United States District Court, S.D. California
THEODORE J. NEWTON, Plaintiff,
S. EATON, Defendant
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION RE: DEFENDANT'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DOC. NO. 13]
KAREN S. CRAWFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Theodore J. Newton is proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis (IFP) in this civil rights action
pursuant to Title 42, United State Code, Section 1983,
alleging that his rights under the Eighth Amendment were
violated when defendant S. Eaton assaulted and used excessive
force against him on multiple occasions. [Doc. No. 1.]
the Court is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
[Doc. No. 13.] Defendant argues judgment should be entered in
his favor, because plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies before filing his Complaint in this
action. [Doc. No. 13, at pp. 13-14.] Plaintiff has filed
three submissions in opposition to defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. [Doc. Nos. 17, 20 & 21.] For the
reasons outlined more fully below, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED
that defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be GRANTED.
who has one eye and several medical issues, was housed at
R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility when the events that are
the basis for his Complaint occurred. [Doc. No. 1, at pp. 1
& 3.] In his Complaint, plaintiff alleges that on or
about August 27, 2018, defendant, who is a correctional
officer, escorted him to a medical appointment. [Id.
at p. 3.] Plaintiff alleges that while he was at the medical
facility defendant pushed him with enough force to nearly
knock him out of his chair. [Id.] Defendant is then
alleged to have leaned on plaintiff with his full weight,
pulled out a handful of plaintiff's beard, and dared
plaintiff to say anything about defendant's use of force.
[Id.] Plaintiff alleges medical staff were present
at the time and witnessed the entire incident. [Id.]
Plaintiff further alleges that he was also assaulted by
defendant on September 27, 2018, October 3, 2018 and October
4, 2018, in retaliation for plaintiff filing an
administrative grievance, and that defendant threatened to
“knock out” plaintiff's only eye.
filed his Complaint against defendant on March 15,
Summary Judgment Standards Under Rule 56.
purpose of summary judgment is to “‘pierce the
pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether
there is a genuine need for trial.””
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation omitted).
“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party “bears
the initial responsibility of informing the district court of
the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of
‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. [Citation
omitted.]” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986). To meet the burden of proof, a moving
defendant must either produce evidence negating an essential
element of the plaintiff's claim or show that the
plaintiff does not have enough evidence of an essential
element to carry its ultimate burden of persuasion at trial.
Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz
Companies, Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102 (9th Cir. 2000).
party opposing summary judgment “must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
Ltd., 475 U.S. at 586. “[T]he nonmoving party must
come forward with specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 587 (emphasis
in original, internal quotation marks omitted). “The
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
plaintiff.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Rule 56 requires the nonmoving
party to go beyond the pleadings and by his own affidavits,
or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial on all matters as to which
he has the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp.,
477 U.S. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted).
considering a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the
defendant, the Court “must determine whether the
record, when viewed in the light most favorable to [the
plaintiff as the non-moving party], shows that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the [defendants] are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Brown v.
City of Los Angeles, 521 F.3d 1238, 1240 (9th Cir.
2008). An issue of material fact is genuine “if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248. However, it is not the role of the District
Court to make credibility determinations, weigh the evidence,
or draw legitimate inferences from the facts. Id. at
Administrative Exhaustion Requirements.
1983 “provides a cause of action for the
‘deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws' of the United
States.” Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n,
496 U.S. 498, 508 (1990), quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
However, the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) includes a mandatory requirement that a
prisoner exhaust available administrative remedies before
filing suit under Section 1983. Booth v. Churner,
532 U.S. 731, 733-734 (2001). This mandatory requirement
states as follows: “No action shall be brought with
respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this
title, 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). “[F]ailure
to exhaust is an affirmative defense under the PLRA, and . .
. inmates are not required to specially plead or demonstrate
exhaustion in their complaints.” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007).
California, “[a]ny inmate . . . may appeal any policy,
decision, action, condition, or omission . . . that the
inmate . . . can demonstrate as having a material adverse
effect upon his or her health, safety, or welfare.”
Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, § 3084.1. “The California
prison grievance system has three levels of review; an inmate
exhausts administrative remedies by obtaining a decision at
each level.” Reyes v. Smith, 810 F.3d 654, 657
(9th Cir. 2016), citing Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, §
3084.1(b). Generally, “[a]t least one face-to-face
interview” must be conducted with the inmate “at
the first level of review, or the second level if the first
level of review is bypassed.” Cal. Code Regs. tit. ...