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Shove v. Ayers

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


November 7, 2008

THEODORE SHOVE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN AYERS, DEFENDANT.

PARTIAL DISMISSAl; ORDER OF SERVICE; DIRECTING DEFENDANTS TO FILE DISPOSITIVE MOTION OR NOTICE REGARDING SUCH MOTION

Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On July 23, 2008, the court dismissed his complaint for failure to allege a cognizable claim under § 1983. On September 11, 2008, the court vacated its judgment and, upon reconsideration, granted plaintiff thirty days to file an amended complaint with cognizable claims. On October 6, 2008, plaintiff filed an amended complaint as ordered. The court will order service of the complaint on the named defendants.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Federal courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review the court must identify any cognizable claims, and dismiss any claims which are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id. at 1915A(b)(1),(2). Pro se pleadings must, however, be liberally construed. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1988). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two essential elements: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

B. Plaintiff's Claim

Plaintiff alleges that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Specifically, he states that on October 5, 2004, when he was detained in a Los Angeles County facility, he was diagnosed with extremely high blood pressure, diabetes, server allergies, and prescribed specially made shoes and medication. When he was transferred to San Quentin State Prison, defendants disregarded plaintiff's requests for continued medication when his medication ran out and, defendants took away his specially made shoes as well. The lack of medication resulted plaintiff being covered in bleeding sores and plaintiff being in extreme pain in his feet, knees, back and hip, Liberally construed, plaintiff has stated a cognizable claim of a violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.

C. Doe Defendants

Plaintiff names three "Doe" defendants in his complaint. The use of Doe defendants is not favored in the Ninth Circuit. See Gillespie v. Civiletti, 629 F.2d 637, 642 (9th Cir. 1980). However, where the identity of alleged defendants cannot be known prior to the filing of a complaint the plaintiff should be given an opportunity through discovery to identify them. Id. Failure to afford the plaintiff such an opportunity is error. See Wakefield v. Thompson, 177 F.3d 1160, 1163 (9th Cir. 1999). Accordingly, the claim against Doe defendants is dismissed from this action without prejudice. Should plaintiff learn the identity of Doe defendants through discovery, he may move to file an amendment to the complaint to add them as named defendants. See Brass v. County of Los Angeles, 328 F.3d 1192, 1195-98 (9th Cir. 2003).

CONCLUSION

1. Plaintiff's claim against Doe defendants is DISMISSED without prejudice and with leave to amend.

2. The clerk of the court shall issue summons and the United States Marshal shall serve, without prepayment of fees, a copy of the complaint, all attachments thereto, and a copy of this order upon: Warden Robert Ayers and Dr. Davy Wu atthe San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin, Californi. The clerk shall also mail a courtesy copy of this order and the complaint, with all attachments thereto, to the California Attorney General's Office.

3. No later than sixty (60) days from the date of this order, defendants shall file a motion for summary judgment or other dispositive motion with respect to the claims in the complaint as set forth above, or notify the court that they are of the opinion that this case cannot be resolved by such a motion.

a. If defendant elects to file a motion to dismiss on the grounds that plaintiff failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), defendant shall do so in an unenumerated Rule 12(b) motion pursuant to Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119-20 (9th Cir. 2003).

b. Any motion for summary judgment shall be supported by adequate factual documentation and shall conform in all respects to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant is advised that summary judgment cannot be granted, nor qualified immunity found, if material facts are in dispute. If any defendant is of the opinion that this case cannot be resolved by summary judgment, he shall so inform the court prior to the date the summary judgment motion is due.

4. Plaintiff's opposition to the dispositive motion shall be filed with the court and served on defendant no later than thirty (30) days from the date defendant's motion is filed.

a. In the event defendant files an unenumerated motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b), plaintiff is hereby cautioned as follows:*fn1

The defendants have made a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on the ground you have not exhausted your administrative remedies. The motion will, if granted, result in the dismissal of your case. When a party you are suing makes a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust, and that motion is properly supported by declarations (or other sworn testimony) and/or documents, you may not simply rely on what your complaint says. Instead, you must set out specific facts in declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or documents, that contradict the facts shown in the defendant's declarations and documents and show that you have in fact exhausted your claims. If you do not submit your own evidence in opposition, the motion to dismiss, if appropriate, may be granted and the case dismissed.

b. In the event defendant files a motion for summary judgment, the Ninth Circuit has held that the following notice should be given to plaintiffs:

The defendants have made a motion for summary judgment by which they seek to have your case dismissed. A motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure will, if granted, end your case.

Rule 56 tells you what you must do in order to oppose a motion for summary judgment. Generally, summary judgment must be granted when there is no genuine issue of material fact--that is, if there is no real dispute about any fact that would affect the result of your case, the party who asked for summary judgment is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, which will end your case. When a party you are suing makes a motion for summary judgment that is properly supported by declarations (or other sworn testimony), you cannot simply rely on what your complaint says. Instead, you must set out specific facts in declarations, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or authenticated documents, as provided in Rule 56(e), that contradict the facts shown in the defendants' declarations and documents and show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If you do not submit your own evidence in opposition, summary judgment, if appropriate, may be entered against you. If summary judgment is granted in favor of defendants, your case will be dismissed and there will be no trial.

See Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952, 963 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc). Plaintiff is advised to read Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986) (holding party opposing summary judgment must come forward with evidence showing triable issues of material fact on every essential element of his claim). Plaintiff is cautioned that failure to file an opposition to defendant's motion for summary judgment may be deemed to be a consent by plaintiff to the granting of the motion, and granting of judgment against plaintiff without a trial. See Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 53-54 (9th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Brydges v. Lewis, 18 F.3d 651, 653 (9th Cir. 1994).

5. Defendant shall file a reply brief no later than fifteen (15) days after plaintiff's opposition is filed.

6. The motion shall be deemed submitted as of the date the reply brief is due. No hearing will be held on the motion unless the court so orders at a later date.

7. All communications by the plaintiff with the court must be served on defendant, or defendant's counsel once counsel has been designated, by mailing a true copy of the document to defendant or defendant's counsel.

8. Discovery may be taken in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. No further court order is required before the parties may conduct discovery. For plaintiff's information, the proper manner of promulgating discovery is to send demands for documents or interrogatories (questions asking for specific, factual responses) directly to defendants' counsel. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 33-34. The scope of discovery is limited to matters "relevant to the claim or defense of any party..." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). Discovery may be further limited by court order if "(i) the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative, or is obtainable from some other source that is more convenient, less burdensome, or less expensive; (ii) the party seeking discovery has had ample opportunity by discovery in the action to obtain the information sought; or (iii) the burden or expense of the proposed discovery outweighs its likely benefit." Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(2). In order to comply with the requirements of Rule 26, before deciding to promulgate discovery plaintiff may find it to his benefit to wait until defendants have filed a dispositive motion which could include some or all of the discovery plaintiff might seek. In addition, no motion to compel will be considered by the Court unless the meet-and-confer requirement of Rule 37(a)(2)(B) and N.D. Cal. Local Rule 37-1 has been satisfied. Because plaintiff is detained, he is not required to meet and confer with defendants in person. Rather, if his discovery requests are denied and he intends to seek a motion to compel he must send a letter to defendants to that effect, offering them one last opportunity to provide him with the sought-after information.

9. It is plaintiff's responsibility to prosecute this case. Plaintiff must keep the court and all parties informed of any change of address and must comply with the court's orders in a timely fashion. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of this action for failure to prosecute pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b).

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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