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Coats v. Chaudhri

United States District Court, E.D. California

September 6, 2019

WILLIAM THOMAS COATS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAUDHRI, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 92) FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. McAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff William Thomas Coats (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action currently proceeds on Plaintiff's first amended complaint against Defendants Fairchild, Gundran, Gladden, Nguyen, and Convalecer for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment and for state law claims of medical negligence and medical malpractice.

         On December 6, 2018, Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). By this motion, Defendants seek to dismiss this action on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and has failed to state facts sufficient to establish a cause of action against each of the Defendants for deliberate indifference to serious medical need, medical negligence, and medical malpractice. (ECF No. 92.) On December 26, 2018, Plaintiff opposed the motion. (ECF No. 93.) Defendants filed a reply on January 3, 2019. (ECF No. 94.) The motion is deemed submitted. Local Rule 230(1).

         II. Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a claim, and dismissal is proper if there is a lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged under a cognizable legal theory. Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1241-42 (9th Cir. 2011) (quotation marks and citations omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (quotation marks omitted); Conservation Force, 646 F.3d at 1242; Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009). The Court must accept the well-pled factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Daniels-Hall v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 629 F.3d 992, 998 (9th Cir. 2010); Sanders v. Brown, 504 F.3d 903, 910 (9th Cir. 2007); Huynh v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 465 F.3d 992, 996-97 (9th Cir. 2006). Further, prisoners proceeding pro se in civil rights actions are entitled to have their pleadings liberally construed and to have any doubt resolved in their favor. Hebbe v. Pliler, 627 F.3d 338, 342 (9th Cir. 2010) (citations omitted).

         B. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies Standard

         1. Statutory Exhaustion Requirement

         Section 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”) provides that “[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 prisoner suits relating to prison life, Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).

         “[T]o properly exhaust administrative remedies prisoners ‘must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules,' [ ]-rules that are defined not by the PLRA, but by the prison grievance process itself.” Jones, 549 U.S. at 218 (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006)). To provide adequate notice, the prisoner need only provide the level of detail required by the prison's regulations. Sapp v. Kimbrell, 623 F.3d 813, 824 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Jones, 549 U.S. at 218).

         Defendants may raise exhaustion deficiencies as an affirmative defense under § 1997e(a) in either (1) a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) or (2) a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1168-69 (9th Cir. 2014). However, motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are only appropriate “in those rare cases where a failure to exhaust is clear from the face of the complaint.” Id. at 1169.

         If the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust available remedies, the proper remedy is dismissal without prejudice of the portions of the complaint barred by § 1997e(a). See Jones, 549 U.S. at 223-24; Lira v. Herrera, 427 F.3d 1164, 1175-76 (9th Cir. 2005).

         2.California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ...


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