The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sandra M. Snyder United States Magistrate Judge
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT DEFENDANT RODRIGUEZ' MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST BE GRANTED (Doc. 21.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN THIRTY DAYS
Plaintiff Daniel Rowe ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on August 30, 2006. (Doc. 1.) This action now proceeds on Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint filed November 25, 2008, against defendants Medical Technical Assistant ("MTA") J. Kurz and MTA D. Rodriguez for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they allegedly denied Plaintiff his prescribed medications.*fn1 (Doc. 15.) On July 13, 2009, defendant MTA D. Rodriguez ("Defendant") filed a motion to dismiss the complaint based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.*fn2 (Doc. 21.) On August 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the motion.*fn3 (Doc. 23.) Defendant did not file a reply to Plaintiff's opposition. Defendant's motion to dismiss is now before the Court.
II. SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT AS TO DEFENDANT RODRIGUEZ
Plaintiff's claims in this action arise from events which allegedly occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP"). In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on October 3, 2005, Defendant denied him his prescribed medications. Plaintiff alleges he was diagnosed with depression and psychosis and took medication for these conditions, as reflected by his medical file. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant was aware of Plaintiff's conditions and medications, because she had access to Plaintiff's medical records. Plaintiff claims that Defendant denied him adequate medical care in violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff requests "full treatment" and monetary damages as relief.
Defendant brings a motion to dismiss the claims against her based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit under Rule 12(b) and failure to state a claim against her for medical indifference under Rule 12(b)(6). In addition, Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief on the ground that a pending class action subsumes such relief.
A. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Exhaust
a. Statutory Exhaustion Requirement
Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under [42 U.S.C. § 1983], or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Prisoners must complete the prison's administrative process, regardless of the relief sought by the prisoner and regardless of the relief offered by the process, as long as the administrative process can provide some sort of relief on the complaint stated. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). "Proper exhaustion[, which] demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules . . . ." is required, Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006), and may not be satisfied "by filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective . . . appeal." Id. at 83-84.
The PLRA requires a prisoner to exhaust "such administrative remedies as are available" before suing over prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The Booth court held that the PLRA requires administrative exhaustion even where the grievance process does not permit award of money damages and prisoner seeks only money damages, as long as the grievance tribunal has authority to take some responsive action. Booth, 532 U.S. at 732. "The meaning of the phrase 'administrative remedies ... available' is the crux of the case." Id. at 731. In discussing the meaning of the term "remedy," the court noted that "depending on where one looks, 'remedy' can mean either specific relief obtainable at the end of a process of seeking redress, or the process itself, the procedural avenue leading to some relief." Id. at 738. (emphasis added.) Thus, the court determined that the language of the statute, which requires that the "available" "remed[y]" must be "exhausted" before a complaint under § 1983 may be entertained, refers to "exhaustion" of the process available. Id. at 738-739. (emphasis added.) It follows, then, that if an inmate exhausts the process that is made available to him, he has satisfied the requirement of the statute.
b. Unenumerated 12(b) Motion
Section 1997e(a) does not impose a pleading requirement, but rather, is an affirmative defense under which defendants have the burden of raising and proving the absence of exhaustion. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215-16 (2007); Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). The failure to exhaust non-judicial administrative remedies that are not jurisdictional is subject to an unenumerated Rule 12(b) motion, rather than a summary judgment motion. Id. at 1119 (citing Ritza v. Int'l Longshoremen's & Warehousemen's Union, 837 F.2d 365, 368 (9th Cir. 1998) (per curium)). In deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the Court may look beyond the pleadings and decide ...