United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AS TO REMAINING FEDERAL CLAIM; AND REMANDING STATE
LAW CLAIMS TO STATE COURT
a state prisoner currently incarcerated at the California
State Prison - Sacramento, filed this action as a civil
action in the Del Norte County Superior Court, Case No.
CVUJ13-1181, alleging constitutional violations that occurred
during his previous incarceration at Pelican Bay State Prison
(“PBSP”). Defendants removed the action to
federal court on the ground that certain of his claims arise
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
claims pending in this action include the following: a First
Amendment claim stemming from the mishandling of three pieces
of his legal mail in 2011; and various related claims under
state law. Dkt. 1 at 13-30. Plaintiff named the following as
Defendants: California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) Former Secretary Matthew
Cate; PBSP Warden G. D. Lewis; Former Chief of the Office of
Appeals J. Lozano; Former PBSP Chief Deputy Warden Defendant
M. Cook; Former PBSP Associate Warden P. Smith; and PBSP
Captain Defendant T. Wood. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.
the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Dkt. 50. Plaintiff, although granted the opportunity to do
so, has not filed an opposition to Defendants'
reasons outlined below, the Court GRANTS the motion for
summary judgment as to Plaintiff's First Amendment claim,
and remands his remaining state law claims to state court.
this action was removed to federal court, the Court issued a
scheduling order upon finding that Plaintiff had alleged the
following cognizable claims against the named Defendants:
violation of the First Amendment based on Plaintiff's
allegations that Defendants, on various occasions:
improperly failed to deliver his “privileged”
incoming and outgoing mail “on or about the 30th day of
September 2011 and on or about the 5th day of October 2011 up
to and including the 26th day of July 2012”; and
participated in “a series of events that led to their
witholding [sic], seizing, [and] storing [his] privileged
correspondences of September 30, 2011 and October 5,
similar violations of the First Amendment against those
Defendants who reviewed Plaintiff's prison grievances
and/or 602 inmate appeals and did not remedy the
aforementioned First Amendment violations; and
retaliation claim against Defendants for retaliating against
Plaintiff for filing prison grievances relating to the
aforementioned First Amendment violations. Dkt. 13 at 2
(citing Dkt. 1 at 13-30). As mentioned, Plaintiff also
alleged that Defendants' aforementioned actions violated
provisions of California state law. The Court noted that
“federal supplemental jurisdiction statute provide[d]
that “‘district courts shall have supplemental
jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to
claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that
they form part of the same case or controversy under Article
III of the United States Constitution.'”
Id. (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a)). Thus, the
Court found that, liberally construed, Plaintiff's
allegations satisfied the statutory requirement. Id.
Accordingly, the Court decided to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims.
Id. The Court also dismissed all claims against the
Doe Defendants. Id. at 2-3.
to the briefing schedule, Defendants first moved to dismiss
the complaint on the following grounds, namely that: (1) they
were immune from suit in federal court under the Eleventh
Amendment as to Plaintiff's official-capacity damages
claims; (2) Plaintiff's claims for mental or emotional
injuries were barred under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) because
he did not allege that he suffered a physical injury; and (3)
Plaintiff's state law claims should be dismissed or, in
the alternative, should be limited because Plaintiff failed
to comply with the claim presentation requirements under the
California Government Tort Claims Act (“CTCA”).
Dkt. 14. The Court granted in part and denied in part
Defendants' motion to dismiss. Dkt. 20. First, the Court
denied Defendants' motion as to the first ground because
they waived their Eleventh Amendment immunity as to the
entire case when they removed this case to federal court.
Id. at 2-3. Second, because Plaintiff's
complaint raised First Amendment claims, the Court determined
that he need not allege a physical injury as a precondition
to recovering damages. Id. at 3-4. On this basis,
the Court denied Defendants' motion as to the second
ground that Plaintiff's damages claims based on mental or
emotional injuries must be dismissed under section 1997e(e).
Id. Third, the Court granted Defendants' request
to limit Plaintiff's state law claims to those that were
properly presented to the California Victim Compensation and
Government Claims Board in claim number G607201. Id.
at 4-7. In essence, aside from the state law claims stemming
from the alleged July 26, 2012 constitutional violations, the
Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss as to their
argument that Plaintiff failed to comply with the CTCA as to
the remaining state law claims. Id. at 7
(emphasis in original). The dismissal was without prejudice
to Plaintiff filing a motion to reconsider the dismissal of
those remaining state law claims if he could in good faith
properly allege compliance with the CTCA. Id. The
Court then directed Defendants to file a motion for summary
judgment (if they believed the remaining claims could be
resolved by summary judgment), and issued a second briefing
schedule. Id. at 7-8.
to the second briefing schedule, Defendants filed their first
motion for summary judgment based on the ground that
Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a), as to his federal claims. Dkt. 27. On September 13,
2016, the Court granted in part and denied in part the motion
for summary judgment as to the federal claims and continued
to retain supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
state law claims. Dkt. 45. Specifically, the Court granted
Defendants' motion as to Plaintiff's retaliation
claim and denied it as to his First Amendment claim relating
to the mishandling of legal mail. Id. at 8-14. The
Court then directed Defendants to address the remaining First
Amendment and state law claims pursuant to a third briefing
schedule. Id. at 14-15.
to the third briefing schedule, Defendants' have now
filed another dispositive motion-the instant motion for
summary judgment based on the following grounds that: (1)
Plaintiff cannot establish his First Amendment claim because
he cannot show the requisite personal involvement by
Defendants or that Defendants are liable for the misconduct
alleged; (2) Plaintiff cannot provide evidence sufficient to
support his state-law claim for concealment and intentional
misrepresentation; and (3) Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity. Dkt. 50 at 5.
read and considered the papers submitted herewith, the Court
GRANTS Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to the
federal claim, and remands the remaining state law claims to
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that a party may move for
summary judgment on some or all of the claims or defenses
presented in an action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)(1). The district
court shall grant summary judgment when “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986). The moving party has the burden of
establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) (requiring citation to
“particular parts of materials in the record”).
If the moving party meets this initial burden, the burden
then shifts to the non-moving party to present specific facts
showing that a genuine issue for trial exists. See
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).
district court may only consider admissible evidence in
ruling on a motion for summary judgment. See Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(e); Orr v. Bank of America, 285 F.3d 764,
773 (9th Cir. 2002). In support of the motion for summary
judgment, Defendants have presented declarations from the
following: Defendants Cook, Lozano, Smith, and Wood; PBSP
Mailroom Supervisor R. Kuzmicz; and Deputy Attorney General
Alicia A. Bower (Defendants' attorney). Dkts. 51-55, 60.
Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion for
summary judgment, he has filed a verified complaint. Dkt. 1
at 32. The Court will construe this filing as an affidavit
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, insofar as they are
based on personal knowledge and set forth specific facts
admissible in evidence. See Schroeder v. McDonald,
55 F.3d 454, 460 & nn.10-11 (9th Cir. 1995).