United States District Court, E.D. California
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 41) FOURTEEN (14)
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Peter Gerard Wahl (“Plaintiff”) is a former state
prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. Â§ 1983. This action proceeds on Plaintiff's third
amended complaint against Defendant Sutton (âDefendantâ) for
deliberate indifference resulting from excessive custody, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.
April 16, 2018, the Court dismissed this action for failure
to state a claim. (ECF Nos. 25, 26.) Plaintiff appealed. On
August 21, 2018, the Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed
in part, and remanded the action for further proceedings. The
Ninth Circuit found that Plaintiff's due process claim
was properly dismissed, but that, liberally construed, the
allegations in the third amended complaint were sufficient to
warrant ordering Defendant to file an answer with respect to
Plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim. (ECF No. 34.)
The Ninth Circuit issued its mandate on September 12, 2018.
(ECF No. 35.) The Ninth Circuit did not address the issues of
absolute or qualified immunity.
November 14, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). By this
motion, Defendant seeks to dismiss this action on the grounds
that the third amended complaint fails to state a claim
because Defendant is protected by absolute and qualified
immunity. (ECF No. 41.) Plaintiff filed an opposition on
January 11, 2019. (ECF No. 45.) Defendant filed a reply on
January 16, 2019. (ECF No. 46.) The motion is deemed
submitted. Local Rule 230(1).
reasons discussed below, the Court recommends that
Defendant's motion to dismiss be granted.
Summary of Relevant Allegations in the Third Amended
formerly confined at Wasco State Prison, brings suit against
John Sutton, Warden of Wasco State Prison
(“WSP”). Plaintiff alleges that on August 18,
2016, he was convicted for possession with intent to sell
marijuana and sentenced to 16 months in prison. He was
transported to WSP in September 2016.
November 30, 2016, the sentencing court ordered
Plaintiff's sentence reduced to a misdemeanor with time
deemed served. Plaintiff received a certified copy of the
order with the sentencing court's seal on December 3,
2016. Plaintiff immediately began grievance processes on
December 4, 2016, and Defendant Sutton was “grieved as
well.” (ECF No. 22, p. 4.)
learned, through post-release investigation, that the Clerk
of Court did not notify Defendant until 21 days after
court-ordered release. Defendant continued to hold Plaintiff
as a state prisoner until December 29, 2016. Plaintiff
alleges that he suffered severe psychological, emotional, and
physical distress as a result of his confinement. Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendant knew or reasonably should have
known through the prior grievances that Plaintiff was being
held unlawfully, but Defendant took no steps to rectify the
matter. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant exhibited callous
indifference to Plaintiff's grievances. Plaintiff
contends that the classification department was overburdened
and understaffed during this period.
seeks a declaratory judgment, along with damages.
Scope of Remand
remand, the District Court must proceed on the terms of the
Ninth Circuit's mandate. Stacy v. Colvin, 825
F.3d 563, 567-68 (9th Cir. 2016). The District Court may,
however, decide anything not foreclosed by the mandate, so
long as the District Court does not take actions that
contradict it. Id. at 568; Firth v. United
States, 554 F.2d 990, 993-94 (9th Cir. 1977) (“. .
. a mandate is controlling as to all matters within its
compass, while leaving any issue not expressly or impliedly
disposed of on appeal available for consideration by the
trial court on remand.”). Furthermore, while the
“law of the case” doctrine limits district court
reconsideration of issues previously determined, the ...