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Guzman v. Marshall

United States District Court, E.D. California

March 17, 2015

RAFAEL GUZMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN MARSHALL, et al., Defendants.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF No. 29]

STANLEY A. BOONE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Rafael Guzman is appearing pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

On September 19, 2014, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Pursuant to court order, Plaintiff filed an opposition on December 12, 2014, and Defendants filed a reply on December 22, 2014. On January 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed a request to file a surreply, along with a copy of the surreply. (ECF Nos. 37, 38.)

I.

DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Motion to File a Surreply

Plaintiff has filed a request to file a surreply, along with a copy of his surreply. The filing of a surreply is not authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules. The Court generally views motions for leave to file a surreply with disfavor. Hill v. England, No. CV F 05869 REC TAG, 2005 WL 3031136, at *1 (E.D. Cal. 2005) (citing Fedrick v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, 366 F.Supp.2d 1190, 1197 (N.D.Ga. 2005). However, district courts have discretion to either permit or preclude a surreply. See U.S. ex. rel. Meyer v. Horizon Health Corp., 565 F.3d 1195, 1203 (9th Cir. 2000).

In this instance, the Court has reviewed Plaintiff's surreply and finds it is not necessary to resolution of Defendants' motion for summary judgment and does not advance further arguments not already presented to the Court. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to file a surreply is DENIED.

B. Motion for Summary Judgment Standard

Any party may move for summary judgment, and the Court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (quotation marks omitted); Washington Mutual Inc. v. U.S., 636 F.3d 1207, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011). Each party's position, whether it be that a fact is disputed or undisputed, must be supported by (1) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including but not limited to depositions, documents, declarations, or discovery; or (2) showing that the materials cited do not establish the presence or absence of a genuine dispute or that the opposing party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1) (quotation marks omitted). The Court may consider other materials in the record not cited to by the parties, but it is not required to do so. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3); Carmen v. San Francisco Unified School Dist., 237 F.3d 1026, 1031 (9th Cir. 2001); accord Simmons v. Navajo County, Ariz., 609 F.3d 1011, 1017 (9th Cir. 2010).

If Defendants meet their initial burden, the burden then shifts to Plaintiff "to designate specific facts demonstrating the existence of genuine issues for trial." In re Oracle Corp., 627 F.3d at 387 (citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323). This requires Plaintiff to "show more than the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence." Id. (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, (1986)).

However, in judging the evidence at the summary judgment stage, the Court may not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence, Soremekun v. Thrifty Payless, Inc., 509 F.3d 978, 984 (9th Cir. 2007) (quotation marks and citation omitted), and it must draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and determine whether a genuine issue of material fact precludes entry of judgment, Comite de Jornaleros de Redondo Beach v. City of Redondo Beach, 657 F.3d 936, 942 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court determines only whether there is a genuine issue for trial and in doing so, it must liberally construe Plaintiff's filings because he is a pro se prisoner. Thomas v. Ponder, 611 F.3d 1144, 1150 (9th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks and citations omitted).

C. Exhaustion under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act

Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, "[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). Prisoners are required to exhaust the available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007); McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199-1201 (9th Cir. 2002). Exhaustion is required regardless of the relief sought by the prisoner and regardless of the relief offered by the process, Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001), and the exhaustion requirement applies to all suits relating to prison life, Porter v. Nussle, 435 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).

The failure to exhaust in compliance with section 1997e(a) is an affirmative defense under which Defendant has the burden of raising and proving the absence of exhaustion. Jones, 549 U.S. at 216; Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1171 (9th Cir. 2014); Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). The failure to exhaust nonjudicial administrative remedies is subject to a motion for summary judgment in which the Court may look beyond the pleadings. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1170. If the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust, the proper remedy is dismissal without prejudice. Jones, 549 U.S. at 223-24; Lira v. Herrera, 427 F.3d 1164, 1175-76 (9th Cir. 2005).

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has an administrative grievance system for prisoners to appeal any departmental decision, action, condition, or policy having an adverse effect on prisoners' welfare. Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3084.1. Prior to 2011, the process was initiated by submitting a CDC Form 602 describing the problem and the action requested, tit. 15, § 3084.2(a), and the appeal had to be submitted within fifteen working days of the event being appealed or of the receipt of the unacceptable lower level decision, tit. 15, § 3084.6(c). Up to four levels of appeal may be involved, including the informal level, first formal level, second formal level, and third formal level, also known as the Director's Level. Tit. 15, § 3084.5. In order to satisfy section 1997e(a), California state prisoners are required to use this process to exhaust their claims prior to filing suit. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 85-86 (2006); ...


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