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Randolph E. Garaux v. Cate

July 18, 2012





Randolph E. Garaux ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the original Complaint on January 29, 2010. (Doc. 1.) On February 5, 2010, Plaintiff consented to jurisdiction by U.S. Magistrate Judge. (Doc. 8.) The Complaint was screened and dismissed with leave to amend on August 27, 2010. (Doc. 17.) On September 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint ("1st A.C."). (Doc. 23.) Before the 1st A.C. was screened, Plaintiff filed a motion requesting leave to file an amended complaint*fn1 which was granted. (Docs. 25, 31.) Plaintiff filed the Second Amended Complaint ("2nd A.C.") on April 7, 2011. (Doc. 27.) On May 24, 2011, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a supplemental complaint and a document entitled "Supplemental Complaint" ("The Supplement"). (Docs. 28, 29.) The order addressed Plaintiff's motion as requesting leave to file an amended complaint rather than a supplement and the document was entered on the docket as a Third Amended Complaint ("3rd A.C."). (Docs. 31, 33.)

Plaintiff thereafter filed a request for reconsideration (Doc. 35) reiterating that the document he filed was a supplement to the 2nd A.C. and seeking to strike the order which erroneously granted leave to file a 3rd. A.C. (Doc. 31) and resulted in his supplement being entered and treated as a 3rd A.C. (see Doc. 33). Subsequently, Plaintiff also filed a motion requesting expedited consideration and for judicial notice. (Doc. 44.)

A. Consent

As a preliminary matter, Plaintiff's request for reconsideration by District Judge is disregarded. Plaintiff consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction on February 5, 2010. (Doc. 8.) Therefore, this action is assigned to the undersigned to resolve all pending matters pursuant to Appendix A(k)(4) of the Local Rules of the Eastern District of California. Furthermore, though not stated, even if Plaintiff had intended, his disagreement with a court's ruling does not provide basis for the withdrawal of consent. Dixon v. Ylst, 990 F.2d 478, 480 (9th Cir. 1993).

B. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) allows the Court to relieve a party from an order for any reason that justifies relief. Rule 60(b)(6) is to be used sparingly as an equitable remedy to prevent manifest injustice and is to be utilized only where extraordinary circumstances exist. Harvest v. Castro, 531 F.3d 737, 749 (9th Cir. 2008) (quotations marks and citation omitted). The moving party must demonstrate both injury and circumstances beyond his control. Id. (quotation marks and citation omitted). Further, Local Rule 230(j) requires, in relevant part, that Plaintiff show "what new or different facts or circumstances are claimed to exist which did not exist or were not shown upon such prior motion, or what other grounds exist for the motion," and "why the facts or circumstances were not shown at the time of the prior motion."

"A motion for reconsideration should not be granted, absent highly unusual circumstances, unless the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, committed clear error, or if there is an intervening change in the controlling law," and it "may not be used to raise arguments or present evidence for the first time when they could reasonably have been raised earlier in the litigation." Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co., 571 F.3d 873, 880 (9th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations marks and citations omitted) (emphasis in original).

Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration indicates that The Supplement was intended only to supplement the allegations in the 2nd A.C. and that he never intended it to be a 3rd. A.C. (Docs. 35, 36, 37.) Review of the documents Plaintiff submitted in support of his request for reconsideration along with the 2nd A.C., his motion for leave to file The Supplement, and The Supplement make it obvious that Plaintiff did not intend to file a 3rd A.C. The introduction to The Supplement specifically states that it only contains allegations regarding events which happened subsequent to the filing of this action. (Doc. 33, Supp., ¶ 3.)

Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for reconsideration is granted and his motion for leave to file and serve The Supplement with incorporated references is granted in part solely to allow the Supplement to be filed and the identifying nomenclature is to be corrected on this case's CM/ECF docket at Doc. 33, on October 14, 2011. Service of the operative pleading is addressed via concurrent order.

Accordingly, it is appropriate to proceed to screening of the 2nd A.C. and The Supplement.


A. Screening Requirement

The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that are legally "frivolous or malicious," that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1),(2). "Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

B. Summary of Allegations -- 2nd. A.C. & The Supplement

Plaintiff complains of acts that occurred while he was an inmate at Pleasant Valley State Prison ("PVSP") in Coalinga, California. In the 2nd A.C., Plaintiff names the following Defendants: CDCR Secretary, Matthew L. Cate; PVSP Warden R. H. Trimble; PVSP Appeals Coordinators C. Huckabay, J. Herrera, and H. Martinez; and PVSP Librarian, P. Castillo. In The Supplement, Plaintiff also names the following Defendants: PVSP Associate Warden M.E. Spearman; PVSP Associate Governmental Program Analyst L. Harton; and PVSP Appeals Coordinators J. Morgan, G. Duran, G. Noel, W. Fellows, and D. Foreman. Plaintiff seeks monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief.

In the 2nd A.C., Plaintiff alleges that: Defendant P. Castillo hampered his use of the law library and filed a false Rules Violation Report ("RVR") against him in retaliation for Plaintiff having filed an inmate grievance against him (Doc. 27, 2nd A.C., ¶¶ 5, 34-50); Defendants Huckabay, Herrera, and Martinez ratified Castillo's actions via their rulings on Plaintiff's subsequent appeals and/or their actions that thwarted his use of the grievance process (id., at ¶¶ 12, 31, 32); Defendants Cate and Trimble were responsible for the operation, management, supervision, and general control of CDCR and PVSP; and that Defendants Cate and Trimble were only named as nominal defendants for prospective relief purposes (id., at ¶¶ 8, 10, 11).

In The Supplement, Plaintiff alleges that: as an intermediate managerial level supervisor, Defendant Spearman was responsible for the overall operation an management and supervision and control of D-Facility at PVSP (Doc. 33, Supp., ¶ 6) and that Defendants Huckabay, Herrera, Martinez, Harton, Morgan, Duran, Noel, Fellows, and Foreman ratified Castillo's retaliatory conduct and impeded his ability to exhaust his administrative remedies via their involvement in the processing and handling of his inmate appeals (id., at ¶¶ 8, 9, 16-47).

As discussed in greater detail herein below, Plaintiff states a cognizable claim against Defendant P. Castillo for retaliating against him in violation of the First Amendment. However, Plaintiff fails to state any other claims such that all ...

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