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James E. Bryant v. J. Knight

March 4, 2011

JAMES E. BRYANT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
J. KNIGHT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS BE DENIED (DOC. 14)

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION RECOMMENDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DECLARE PLAINTIFF VEXATIOUS LITIGANT BE DENIED (DOC. 15)

OBJECTIONS DUE WITHIN 14 DAYS

Findings And Recommendation

I. Background

Plaintiff James E. Bryant ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's complaint, filed August 5, 2009, against Defendants J. Knight and Davis for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment and violation of the Eighth Amendment. Doc. 1.

Pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, filed March 5, 2010. Doc. 14. Plaintiff filed his opposition on March 15, 2010. Doc. 17. Defendants filed their reply on March 22, 2010. Doc. 18.

Also pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to declare Plaintiff a vexatious litigant, filed March 5, 2010. Doc. 15. Defendants also filed a Request For Judicial Notice on March 5, 2010, and a Supplemental Request For Judicial Notice on April 26, 2010. Docs. 16, 21. After the Court ordered Plaintiff to file an opposition, Plaintiff filed on January 31, 2011. Defendants filed a reply on February 4, 2011. The matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

II. Motion To Dismiss

A. Rule 11 Sanction

Defendants contend that Plaintiff intentionally lied to the Court, and thus should be sanctioned with dismissal of his action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. Defs.' P. &. A. Support Mot. Dismiss 2:3-8:14.

Federal courts have the inherent authority to sanction conduct abusive of the judicial process. Chambers v. NASCO, Inc., 501 U.S. 32, 43-45 (1991). However, "[b]ecause of their very potency, inherent powers must be exercised with restraint and discretion." Chambers, 501 U.S. at 44. The extreme sanction of "dismissal is warranted where . . . a party has engaged deliberately in deceptive practices that undermine the integrity of judicial proceedings." Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. Natural Beverages Distributors, 69 F.3d 337, 348 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted); see Leon v. IDX Systems, Corp., 464 F.3d 951, 958 (9th Cir. 2006). For dismissal to be proper, the sanctionable conduct must have been due to willfulness, fault, or bad faith. Leon, 464 F.3d at 958; Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 69 F.3d at 348. Further, the Court must consider less drastic sanctions. Leon, 464 F.3d at 358.

Courts may impose sanctions on pro se litigants proceeding in forma pauperis. Warren v. Guelker, 29 F.3d 1386, 1389-90 (9th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). Before imposing sanctions pursuant to a party's motion, the Court must follow the procedures outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(c)(2). See Radcliffe v. Rainbow Constr. Co., 254 F.3d 772, 788-89 (9th Cir. 2001) (citing former Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(1)(A), now Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c)(2)); Barber v. Miller, 146 F.3d 707, 710-11 (9th Cir. 1998).

Defendants contend that on the complaint form, Plaintiff answered the question, "Have you filed any other lawsuits while you were a prisoner?" by responding with "No," under the penalty of perjury. Defs.' P. &. A. Support Mot. Dismiss 2:3-8:14. Defendants contend that Plaintiff has filed numerous lawsuits while he was a prisoner. Id.

Plaintiff does not dispute that he previously filed lawsuits as a prisoner.*fn1 Plaintiff contends that he answered truthfully pursuant to Local Rule 81-190 (now Local Rule 190). Pl.'s Opp'n 1-2. Plaintiff contends that pursuant to Local Rule 190(e)(1) and (2), Plaintiff was required to disclose only those cases when "petitioner has previously sought relief arising out of the same matter from this court or ...


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