Wyatt v. Sundaram

Filing 64

ORDER Denying 59 Motion for Reconsideration signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 09/25/2017. (Flores, E)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RICKY WYATT, 12 13 14 15 No. 1:15-cv-00895-DAD-SAB Plaintiff, v. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION SUNDARAM, (Doc. No. 59) Defendant. 16 17 On January 31, 2017, the undersigned issued an order declining to adopt the findings and 18 recommendations recommending plaintiff’s in forma pauperis status be revoked. (Doc. No. 42.) 19 On August 7, 2017, defendant filed a motion to reconsider on the basis of a recently-issued 20 decision in Harris v. Mangum, 863 F.3d 1133 (9th Cir. 2017). (Doc. No. 59-1.) 21 Generally, a motion for reconsideration may be brought in three instances, including 22 “when there has been an intervening change of controlling law.” United States v. Westlands 23 Water Dist., 134 F. Supp. 2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001). Here, defendant maintains that the 24 decision in Harris represents an intervening change in controlling law, and justifies 25 reconsideration of the court’s January 31, 2017 order. In Harris, the Ninth Circuit held that 26 “when (1) a district court dismisses a complaint on the ground that it fails to state a claim, (2) the 27 court grants leave to amend, and (3) the plaintiff then fails to file an amended complaint, the 28 dismissal counts as a strike under § 1915(g).” 863 F.3d at 1143. 1 1 The holding in Harris is inapplicable here. Defendant contends that the dismissal in 2 Wyatt v. Johnson, Case No. 2:97-cv-01789 LKK GGH (E.D. Cal.), should be counted as one of 3 three strikes against plaintiff. The court in Wyatt v. Johnson, however, dismissed plaintiff’s 4 complaint with leave to amend because plaintiff had failed to indicate what relief he sought, not 5 because he failed to state a legally sufficient claim. (See Doc. Nos. 29-1 at 2; 31 at 4.) Thus, the 6 dismissal in Wyatt v. Johnson was a dismissal under Rule 8(a), which requires every pleading, 7 whether it states a legally sufficient claim or not, to contain “a demand for the relief sought.” 8 Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(3). Rule 12(b)(6), on the other hand, concerns “the legal sufficiency of the 9 pleadings, not the appropriateness of the relief sought.” United States v. Maricopa Cty., 915 F. 10 Supp. 2d 1073, 1082 (D. Ariz. 2012); see also Traylor v. Avnet, Inc., No. CV-08-0918-PHX-FJM, 11 2008 WL 2945509, at *1 (D. Ariz. July 28, 2008) (“[F]ailure to specify relief to which a plaintiff 12 is entitled would not warrant dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).”) In 13 considering whether a complaint was dismissed for failing to state a claim under Rule 8 for 14 purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Ninth Circuit has recognized that the district 15 court must look at “the reasons underlying [the dismissal].” Knapp v. Hogan, 738 F.3d 1106, 16 1109–10 (9th Cir. 2013) (concluding that “a Rule 8(a) dismissal is [not] categorically included or 17 excluded from counting as a § 1915(g) ‘strike’”). In Wyatt v. Johnson, this court said nothing 18 about the legal sufficiency of plaintiff’s claims raised in his complaint, and it was not dismissed 19 because it failed to state a claim. (Doc. No. 29-2 at 5, 13–14.) Instead, it was dismissed because 20 plaintiff did not indicate what relief was sought. 21 Because the holding in Harris is inapposite here, defendant’s motion for reconsideration is 22 denied. 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 Dated: September 25, 2017 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 25 26 27 28 2

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