United States District Court, E.D. California
AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT DEFENDANT'S RULE
12(b)(6) MOTION TO DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED
COMPLAINT BE DENIED ORDER DENYING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE (ECF NO. 30)
OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE WITHIN TWENTY-ONE
Perez (“Plaintiff”) is a former state prisoner
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis
with this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. This case now proceeds on Plaintiff's First
Amended Complaint (“Complaint”), filed on April
15, 2015, against defendant R. Padilla
(“Defendant”), a correctional officer, for
violation of the Eighth Amendment based on excessive force.
(ECF Nos. 12, 25, & 28).
November 15, 2016, Defendant filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff's claims are barred
by the favorable termination rule under Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); that Plaintiff failed to
state a claim for excessive force in violation of the Eighth
Amendment, and that Defendant is entitled to qualified
immunity. (ECF No. 30, p. 7). Defendant's arguments stem
from the fact that Plaintiff was found guilty of a rules
violation, specifically “Resisting/Obstructing a Peace
Officer” while in prison, resulting in a loss of 90
days good time credits. That Rules Violation Report included
findings regarding the incident that Defendant claims are
inconsistent with Plaintiff's excessive force claim in
this case. Because the Rules Violation resulted in a change
in Plaintiff's duration of confinement, however minor,
Defendant claims that Plaintiff's only recourse was to
file a petition for habeas corpus to challenge the Rules
Violation Report, and should now be precluded from pursuing
his Section 1983 claim in this Court.
December 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed a response to the motion.
(ECF No. 35). The Court heard oral argument on January 31,
2017. (ECF No. 42). Defendant's motion to dismiss is now
before the court.
reasons described below, this Court recommends denying
Defendant's motion to dismiss because a finding of
excessive force in this case would not “necessarily
imply the invalidity” of the guilty finding of
resisting/obstructing a peace officer.
PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS
was an inmate in the custody of the California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) at Avenal
State Prison (“ASP”) in Avenal, California.
Plaintiff's allegations stem from conduct that occurred
while Plaintiff was incarcerated at ASP. Plaintiff's
factual allegations follow.
alleges that, on October 23, 2013, while leaving the Dining
Hall after the evening meal, Correctional Officer Andrade
ordered Plaintiff to empty his cup of potatoes. After
Plaintiff complied, his legs were kicked out to the sides and
Plaintiff was slammed to the ground. Andrade stated
“next time I'll spray you.” Plaintiff was
then escorted to the Program Office by Correctional Officer
Medina, taken to the security cage area, and again slammed
against a wall.
point, Defendant R. Padilla entered the area and slammed
Plaintiff's head with sufficient force into the window of
an office to break the glass and cause multiple head
lacerations. Defendant Padilla then slammed Plaintiff to the
ground as he was bleeding. Plaintiff was taken to the
hospital and received stitches.
a prison disciplinary hearing, Plaintiff was found guilty of
“Resisting/Obstructing a Peace Officer.” The
relevant part of the Guilty determination is as follows:
FINDINGS: Inmate PEREZ is found GUILTY of violating C.C.R.
§ 3005(d)(1), specifically, RESISTING/OBSTRUCTING A
PEACE OFFICER. This finding is based on the following:
A) Based upon the Reporting Employee's written account of
the alleged misconduct as documented in the circumstances
portion of the CDC-115 which states in part: “PEREZ
began to become verbally hostile towards Correctional Officer
Medina, yelling, “Get your fucken hands off me mother
fucker.” PEREZ in a sudden burst pulled away from my
grasp and lunged forward, striking his head into the window
of an office door, causing the glass to break. Medical Staff
asked for PEREZ to be turned on his back to tend to his
injuries. PEREZ began to thrash about by kicking his
B) Medical Report(s) of Injury (CDC 7219) dated 10/24/13,
Completed on Inmate PEREZ AM-9461, documents injuries
consistent with the Reporting Employee's written report;
specifically, a Cut-Laceration to the head area.
C) The Two (2) Investigative Employee Reports authored by
Officer M. Esquer and Officer J. Silva in which Inmate PEREZ
did not offer any evidence supporting his claim of innocence;
PEREZ refused to participate in his own defense The
aforementioned items constitute a preponderance of evidence
and thereby support a finding of GUILTY.
(ECF No. 30-5, at p. 6)
Court screened Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint,
ordering that the case proceed against Defendant R. Padilla
only for violation of the Eighth Amendment based on excessive
force. (ECF No. 25, p. 6).
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
moves to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 12(b)(6) on
the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff's claims are barred by
the favorable termination rule articulated in Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and Edwards v.
Balisok, 520 U.S. 641 (1997); (2) Plaintiff has failed
to state a claim for excessive force in violation of the
Eighth Amendment claim; and (3) Defendant is entitled to
qualified immunity. (ECF No. 30, p. 7). Defendant also moves