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Gravesbey v. Byrd-Hunt

United States District Court, S.D. California

September 23, 2019

RODNEY ALEXANDER GRAVESBEY I CDCR#E-20555, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER TOMICA BYRD-HUNT; C/O NAVARRO; OFFICER P. COVELLO, Defendants.

         REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE REGARDING DEFENDANT T. BYRD-HUNT'S MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT 3 OF THE COMPLAINT [DOC. 12] AND SUA SPONTE ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT & GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT [DOCS. 22, 26, 28] [DOCS. 12, 22, 26, 28.]

          HON. RUTH BERMUDEZ MONTENEGRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Rodney Alexander Gravesbey ("Plaintiff), a California prisoner proceeding improper and in forma pauperis, filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against several staff members at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility ("RJD"). (Docs. 1, 22, 26, 28.) Although this action is in the initial pleading stage, a lengthy procedural posture ensued and is outlined in detail below. In short, the only causes of action in the Complaint filed February 22, 2019 ("Initial Complaint") which survived a pre-answer screening are against Defendant T. Byrd-Hunt ("Byrd-Hunt"). (Docs. 1, 3.) Byrd-Hunt subsequently filed a Motion to Dismiss Count 3 of the Initial Complaint ("Initial MTD"). (Docs. 1, 12.) Thereafter, the undersigned granted Plaintiff several extensions of time to file either an amended complaint or an opposition to the Initial MTD. (Docs. 7, 15, 19, 21.)

         At issue is Plaintiffs contemporaneous filing of three documents on August 30, 2019, two of which are accepted nunc pro tunc to August 30, 2019: a "Supplemental Complaint [and] Amended Complaint" ("First Amended Complaint"); an "Opposition to Defendant's] Motion to Dismiss Count 3" ("Opposition to Initial MTD"); and a "First Amended Complaint and Opposition to Defendant's] Motion to Dismiss" ("Combined Amended Complaint & Opposition to Initial MTD"). (Docs. 22, 26, 28.) As to the latter two filings, the Clerk of Court submitted two separate Notice of Document Discrepancies to the undersigned based upon the duplicative nature of these filings and Plaintiffs failure to comply with Local Civil Rule 15.1(a) which requires an amended pleading to be "complete in itself." (Docs. 25, 27.)

         While the two Notice of Document Discrepancies were pending a ruling by the undersigned, Byrd-Hunt filed a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("Second MTD"). (Doc. 24.)

         For the reasons outlined below, the undersigned Judge GRANTS Plaintiff leave to file a Second Amended Complaint in compliance with Civil Local Rule 15.1(a). As to Byrd-Hunt's Initial MTD, the undersigned Judge issues a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 72.1(c)(1)(e). After a thorough review of the Initial MTD and supporting documents, this Court respectfully recommends Defendant Byrd-Hunt's Initial MTD be DENIED, without prejudice. (Doc. 12.)

         IL STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. Initial Complaint

         The Initial Complaint asserts, in part, Eighth Amendment violations for cruel and unusual punishment which are premised upon Byrd-Hunt's alleged refusal to contact a plumber to repair a clogged toilet in Plaintiffs cell. (Doc. 1, at 6.) The Initial Complaint also alleges Byrd-Hunt filed a false Rules Violation Report ("RVR") in retaliation against Plaintiff. (Id)

         The Court's April 4, 2019 order dismissed causes of action against Correctional Officer O. Navarro ("Navarro") and Officer P. Covello in connection with a pre-answer screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). (See generally Docs. 1, 3.) Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint seeking to allege further causes of action against additional defendants. (Doc. 6.) On June 4, 2019, the undersigned granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended superseding pleading. (Doc. 7.)[1]

         B. Initial MTD

         On June 27, 2019, Byrd-Hunt filed an Initial MTD seeking to dismiss Count 3 of the Initial Complaint including Plaintiffs claims asserting violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (Doc. 12.) Byrd-Hunt contends Plaintiff fails to state cognizable claims for relief and argues entitlement to a qualified immunity defense. (Doc. 12, at 5-8.)

         C. Court's Orders on Plaintiffs Motions for Extension of Time

         On July 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Extension of Time, " which this Court construed as a motion for extension of time to file an amended complaint. (Docs. 14-15.) The Court granted Plaintiff an extension of time to file an amended superseding pleading and cautioned Plaintiff that if he failed to file an amended pleading by July 319 2019, the Court would proceed with issuing a Report and Recommendation on the Initial MTD. (Doc. 15, at 4.) On July 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a second motion for extension of time to file an amended complaint and/or opposition to the Initial MTD, which this Court granted. (Docs. 16, 19.) The Court's order explained that it was not necessary for Plaintiff to file both an amended pleading and opposition to the Initial MTD, explaining that an opposition to the Initial MTD need only be filed "[t]o the extent Plaintiff elects not to file a First Amended Complaint." (Doc. 19, at 3.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a third motion for extension of time, and the Court granted Plaintiff up through August 30, 2019 to file either a First Amended Complaint or an opposition to the Initial MTD. (Doc. 21, at 3-4.)

         D. Plaintiffs ...


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