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Edward Demerson v. Jeanne S. Woodford

November 2, 2011

EDWARD DEMERSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEANNE S. WOODFORD, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sheila K. Oberto United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO EXHAUST BE DENIED TWENTY-DAY OBJECTION PERIOD

(Doc. 100)

Findings and Recommendations Addressing Motion to Dismiss

I. Procedural History

Plaintiff Edward Demerson, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 29, 2008. This action is proceeding on Plaintiff's second amended complaint, filed June on 24, 2009, against Defendants Phillips, Campos, Amaro, Clausing, Bardonnex, Munoz, and Cartagina for using excessive physical force against Plaintiff, and against Defendants Munoz, Cartagina, Gregory, and Hillard for acting with deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff's resulting injuries. The events giving rise to Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims occurred on January 25, 2006, at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SATF) in Corcoran.

On July 15, 2011, Defendants Phillips, Campos, Amaro, Clausing, Bardonnex, Munoz, Cartagina, and Hillard (Defendants) filed a motion to dismiss this action based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust the available administrative remedies.*fn1 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b). After obtaining several extensions of time, Plaintiff filed his unverified opposition on September 28, 2011, and Defendants filed their reply on October 3, 2011.*fn2 Local Rule 230(l).

II. Legal Standard

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 are required to exhaust the available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211, 127 S.Ct. 910, 918-19 (2007); McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199-1201 (9th Cir. 2002). Exhaustion is required regardless of the relief sought by the prisoner and regardless of the relief offered by the process, Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741, 121 S.Ct. 1819, 1825 (2001), and the exhaustion requirement applies to all suits relating to prison life, Porter v. Nussle, 435 U.S. 516, 532, 122 S.Ct. 983, 992 (2002).

The failure to exhaust in compliance with section 1997e(a) is an affirmative defense under which Defendants have the burden of raising and proving the absence of exhaustion. Jones, 549 U.S. at 216; Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). The failure to exhaust is subject to an unenumerated Rule 12(b) motion, and in resolving the motion, the Court may look beyond the pleadings and decide disputed issues of fact. Morton v. Hall, 599 F.3d 942, 945 (9th Cir. 2010); Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1119-20. If the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust, the proper remedy is dismissal without prejudice. Jones, 549 U.S. at 223-24; Lira v. Herrrera, 427 F.3d 1164, 1175-76 (9th Cir. 2005).

III. Discussion

A. Defendants' Motion

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has an administrative grievance system for prisoners' complaints, and the process is initiated by submitting a CDCR Form 602. Cal. Code Regs., tit. 15 §§ 3084.1, 3084.2(a). During the relevant time period, four levels of appeal were involved, including the informal level, first formal level, second formal level, and third formal level, also known as the "Director's Level," and appeals had to be submitted within fifteen working days of the event being appealed.*fn3 Id. at §§ 3084.5, 3084.6(c).

Defendants contend that they are entitled to dismissal of this action because there is no evidence that Plaintiff exhausted his claims of excessive force and denial of medical care in compliance with CDCR's grievance system. In support of their motion, Defendants submit evidence that there is no record of any appeals accepted for review at either the institutional level or the Director's level which grieved ...


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