Espinoza v. Diaz

Filing 34

ORDER ADOPTING 26 Findings and Recommendations to Grant Defendant's 11 Motion for Summary Judgment; ORDER DIRECTING Case Closure by Court Clerk, signed by Chief Judge Lawrence J. O'Neill on 9/15/16. CASE CLOSED. (Marrujo, C)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 Case No. 1:14-cv-00872-LJO-JLT (PC) ISRRAEL ESPINOZA, 10 Plaintiff, 11 12 v. DIAZ, 13 ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO GRANT DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Docs. 11, 26) Defendant. 14 ORDER DIRECTING CASE CLOSURE BY COURT CLERK 15 16 Plaintiff, Isrrael Espinoza, is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with 17 18 19 20 a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which he filed on June 9, 2014. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. On November 18, 2015, the Magistrate Judge filed a Findings and Recommendations 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 (“F&R”) which was served on the parties and contained notice that objections to the Findings and Recommendations were to be filed within thirty days. No objections were received so, on January 11, 2016, an order adopting the F&R issued and judgment was entered. (Docs. 27, 28.) Due to clerical error, the F&R was never mailed to Plaintiff so his motion to vacate judgment was granted. (Docs. 29, 32.) Plaintiff was thereafter granted time to file objections to the F&R with which he complied. (Docs. 32, 33.) /// 28 1 1 Plaintiff is proceeding on a claim of excessive force against Defendant based on 2 allegations that while attempting to attend family visitation, Defendant harassed him and, 3 ultimately, doused him with pepper spray. Due to the incident, prison officials found Plaintiff 4 guilty of a rules violation report (“RVR”) and assessed on him 30 days loss of credit. Because 5 Plaintiff failed to demonstrate compliance with the “favorable termination” requirement imposed 6 by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 643–647 (1997), 7 the Magistrate Judge recommended granting Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 8 26.) 9 In his objections, Plaintiff asserts that the events underlying the RVR and his claims of 10 excessive force are two isolated factual contexts that took place in one continuous chain of events 11 such that he need not obtain a favorable termination of the RVR on which he was found guilty 12 before proceeding under § 1983. (Doc. 33.) Though Plaintiff cites cases with factually 13 distinguishable scenarios, it is not the case here. The factual circumstances upon which 14 Plaintiff’s excessive force claim is based also form the basis of the charges against him in the 15 RVR. Plaintiff’s version of allegations differs with those in the RVR only in as much as Plaintiff 16 alleges Defendant doused him with pepper-spray for no reason while the RVR indicates that 17 Defendant used pepper-spray in response to Plaintiff taking an aggressive stance and refusing to 18 follow an order. Plaintiff must demonstrate that the underlying RVR has been terminated in his 19 favor before he may proceed on his claims under § 1983. 20 In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), the Court has conducted a 21 de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, the Court finds the 22 Findings and Recommendations to be supported by the record and by proper analysis. 23 24 25 Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: 1. The Findings and Recommendations, filed November 18, 2015 (Doc. 26), is adopted in full; 26 2. Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, filed on October 7, 2014 (Doc. 11), which was 27 converted to a Motion for Summary Judgment on July 21, 2015 (Doc. 21), is 28 granted; and 2 1 3. The Clerk of the Court is directed to enter judgment against Plaintiff and in 2 favor of Defendant A. Diaz, and close this case. 3 4 5 6 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: /s/ Lawrence J. O’Neill _____ September 15, 2016 UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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