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Isabel Tubach v. P. Johnson

May 18, 2012



I. Procedural History

On March 22, 2012, Plaintiff Isabel Tubach ("Plaintiff"), a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in conjunction with a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. Docs. 1, 2.A review of the record of actions filed by Plaintiff in the United States District Court reveals that Plaintiff has filed over 150 actions, with the same defendants and related allegations of sexual misconduct in prison.*fn1

II. Duplicative Claims

Duplicative lawsuits filed by a plaintiff proceeding in forma pauperis are subject to dismissal as either frivolous or malicious under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See, e.g., Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103, 1105 n.2 (9th Cir. 1995); McWilliams v. State of Colo., 121 F.3d 573, 574 (10th Cir. 1997);

Pittman v. Moore, 980 F.2d 994, 994-95 (5th Cir. 1993); Bailey v. Johnson, 846 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1988). An in forma pauperis complaint that merely repeats pending or previously litigated claims may be considered abusive and dismissed under § 1915. Cato, 70 F.3d at 1105 n.2; Bailey, 846 F.2d at 1021. Repeating the same factual allegations asserted in an earlier case, even if now filed against new defendants, is subject to dismissal as duplicative. See, e.g., Bailey, 846 F.2d at 1021; Van Meter v. Morgan, 518 F.2d 366, 368 (8th Cir. 1975). "Dismissal of the duplicative lawsuit, more so than the issuance of a stay or the enjoinment of proceedings, promotes judicial economy and the comprehensive disposition of litigation." Adams v. California, 487 F.3d 684, 688, 692-94 (9th Cir. 2007).

See Tubach v. Brown, No. 1:11-cv-01476-LJO-MJS (E.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2011) (dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging Jerry Brown and M. Guzman were involved in an alleged conspiracy with sex orgies to murder Plaintiff); Tubach v. Hense, No. 1:12-cv-00021-LJO-MJS (E.D. Cal. May 11, 2012) (dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging that Guzman is involved in an alleged conspiracy to have sex orgies and to torture and murder Plaintiff); Tubach v. Brown, No. 1:11-cv-02028-AWI-GBC (E.D. Cal. Feb. 6, 2012) (dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging Guzman's conspiracy to murder by poison in her nose; a denial of ice chips to alleviate the pain from the cancer in her tongue; and orgies); Tubach v. Guzman, No. 1:10-cv-00913-AWI-SKO (case pending for allegations that Defendant Guzman incites her cell-mates to poison Plaintiff and to provoke her to have a heart attack; stops Defendant Dr. Ezenwngo from treating her oral cancer; stops and denies her an "ice-chrono" which he is aware is the only relief for the burning caused by Plaintiff's oral cancer; and has sex orgies.) Therefore, this action should be dismissed as duplicative.

III. Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

A. 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). The PLRA's exhaustion requirement is therefore mandatory, and no longer left to the discretion of the district court. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 85 (2006) (citing Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 739 (2001)). The PLRA's exhaustion requirement requires "proper exhaustion" of administrative remedies. Ngo, 548 U.S. at 93. This means "[p]risoners must now exhaust all 'available' remedies," id. at 85, in "compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules." Id. at 90--91. The requirement cannot be satisfied "by filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective administrative grievance or appeal." Id. Further, the remedies "available" need not meet federal standards, nor need they be "plain, speedy and effective." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002); Booth, 532 U.S. at 739-40 & n.5.

It is the prison's requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper exhaustion. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007). The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") provides inmates the right to file administrative appeals alleging misconduct by correctional officers or "any departmental decision, action, condition, or policy which they can demonstrate as having an adverse effect upon their welfare." See Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, §§ 3084.1(a) & (e). In order to exhaust all available administrative remedies within this system, a prisoner must submit his complaint as an inmate appeal on a 602 form, within thirty days from the date the administrative decision or action being complained of, and proceed through several levels of appeal: (1) informal level grievance filed directly with any correctional staff member; (2) first formal level appeal filed with one of the institution's appeal coordinators; (3) second formal level appeal filed with the institution head or designee; and (4) third formal level appeal filed with the CDCR director or designee. Id. at §§ 3084.5, 3084.6(c), 3084.8(b); Brodheim v. Cry, 584 F.3d 1262, 1264--65 (9th Cir. 2009); Barry v. Ratelle, 985 F. Supp. 1235, 1237 (S.D. Cal. 1997). See Ngo v. Woodford, 539 F.3d 1108, 1110 (9th Cir. 2008) (Ngo II) (finding claims unexhausted where filed 602 inmate appeal filed after deadline).

A prisoner's concession to non-exhaustion is valid grounds for dismissal so long as no exception to exhaustion applies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1120 (9th Cir. 2003). The Court may review exhibits attached to the complaint that may contradict Plaintiff's assertions in the complaint. Tyler v. Cuomo, 236 F.3d 1124, 1131 (9th Cir. 2000); Durning v. First Boston Corp., 815 F.2d 1265, 1267 (9th Cir. 1987). In deciding . . . failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the Court may look beyond the pleadings and decide disputed issues of fact. Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1119-20. If the Court concludes that the prisoner has failed to exhaust administrative remedies, the proper remedy is dismissal without prejudice. Id.

B. Analysis

As the Court found in the identical case filed on the same date, it is apparent on the face of Plaintiff's complaint that she did not exhaust her administrative remedies prior to bringing this lawsuit.*fn2 Plaintiff states "the appeals coordinator does not process her grievances." See Compl. at 2, Doc. 1. However, he remedies "available" need not meet federal standards, nor need they be "plain, speedy and effective." Porter, 435 U.S. at 524; Booth, 532 U.S. at 739-40 & n.5.

In McCray v. Williams, 357 F. Supp.2d 774, 779 & n.1 (D. Del. 2005), an inmate plaintiff alleged a medical emergency in a ยง 1983 action and sought relief from the requirement of exhausting administrative remedies prior to bringing his federal court action, and the court noted that it could find "no caselaw supporting the proposition that exceptions should be made based upon the nature of the complaint." Neither can this court uncover an emergency exception for safety reasons, even ...

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