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Munguia v. Frias

September 25, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Napoleon A. Jones, Jr. United States District Judge


Before the Court is Magistrate Judge Anthony J. Battaglia's Report and Recommendation ("R&R") recommending the Court grant Defendants D. Pollard, G. Siota, R. Sutton, A. Lopez, and W. Griggs' (collectively, "Defendants") Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. [Doc. No. 22.] On February 25, 2008 and again on June 5, 2008, Plaintiff filed an Opposition. On February 25, 2008, Defendants filed a Reply. On June 13, 2008, Judge Battaglia filed the R&R. [Doc. No. 22.] Plaintiff has filed no Objections to the R&R. For the reasons set forth below, this Court ADOPTS the R&R and GRANTS Defendants' instant Motion in its entirety.

Procedural Background

On June 4, 2007, Plaintiff Jesus Lopez Munguia, an inmate incarcerated in the California State Prison in Calipatria,*fn1 California, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Doc. No. 1.] On August 27, 2007, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. [Doc. No. 6.] On August 29, 2007, the Court issued an Order informing Plaintiff that he may file a first amended complaint without leave of court before a responsive pleading is filed. [Doc. No. 7.] In that Order, the Court cited Ninth Circuit law stating that the amended complaint must be complete in itself without reference to the original complaint and any claims not re-alleged in the amended complaint will be deemed waived. [Id.] On November 2, 2007, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. [Doc. No. 16.] On December 11, 2007, the Court allowed Plaintiff to file the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") nunc pro tunc. [Doc. No. 20.]

Factual Background

Defendants Frias, Pollard, Lopez, and Griggs were correctional officers at Calipatria State Prison during the alleged incidents. Defendant Siota was a correctional lieutenant and Defendant Sutton was a correctional sergeant, both at Calipatria State Prison during the alleged incidents.

Around February 2006, Plaintiff went to an outside hospital and received nine staples for a two-inch laceration on the back, top, and left side of his head. (FAC at 5.) On December 22, 2006, Plaintiff went to an outside hospital for reconstructive knee surgery. (Id. at 5-6.) He was scheduled for another possible knee surgery in October 2007. (Id. at 6.)

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have been aware since February 2006 that Plaintiff needed treatment for pain resulting from Defendants' use of excessive force and wanton infliction of unnecessary pain. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he still suffers from severe knee pain from when Defendant J. Frias*fn2 hit him with a baton and that he takes daily pain medication to treat this pain. (Id.) Finally, Plaintiff claims his medical condition significantly affects his daily activities in prison. (Id.)

Plaintiff seeks to hold Defendants liable based on the following theories: (1) use of excessive force when Plaintiff was hit with a baton in Feburary 2006; and (2) deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's medical needs. (Id. at 6-7.) Plaintiff purports to bring claims under section 1983 for violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, monetary damages, and costs. (Id. at 8.)

Legal Standard

Reviewing a Magistrate Judge's R&R The duties of the district court in connection with a magistrate judge's R&R are set forth in Rule 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See FED.R.CIV.P. 72(b); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2005). The district court must "make a de novo determination of those portions of the report ... to which objection is made" and "may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (2005); see United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 676 (1980).

When no objections are filed, the Court may assume the correctness of the Magistrate Judge's findings of fact and decide the motion on the applicable law. Campbell v. United States Dist. Court, 501 F.2d 196, 206 (9th Cir. 1974). Under such circumstances, the Ninth Circuit has held that "a failure to file objections only relieves the trial court of its burden to give de novo review to factual findings; conclusions of law must still be reviewed de novo." Barilla v. Ervin, 886 F.2d 1514, 1518 (9th Cir. 1989).

B. Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6)

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the claims in the complaint. Navarro v. Block, 250 F.3d 729, 732 (9th Cir. 2001). A court may dismiss a claim only when "a plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Cahill v. Liberty Mut. Ins., 80 F.3d 336, 338 (9th Cir. 1996). The court hearing the motion must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint, as well as reasonable inferences to be drawn from them, and the court must construe the complaint in the light most ...

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