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Goolsby v. Gentry

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 19, 2014

THOMAS GOOLSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
GENTRY, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BASED ON PLAINTIFF'S FAILURE TO EXHAUST (DOCUMENT 33-1)

DENNIS L. BECK, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Thomas Goolsby ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff filed this action on October 25, 2011.

A. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On May 20, 2013, the Court screened Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("FAC") and found the following cognizable claims: (1) First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants Gentry, Noyce, Eubanks, Tyree, Medrano, Holman, Holland and Steadman; and (2) violation of due process against Defendants Eubanks, Tyree, Medrano, Holland and Gutierrez. The Court dismissed all other claims and Defendants.

On November 26, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the due process claims based on failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust.[1] Defendant Holman joined in the motion on December 13, 2013.

Plaintiff filed his opposition on January 6, 2014, and with Court permission, he filed a supplemental opposition on January 28, 2014.

Defendants filed their reply on March 13, 2014.

Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a surreply, along with a surreply, on March 24, 2014.[2]

On April 1, 2014, based on the parties' submission of outside evidence, the Court converted the portion of the motion to dismiss based on 12(b)(6) into a motion for partial summary judgment.

On April 10, 2014, based on the Ninth Circuit's ruling in Albino v. Baca , 747 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2014), the Court converted the exhaustion portion of the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. The Court also granted Plaintiff's request for discovery pursuant to Rule 56(d) and permitted the parties to file supplemental responses. Plaintiff filed his supplemental response on August 15, 2014. Defendants did not file a supplemental response.

In the interest of clarity, the Court will rule on the two portions of the motion for summary judgment by separate Findings and Recommendations. Therefore, the instant Findings and Recommendations address only the portion of the motion for summary judgment based on failure to exhaust the due process claim against Defendants Holland and Gutierrez. The issue is fully briefed and ready for decision pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

B. ALLEGATIONS IN FAC

Plaintiff is currently housed at the R. J. Donovan Correctional Facility. The events at issue occurred while he was incarcerated at CCI in Tehachapi, California.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Gentry, Noyce, Eubanks, Tyree and Medrano initiated a validation packet against him on the orders of Defendants Holland and Steadmon. Plaintiff alleges that this was done in retaliation for filing appeals and lawsuits against them.

He explains that in June 2010, he was placed in Ad-Seg pending conclusion of an investigation into his gang activities. On August 27, 2010, Defendant Noyce concluded the investigation and found insufficient evidence to validate Plaintiff as an associate of a prison gang. ...


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