hawaii (the
“State”), Nolan Espinda (“Espinda”),
and Eric Tanaka's (“Tanaka['s]”)
(collectively, “State Defendants[']”) Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment on Counts I to V, VIII, and XI
of the Third Amended Complaint, ECF No. 121. See ECF
No. 178. This Order addresses the portion of the Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment that the Court deferred pending the
submission of additional evidence and supplemental briefing;
namely, Tanaka's request for summary judgment as to
Plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims. For the
following reasons, the Court DENIES the balance of the
Leinette Kainoa Reyes; Dana K.A. Baba; Darnell K. Maluyo;
Artemio Panlasigui, individually and as personal
representative of the estate of Dawnielle C. Panlasigui,
deceased, and as next friend to A.P., a minor; Tiana M. Soto;
Maelene Cruz; Monica J. Alves Peralto; Shawna L. Tallman;
Reyna M. Banks; and Victoria Suanoa-Piper (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”) allege that while incarcerated,
they were regularly sexually assaulted by four Adult
Correctional Officers (“ACOs”) and one civilian
employee. ECF No. 51 at 3-4. Plaintiffs allege that these
assaults often occurred in the WCCC Control Stations.
Id. ¶¶ 34- 90. Plaintiffs allege multiple
instances of inappropriate touching, forcible oral sex,
digital penetration, and vaginal intercourse with the promise
of privileges. Id. Plaintiffs allege that as a
result of the fear and anxiety caused by these sexual
assaults, Plaintiff Dawnielle Pawnlasigui committed suicide.
Id. ¶¶ 58-59. Plaintiffs allege that the
State, Espinda (as Director of the Department of Public
Safety (“DPS”)), and Tanaka (as warden of WCCC)
failed to supervise their employees and condoned a culture,
pattern, and policy of sexual abuse given the prevalence of
the assaults and the similar attendant circumstances.
Id. ¶¶ 91-123.
further allege that Espinda, Tanaka, and the ACOs seduced
them with promises of marriage; all Defendants were
responsible for Plaintiffs' sexual assaults; and all
Defendants caused Plaintiffs to be restrained against their
will and by force of coercion. Id. ¶¶ 125,
139, and 158.
warden of WCCC, Tanaka is responsible for upholding DPS
policies and procedures, ensuring the safety and security of
WCCC inmates, and protecting WCCC staff and the public.
Defs.' Concise Statement of Facts (“CSF”),
ECF No. 122 ¶ 4; Decl. of Eric G. Tanaka (“Tanaka
Decl.”), ECF No. 122-1 ¶ 4. The DPS Office of
Training and Staff Development trains all new corrections
officer recruits and nonuniform staff before they are
assigned to a facility. Defs.' CSF ¶ 6; Tanaka Decl.
¶ 6. Training covers DPS policies and procedures
regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act
(“PREA”) and WCCC staff receive necessary
on-the-job training. Defs.' CSF ¶ 7; Tanaka Decl.
¶ 7. Every two years, WCCC staff are required to attend
a PREA refresher course and Tanaka is responsible for
ensuring compliance. Defs.' CSF ¶ 7; Tanaka Decl.
reports of sexual assault at WCCC are investigated pursuant
to ADM.08.08. Defs.' CSF ¶ 10; Tanaka Decl. ¶
10. Tanaka disclaims involvement in the sexual assaults and
maintains that he lacked awareness of the sexual assaults
until after they were reported to WCCC staff, at which time
investigations were conducted. Defs.' CSF ¶ 10;
Tanaka Decl. ¶ 10.
allege that the conditions and understaffing at WCCC
facilitated the sexual assaults by the ACOs. Pls.' CSF,
ECF No. 137 ¶ 24; Decl. of Leinette Reyes (“Reyes
Decl.”), ECF No. 137-2 ¶ 11; Decl. of Shawna
Tallman (“Tallman Decl.”), ECF No. 137-3
¶¶ 18-20; Pls.' Supp. CSF, ECF No. 167 ¶
24; Decl. of Monica Peralto (“Peralto Decl.”),
ECF No. 167-1 ¶ 4; Decl. of Tiana Soto (“Soto
Decl.”), ECF No. 167-2 ¶ 6. When WCCC experienced
understaffing, three officers were on duty, as opposed to
five. Pls.' CSF, ECF No. 137 ¶¶ 7-5. Moreover,
understaffing meant that WCCC had one roving officer in a
unit instead of two. Id. ¶ 21, Tallman Decl.
¶ 19. And when the Sergeant was not on duty, ACO Taofi
Magalei became acting Sergeant, which is how he had the
opportunity to sexually assault Plaintiffs in the control
station. Pls.' CSF ¶ 21; Tallman Decl. ¶ 20.
According to Plaintiffs, it is widely known that neither the
control stations nor the areas immediately outside the
control stations contain video cameras. Pls.' CSF ¶
23; Tallman Decl. ¶ 21; Reyes Decl. ¶ 11; Baba
Decl. ¶ 40; Pls.' Supp. CSF, ECF No. 167 ¶ 23;
Peralto Decl. ¶ 7; Soto Decl. ¶ 7.
contend that Tanaka knew about these issues because of a
prior lawsuit-Smith v. State of Hawaii, Civil No.
14-00432 LEK-KSC-involving a WCCC inmate who was sexually
assaulted by an ACO. Pls.' Supp. CSF, ECF No. 167 ¶
16; Ex. F to Pls.' Supp. CSF, ECF No. 167-16.
commenced this action on March 30, 2017. On July 26, 2017,
Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 24,
which was dismissed by stipulation on November 15, 2017. ECF
No. 44. Plaintiffs filed their Third Amended Complaint
(“TAC”) on October 19, 2018. ECF No. 51. The TAC
asserts the following claims: (1) violations of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (Counts I to IV); (2) seduction (Count V); (3)
negligence (Count VI); (4) negligent hiring, training, and
supervision (Count VII); (5) assault and battery (Count
VIII); (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress
(Count IX); (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress
(Count X); (8) false imprisonment (Count XI); and (9)
wrongful death (Count XII). Id. Plaintiffs pray for
general, special, and punitive damages; reimbursement of
costs and expenses; pre- and post-judgment interest;
injunctive and declaratory relief; and any additional relief
deemed appropriate. Id. at 37.
April 18, 2019, the Court issued an Order Granting in Part
and Denying in Part Defendants State of Hawai‘i, Nolan
Espinda, and Eric Tanaka's Motion to Dismiss Third
Amended Complaint Filed on October 18, 2018. ECF No. 71. The
Court dismissed Counts I to IV with prejudice against the
State Defendants and denied the motion with respect to Counts
I to IV against Tanaka in his individual capacity and as to
Counts V to XII against all Defendants. Id. at 16.
December 13, 2019, the Court issued an Order Granting in Part
and Deferring in Part Defendants State of Hawaii, Nolan
Espinda, and Eric G. Tanaka's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment on Counts I to V, VIII, and XI of the Third Amended
Complaint (“SJ Order”). ECF No. 178. The Court:
(1) dismissed with prejudice (a) Plaintiffs' state law
claims (Counts V to VIII, X to XII) against Tanaka and
Espinda in their official capacities and (b) Plaintiffs'
state law claims (Counts VII, VIII, X, XI, and XII) against
the State; (2) granted summary judgment as to Plaintiffs'
seduction (Count V), assault and battery (Count VII), and
false imprisonment ...