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Luther Jones, Jr v. California Medical Facility Custody Staff

April 12, 2013

LUTHER JONES, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA MEDICAL FACILITY CUSTODY STAFF, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kendall J. Newman United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff is a state prisoner, currently incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility ("CSATF"), in Corcoran. On November 19, 2012, this court granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and granted plaintiff leave to file a First Amended Complaint demonstrating, inter alia, that plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies before commencing this action. Plaintiff thereafter filed a proposed First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), and a motion for injunctive relief, as well as numerous other documents. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief is denied, and this action is dismissed without prejudice.

Plaintiff commenced this action while incarcerated at the California Medical Facility ("CMF"). The court initially recommended dismissal of this action based on plaintiff's express concession that he had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (See Dkt. No. 13.) Due to this clear inadequacy, the court declined to impose the filing fee pursuant to plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, and identified substantive deficiencies in plaintiff's complaint to guide him in the future.

On November 5, 2012, plaintiff filed a Notice of Change of Address, noting his transfer to CSATF, and a motion for appointment of counsel, which included plaintiff's objections to the undersigned's dismissal recommendation. Plaintiff asserted that he had exhausted his administrative remedies, but was unable to so demonstrate because he had been placed in administrative segregation, without access to his legal materials.

In an abundance of caution, this court, on November 19, 2012, vacated its dismissal recommendation, granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, and granted plaintiff leave to file a First Amended Complaint subject to the exhaustion and substantive considerations previously emphasized by the court. The court denied plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel without prejudice. (Dkt. No. 21.) The court also ordered as follows (id. at 4):

Plaintiff may send or forward a copy of this order to the litigation coordinators at CSP-COR, San Quentin State Prison, and the California Medical Facility, in support of any request to obtain copies of his pertinent legal documents. In addition, the court will send plaintiff, together with a copy of this order, copies of all documents plaintiff has filed to date in this action, together with the court's prior order. Staff at CSP-COR are directed to provide plaintiff with an adequate opportunity to review all of these documents, and to prepare an amended complaint (or a request that this action be dismissed without prejudice).

Plaintiff responded by filing numerous documents,*fn2 a proposed FAC, and a motion for injunctive relief. The FAC challenges plaintiff's conditions of confinement at CMF, as well as plaintiff's alleged adverse transfer to CSP-SOL (leading to plaintiff's transfer to CSATF). Similar to his previous complaint, the FAC, even when read in conjunction with plaintiff's additional filings, fails to demonstrate that plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies before bringing this action. While it is clear that plaintiff made several attempts to administratively challenge various conditions of his confinement, these disparate challenges (e.g., inadequate diet and medical care, denial of access to legal material and law library, confiscation of property) were submitted to various institutions over a period of time, and returned to plaintiff for a variety of reasons (e.g., in excess of authorized number of appeals in 14-day period, failure to attach pertinent documents, etc.), without any demonstration of a Third or Director's Level Review. Moreover, the FAC broadly names institutional or categorical defendants ("California Medical Facility Third Floor Custody Staff, Psych Department, Medical Department, R&R Custody Staff"), with limited allegations of specific claims against specific individuals (e.g., allegedly improper confiscation of property by correctional officers Whitten and Marin "plus the Sgt. I can't pronounce his name but know by sight;" "I wrote a 602 appeal about a custody sgt. named Beltram [but] [t]he 602 was never answered"). Despite repeated examination of the FAC and plaintiff's additional filings, this court is unable to identify a single cognizable claim against a specific individual defendant that was administratively exhausted.

Similarly, plaintiff's request for injunctive relief is so wide ranging (plaintiff seeks appointment of counsel, continued protective custody separate from the CSATF general population, transfer back to CMF, adequate diet and medical care) as to be superfluous. Moreover, because premised on plaintiff's current conditions of confinement at CSATF, plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief addresses matters entirely distinct from those presented in the FAC, which challenge plaintiff's conditions of confinement at CMF. The purpose of preliminary injunctive relief is to preserve the status quo pending a fuller hearing on the merits of the underlying claims. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65; Local Rule 231(a). Thus, a court may not issue an order against individuals or entities who are not parties to the underlying suit. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100 (1969). These rules preclude plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief on matters entirely distinct from the underlying action.

In addressing the obvious inadequacies of the FAC and pending motion, the following factors gave the undersigned pause in deciding to dismiss this action without leave to amend:

1. Plaintiff is 67 years of age.

2. Plaintiff is enrolled in the Chronic Care Program, as well as the Mental Health Services Delivery System ("MHSDS").

3. Plaintiff has been diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hepatitis C, benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH), and chronic kidney disease due to diabetes; plaintiff also suffers from peripheral artery disease and restless leg syndrome. Plaintiff has bladder control problems, is mobility impaired and uses a walker.

4. Plaintiff has been prescribed diabetic and "pre-dialysis" or "pre-renal" diets, and is allergic to ...


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