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Gustavo Roman v. Edward Washington

April 5, 2011

GUSTAVO ROMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD WASHINGTON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

Gustavo Roman, an inmate confined at North Kern State Prison ("North Kern"), filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's complaint concerns events alleged to have occurred while he was housed at Deuel Vocational Institute ("DVI"). In addition to filing a complaint, plaintiff has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and is before the undersigned pursuant to plaintiff's consent. See E.D. Cal. Local Rules, Appx. A, at (k)(4).

I. Request to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

Plaintiff has requested leave to proceedin forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Dckt. No. 2. Plaintiff's application makes the showing required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) and (2). Accordingly, by separate order, the court directs the agency having custody of plaintiff to collect and forward the appropriate monthly payments for the filing fee as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1) and (2).

II. Screening Order

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court shall review "a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity." 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). "On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief." Id. § 1915A(b).

A district court must construe a pro se pleading "liberally" to determine if it states a claim and, prior to dismissal, tell a plaintiff of deficiencies in his complaint and give plaintiff an opportunity to cure them. See Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1130-31 (9th Cir. 2000). While detailed factual allegations are not required, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Plaintiff must set forth "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a "probability requirement," but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Id. (citations and quotation marks omitted). Although legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations, and are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Id. at 1950.

The Civil Rights Act under which this action was filed provides: Every person who, under color of [state law] . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution . . . shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . .

42 U.S.C. § 1983. An individual defendant is not liable on a civil rights claim unless the facts establish the defendant's personal involvement in the constitutional deprivation or a causal connection between the defendant's wrongful conduct and the alleged constitutional deprivation. See Hansen v. Black, 885 F.2d 642, 646 (9th Cir. 1989); Johnson v. Duffy, 588 F.2d 740, 743-44 (9th Cir. 1978)

In addition, before a plaintiff may commence a civil rights action concerning prison conditions, he or she must exhaust the administrative remedies that are available. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, ___ (2002). While a plaintiff's failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense requiring proof of facts outside the pleadings, Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1112 (9th Cir. 2003), where it appears from the face of the complaint that exhaustion has not occurred, the court may dismiss the action under § 1915A. See Bennett v. King, 293 F.3d 1096, 1098 (9th Cir. 2002). The court has reviewed plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and finds that it must be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Here, plaintiff has provided on his complaint that he did not file an administrative grievance regarding the facts alleged in his complaint. Dckt. No. 1 at 2. Plaintiff provides as explanation that the incident complained of did not occur at the facility where he is currently housed. Id. Plaintiff's transfer from DVI to North Kern does not excuse his obligation to administratively exhaust the claims contained in his complaint. The transfer occurred between institutions that are both under the control of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and are governed by the same regulations concerning administrative grievances (California Code of Regulations, title 15, §§ 3084.1-3084.9). Nothing in those regulations prevents an inmate from filing a grievance regarding events occurring at a different institution than where the inmate is currently housed. Plaintiff's transfer from DVI to North Kern does not fall within the exceptions for failure to exhaust under current law. See, e.g., Nunez v. Duncan, 591 F.3d 1217, 1223-26 (9th Cir. 2010) (discussing potential exceptions to the exhaustion requirement and holding that, where a warden's mistake rendered a litigant's administrative remedies effectively unavailable, the litigant was excused from exhausting his claim); see also Medina-Claudio v. Rodriguez-Mateo, 292 F.3d 31, 35 (1st Cir. 2002) (holding that the plaintiff's transfer to various locations under the custody of different officials did not relieve his obligation to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit).

Thus, to proceed plaintiff must file an amended complaint describing what exception to the exhaustion requirement, if any, his case falls under.

Any amended complaint must additionally adhere to the following requirements: It must be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading. E.D. Cal. Local Rule 220; see Loux v. Rhay, 375 F.2d 55, 57 (9th Cir. 1967). Once plaintiff ...


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