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Gregory Lane Burr v. Arnold Schwarzenegger

May 23, 2011

GREGORY LANE BURR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is defendants' November 16, 2010, motion to dismiss the first amended complaint, pursuant to nonenumerated Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b), in response to which plaintiff filed both an opposition and a proposed second amended complaint, on January 13, 2011. Plaintiff's opposition on the face of it was untimely and, although he sought no extension of time, the court will liberally deem the opposition timely filed and consider it, as well as plaintiff's proposed second amended complaint. Defendants have filed no response either to the opposition or the proposed second amended complaint.

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint

Plaintiff claims his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and equal protection as well as his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment were violated by his placement in Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP) where he alleges he contracted Valley Fever in March of 2009, the result of which has caused him to suffer night sweats, headaches, joint and body aches, scarred lungs; he also contends he has been continually denied proper medication. First Amended Complaint (FAC), pp. 4-5. Plaintiff alleges that he was particularly vulnerable to the disease in light of his Hepatitis C condition and that the defendants should have known they were placing him in an area in which Valley Fever is endemic. Id. at 4. Named defendants are former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; former Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) James Tilton; [CDCR Undersecretary] Scott Kernan; James Yates, Warden of PVSP; and Felix Igbinosa, PVSP Chief Medical Officer (CMO). Id. at 1, 3. He seeks both money, including punitive damages, and injunctive relief in the form of lifelong medical care. Id. at 4.

Motion to Dismiss

Defendants move for dismissal, under non-enumerated Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b), for plaintiff's alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies as to all defendants. Motion to Dismiss (MTD), pp. 1-6.

Legal Standard under Non-Enumerated Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)

In a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies under non-enumerated Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, defendants "have the burden of raising and proving the absence of exhaustion." Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). The parties may go outside the pleadings, submitting affidavits or declarations under penalty of perjury, but plaintiff must be provided with notice of his opportunity to develop a record. Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d at 1120 n.14. The court provided plaintiff with such fair notice by Order, filed on September 13, 2010 (docket # 14).

Should defendants submit declarations and/or other documentation demonstrating an absence of exhaustion, making a prima facie showing, plaintiff must refute that showing. Plaintiff may rely upon statements made under the penalty of perjury in the complaint if the complaint shows that plaintiff has personal knowledge of the matters stated and plaintiff calls to the court's attention those parts of the complaint upon which plaintiff relies. If the court determines that plaintiff has failed to exhaust, dismissal without prejudice is the appropriate remedy for non-exhaustion of administrative remedies. Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d at 1120.

PLRA Requirements

The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) provides that, "[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." Inmates seeking injunctive relief must exhaust administrative remedies. Rumbles v. Hill, 182 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 1999). In Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731,741, 121 S. Ct. 1819, 1825 (2001), the Supreme Court held that inmates must exhaust administrative remedies, regardless of the relief offered through administrative procedures. Therefore, inmates seeking money damages must also completely exhaust their administrative remedies. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 121 S. Ct. 1819 (inmates seeking money damages are required to exhaust administrative remedies even where the grievance process does not permit awards of money damages). The United States Supreme Court has held that exhaustion of administrative remedies under the PLRA requires that the prisoner complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 126 S. Ct. 2378 (2006). Thus, in the context of the applicable PLRA § 1997e(a) exhaustion requirement, any question as to whether a procedural default may be found should a prisoner plaintiff fail to comply with the procedural rules of a prison's grievance system has been resolved: the PLRA exhaustion requirement can only be satisfied by "proper exhaustion of administrative remedies....," which means that a prisoner cannot satisfy the requirement "by filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective administrative grievance or appeal." Woodford v. Ngo, supra, at 84, 126 S. Ct. at 2382. Moreover, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) provides that no action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted. McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198 (9th Cir. 2002), but see Rhodes v. Robinson, 621 F.3d 1002 (9th Cir. 2010) (PLRA exhaustion requirement satisfied with respect to new claims within an amended or supplemental complaint so long as administrative remedies are exhausted prior to the filing of the amended or supplemental complaint).

Administrative Exhaustion Procedure

In order for California prisoners to exhaust administrative remedies, they must proceed through several levels of appeal: 1) informal resolution, 2) formal written appeal on a CDC 602 inmate appeal form, 3) second level appeal to the institution head or designee, and 4) third level appeal to the Director of the California Department of Corrections. Barry v. Ratelle, 985 F. Supp. 1235, 1237 (S.D. Cal. 1997) (citing Cal. Code Regs. tit. xv, ยง ...


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