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Moralez v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 19, 2017

RUDOLPH HERRERA MORALEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
RON DAVIS, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DKT. NO. 43

          WILLIAM H. ORRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Rudolph Moralez, a pro se state prisoner, claims in this federal civil rights action that in 2014 Ron Davis, warden of San Quentin State Prison, excluded him from the prison's academic programs, thereby violating his rights under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.[1] (Dkt. No. 40.) Defendant moves for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 43). Because Moralez has not shown evidence that he is or was being excluded from any prison academic program, or that Davis is responsible for such an exclusion, or that Davis had discriminatory intent, defendant's motion is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Moralez alleges defendant denied his 2014 request for a one-on-one tutor because of his disability of dyslexia.[2] (Third Am. Compl. at 3.) This denial, he alleges, prevented him from passing an entrance exam to take courses at Coastline College.[3] (Id. at 3-4.) This is what plaintiff means by being excluded from the prison's academic programs.

         The following factual allegations are undisputed unless noted otherwise. Moralez was transferred to San Quentin in 2007. (MSJ at 3.) Prior to this transfer, he earned a high school diploma and an associate's degree, and had enrolled in a distance-learning program at Coastline Community College, in which he was still enrolled after he arrived at the prison. (Id.)

         In July 2013, Coastline placed Moralez on academic probation owing to his poor grades. (Pl.'s Opp. (“Opp.”), Dkt. No. 62 at 64; Dkt. No. 63 at 15; MSJ, Noble Decl., Ex. A, Dkt. No. 44-1 at 33.) This prevented him from enrolling in Coastline for the 2013-2014 academic year.

         In August 2013, Moralez told San Quentin's education department that he had a learning disability. (MSJ at 4.) His requests for more time to take exams and complete assignments and for one-on-one assistance were granted. (Id.)

         In June 2015, Moralez filed the instant federal civil rights action. Five days later, he re-enrolled at Coastline. (Id.)

         In September 2015, Coastline asked San Quentin to allow Moralez to have extra time to take exams, a request the prison granted. (Id. at 3-4.)

         In December 2015, Moralez filed a grievance in which he requested tutoring, even though he had been eligible to receive tutoring through the prison's Voluntary Education Program (“VEP”) since 2008. (Id. at 4.)

         San Quentin does not itself provide college courses. (Id. at 5.) Rather, the institution provides access and facilities to inmates who seek to take college courses. (Id.) For instance, any general-population inmate who has a high school diploma (or GED equivalent), such as Moralez, may apply to and enroll in any “distance-learning” college. (Id. at 4.) Also, such general-population inmates may request tutoring or use the VEP classrooms at any time for study. (Id.)

         Moralez has been continuously enrolled with VEP since he joined the program in 2012. (Id. at 4.) He also took courses at Coastline Community College in the falls of 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2015, in the springs of 2011, 2012, 2013, and the summer of 2016. (Id. at 5.) He tried to enroll in the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2015, but the classes he wanted to take were full.[4] (Id.)

         Moralez alleges that he asked for an accommodation in 2014. It appears, however, that he did not file his first grievance regarding the alleged denial of his request until the end of the next year, on December 23, 2015. (Third. Am. Compl. at 1.) His second grievance was not submitted until February 4, 2016.[5] (Id.) He alleges that he filed “numerous grievances” before these, but they were “blocked, cancelled, or rejected.” (Id. at 2.) He cites his “Appendix” as support for this. However, the “Appendix” is actually a memorandum of points and authorities in support of his complaint, which I have been citing as the operative complaint. There is an exhibit appended to the operative complaint, but it is of no help to Moralez. It consists of a photocopy of a few pages ...


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