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Lorenzo Gregge, Jr v. Matthew Kate

October 19, 2012

LORENZO GREGGE, JR.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW KATE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff, a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pending before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss (Doc. 41). Defendants argue, among other things, that plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff alleges generally that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his health and safety, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, he claims that he was exposed to and eventually contracted "Valley Fever" while at Pleasant Valley State Prison. As to defendant Kate, plaintiff alleges he is liable because "[h]e is legally responsible for the care, custody, treatment, training, discipline, and employment of inmates. . . ." As to defendant Yates, plaintiff claims that he is liable by virtue of his role as prison warden.

B. Procedural History

On May 14, 2010, the court dismissed the complaint at the screening stage, concluding that plaintiff had not stated a claim for relief against the named supervisory defendants. Plaintiff appealed and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded in an unpublished memorandum disposition issued on July 22, 2011. The court stated:

Gregge's complaint, liberally construed, did not seek to allege a respondeat superior theory of liability. Rather, Gregge alleged that defendants implemented a policy that resulted in the denial of his constitutional rights. See Redman v. Cnty. of San Diego, 942 F.2d 1435, 1446 (9th Cir. 1991) (en banc) ("Supervisory liability exists even without overt personal participation in the offensive act if supervisory officials implement a policy so defective that the policy itself is a repudiation of constitutional rights and is the moving force of the constitutional violation." (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)). . . .

Following issuance of the mandate on August 15, 2011, the court directed service of the action on defendants.

II. STANDARDS FOR MOTION TO DISMISS

A motion to dismiss based on a prisoner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is properly the subject of an unenumerated motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b). See Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). "In deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust non-judicial remedies, the court may look beyond the pleadings and decide disputed issues of fact." Id. at 1119-20. Where the court looks beyond the pleadings to a factual record in deciding the motion to dismiss, which is ". . . a procedure closely analogous to summary judgment," the court must assure that the plaintiff has fair notice of his opportunity to develop a record. Id. at 1120 n.14 (referencing the notice requirements outlined in Rand v. Rowland, 154 F.3d 952 (9th Cir. 1998) (en banc), and Klingele v. Eikenberry, 849 F.2d 409 (9th Cir. 1988). Defendants bear the burden of establishing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit. See Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1120. If the court concludes that administrative remedies have not been exhausted, the unexhausted claim should be dismissed without prejudice. See id. at 1120; see also Jones v. Bock, 127 S.Ct. 910 (2007).

III. DISCUSSION

Prisoners seeking relief under § 1983 must exhaust all available administrative remedies prior to bringing suit. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). This requirement is mandatory regardless of the relief sought. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001) (overruling Rumbles v. Hill, 182 F.3d 1064 (9th Cir. 1999)). Because exhaustion must precede the filing of the complaint, compliance with § 1997e(a) is not achieved by exhausting administrative remedies while the lawsuit is pending. See McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199 (9th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court addressed the exhaustion requirement in Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007), and held: (1) prisoners are not required to specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in the complaint because lack of exhaustion is an affirmative defense which must be pleaded and proved by the defendants; (2) an individual named as a defendant does not necessarily need to be named in the grievance process for exhaustion to be considered adequate because the applicable procedural rules that a prisoner must follow are defined by the particular grievance process, not by the PLRA; and (3) the PLRA does not require dismissal of the entire complaint if only some, but not all, claims are unexhausted.

The Supreme Court also held in Woodford v. Ngo that, in order to exhaust administrative remedies, the prisoner must comply with all of the prison system's procedural rules so that the agency addresses the issues on the merits. 548 U.S. 81, 89-96 (2006). Thus, exhaustion requires compliance with "deadlines and other critical procedural rules." Id. at 90. Partial compliance is not enough. See id. Substantively, the prisoner must submit a grievance which affords prison officials a full and fair opportunity to address the prisoner's claims. See id. at 90, 93. The Supreme Court noted that one of the results of proper exhaustion is to reduce the quantity of prisoner ...


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