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Sheikh Muftii El'ali v. C/O Fred Greer

May 2, 2012



Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants contend that plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to suit.


Plaintiff's complaint contains the following allegations. On September 8, 2010, defendant Correctional Officer F. Greer slammed plaintiff up against the wall, conducted a pat down search, and confiscated from plaintiff a vial of "Muslim Prayer Oil." Ex. A-1 to Complaint, filed February 1, 2011, at 1. Thereafter, defendant Greer released plaintiff to attend an appointment with an audiologist. On plaintiff's way back from the appointment, plaintiff encountered defendant Greer and asked for return of his prayer oil. Defendant Greer told plaintiff he didn't know what plaintiff was talking about and instructed him to get in line for his medications. Defendant Greer went into the unit office. Subsequently, he exited carrying a blue slip of paper. He approached plaintiff and said "I'm going to break you down all the way if not physically." Id. at 2. Greer reached around plaintiff and attempted to put the blue slip of paper on top of a Holy Qur'an that was on top of plaintiff's walker seat pad. As both plaintiff and Greer reached for the Qur'an, Greer grabbed plaintiff's right wrist and violently pulled it off the Qur'an. As plaintiff attempted to protect the Qur'an, defendant Greer pulled, twisted and bent plaintiff's right arm, elbow and shoulder, and slapped plaintiff into the day-room wall, causing injury to plaintiff's left knee. Another correctional officer approached and yelled to Greer to let plaintiff up. Defendant Greer then handcuffed plaintiff. On September 14, 2010, plaintiff was charged with battery on a peace officer, and on October 21, 2010, he was found guilty and assessed 121 days of lost behavioral credit.

On March 3, 2010, defendant Kimbriel questioned plaintiff about the turban plaintiff was wearing on his head, referring to it as a "rag." Ex. A-2 to Complaint, at 1. About fifteen minutes later, defendant Kimbriel went to plaintiff's cell, ordered plaintiff and his cell-mate out and began to trash the cell methodically. Defendant Kimbriel read plaintiff's legal work. Defendant Kimbriel generated a false report against plaintiff for destruction of state property.

On September 8, 2010, plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation following the altercation with defendant Greer. Plaintiff suffers from osteoarthritis with hypertrophic arthritis in his right and left hands. Ex. D to Complaint at 3. This makes it very painful for him to write by hand. Defendants Singh, Bautista, and Arnold all knew that plaintiff pursuing a possible civil rights claim for unlawful use of force and they conspired to separate him from his electric typewriter, which was necessary to pursuit of the legal claim, by ordering a senior hearing officer to find plaintiff guilty of the disciplinary charges and assess a loss of good time credits against plaintiff. Id. at 4. Defendant Cheng refused to allow plaintiff to use a computer or state-owned typewriter, and defendant Gibson found that a court order plaintiff had from the United States District Court for the Central District of California providing that plaintiff needed access to "writing materials" did not specify a typewriter as writing material.


Defendants seek dismissal of this action on the ground that plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies for his claims prior to suit.

"Section 1997e(a) of Title 42 of the United States Code provides: No 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.

This exhaustion requirement is mandatory. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001)." McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199 (9th Cir. Dec. 5, 2002). Exhaustion must precede the filing of the complaint; compliance with the statute is not achieved by satisfying the exhaustion requirement during the course of an action. Id. at 1200. Claims dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies should be dismissed without prejudice. Id.

At all times relevant to this action,*fn1

California's Department of Corrections provide[d] a four-step grievance process for prisoners who seek review of an administrative decision or perceived mistreatment. Within fifteen working days of "the event or decision being appealed," the inmate . . . ordinarily [was to] file an "informal" appeal, through which "the appellant and staff involved in the action or decision attempt to resolve the grievance informally." Cal.Code Regs., tit. 15, §§ 3084.5(a), 3084.6(c). [Footnote omitted.] If the issue [was] not resolved during the informal appeal, the grievant next proceed[ed] to the first formal appeal level, usually conducted by the prison's Appeals Coordinator. Id. §§ 3084.5(b), 3084.6(c). Next [was] the second level, providing review by the institution's head or a regional parole administrator, and the third level, in which review is conducted by a designee of the Director of the Department of Corrections. [Footnote omitted.] Id. § 3084.5(e)(1)-(2).

Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926, 929-30 (9th Cir. 2005.) Department regulations required that

(1) Informal level responses shall be completed within ...

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