York v. Stewart et al

Filing 43

ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, GRANTING Motion for Summary Judgment, GRANTING Motion to Strike, DENYING Motion for Sanctions, and REFERRING matter back to the Magistrate Judge 24 , 29 , 30 and 39 ; Defendant Stewart dismissed, signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 03/21/18. (Martin-Gill, S)

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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 REGINALD RAY YORK, 12 Plaintiff, 13 16 ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, GRANTING MOTION TO STRIKE, DENYING MOTION FOR SANCTIONS, AND REFERRING MATTER BACK TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE 17 (Doc. Nos. 24, 28, 29, 30, 39) 14 v. No. 1:15-cv-01828-DAD-BAM M. STEWART, et al., 15 Defendants. 18 Plaintiff Reginald Ray York is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action 19 20 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge 21 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. 22 On June 15, 2017, defendant Stewart filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that 23 plaintiff had failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies concerning his claim against 24 defendant Stewart prior to filing suit as is required. (Doc No. 24.) Because plaintiff submitted 25 two oppositions to this motion (see Doc. Nos. 26, 28), defendant Stewart filed a motion to strike 26 plaintiff’s second opposition as an unauthorized sur-reply on August 14, 2017. (Doc. No. 29.) 27 On September 8, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions against defendant Stewart and his 28 ///// 1 1 counsel under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b), based largely on the filing of the motion to 2 strike. (Doc. No. 30.) 3 On February 20, 2018, the assigned magistrate judge issued findings and 4 recommendations addressing all of these motions. (Doc. No. 39.) Therein, the magistrate judge 5 recommended striking and disregarding plaintiff’s second response to defendant Stewart’s motion 6 for summary judgment. (Id. at 3–4.) The magistrate judge also recommended that plaintiff’s 7 motion for sanctions be denied, including plaintiff’s request for an order requiring the California 8 Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide inmates with tablets and email service 9 with the court. (Id. at 4–6.) Finally, the magistrate judge found that plaintiff had failed to 10 exhaust his available administrative remedies on his claim against defendant Stewart for the 11 alleged failure to decontaminate plaintiff’s cell and, therefore, recommended that defendant 12 Stewart’s motion for summary judgment be granted. (Id. at 7–15.) The parties were given 13 fourteen days to object to the findings and recommendations. (Id. at 15.) Plaintiff timely filed 14 objections on March 12, 2018. (Doc. No. 40.) 15 In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), the undersigned has 16 conducted a de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, including 17 plaintiff’s objections, the undersigned concludes the findings and recommendations are supported 18 by the record and by proper analysis. 19 Plaintiff objects to the granting of the motion for summary judgment because he asserts 20 that he did not know defendant Stewart’s name at the time he sought to exhaust his administrative 21 remedies, and therefore was not required by the prison’s regulations to identify defendant Stewart 22 in his inmate grievance. (Doc. No. 40 at 6.) Plaintiff’s inmate grievance, however, specifically 23 addressed only the alleged use of excessive force, not the failure of any prison official to 24 decontaminate plaintiff’s cell. (Doc. No. 39 at 13.) Moreover, the only potential reference to 25 defendant Stewart in plaintiff’s inmate grievance was his statement therein that he was “never 26 allowed to speak to the lieutenant to document the condition of my cell and the damage to my 27 personal property or to ISU for being assaulted by the sergeants.” (Id.) Plaintiff’s objections also 28 indicate that his claim against defendant Stewart is not that this defendant failed to decontaminate 2 1 his cell, but rather that he failed to appropriately supervise the defendant officers who searched 2 his cell and failed to appropriately document the condition of that cell. (Id. at 9–10.) In sum, it 3 appears that plaintiff’s inmate grievance—and possibly even his complaint in this case—was 4 simply that defendant Stewart failed to adequately document what had occurred. However, no 5 such claim was found by the court to be cognizable against defendant Stewart in this action. 6 Instead, this litigation is proceeding on an alleged Eighth Amendment claim asserting defendant 7 Stewart knew that pepper spray had been used in plaintiff’s cell, that the cell was not 8 decontaminated, and that plaintiff was returned to the cell. Plaintiff may not change the nature of 9 the claims found to be cognizable in the course of objecting to the pending findings and 10 recommendations. See Arceo v. Salinas, No. 2:11-cv-2396 MCE KJN P, 2016 WL 6897226, at 11 *2 (E.D. Cal. Nov. 23, 2016) (“Plaintiff cannot, through objections, change the nature of his 12 pleading.”); Perkins v. Pfeiffer, No. 1:08-cv-00516-AWI-GSA PC, 2008 WL 5220997, at *1 13 (E.D. Cal. Dec. 15, 2008) (same). 14 Meanwhile, plaintiff also objects to the recommendation that his second opposition to 15 defendant Stewart’s summary judgment motion be struck, suggesting that the magistrate judge 16 should have instead struck his first opposition because it was not filed by him and did not reflect 17 his signature. (Id. at 15–17.) In fact, the opposition considered by the magistrate judge did 18 reflect plaintiff’s signature. (Doc. No. 26 at 25.) Plaintiff has not presented any authority 19 demonstrating the magistrate judge erred in accepting his earliest filed opposition and considering 20 it in ruling on the pending motion. Plaintiff has likewise not explained how or why he would 21 have prevailed in opposing the motion for summary judgment, even if his second, unauthorized, 22 opposition were considered by the court. Therefore, the court will accept the magistrate judge’s 23 recommendation and strike plaintiff’s unauthorized second opposition to the pending motion for 24 summary judgment. 25 Finally, plaintiff objects to the magistrate’s recommendation that his motion for sanctions 26 be denied. The undersigned concludes that the objections provide no basis upon which this court 27 should decline to adopt the magistrate judge’s findings and recommendations in this regard. 28 Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion for sanctions will be denied. 3 1 2 For all of these reasons: 1. 3 4 The findings and recommendations issued on February 20, 2018 (Doc. No. 39), are adopted in full; 2. Defendant Stewart’s motion to strike plaintiff’s August 4, 2017, second and 5 unauthorized, opposition to the motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 29), is 6 granted; 7 3. 8 9 stricken; 4. 10 11 Plaintiff’s second, unauthorized, opposition, filed on August 4, 2017 (Doc. No. 28), is Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions and for injunctive relief (Doc. No. 30) is denied in its entirety; 5. Defendant Stewart’s motion for summary judgment due to plaintiff’s failure to exhaust 12 his available administrative remedies with respect to his claim against defendant 13 Stewart (Doc. No. 24) is granted; 14 6. Defendant Stewart is dismissed from this action, without prejudice, due to plaintiff’s 15 failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies with respect to his claim 16 against defendant Stewart prior to filing suit as required; and 17 7. 18 19 20 This action is referred back to the magistrate judge for further proceedings consistent with this order. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: March 21, 2018 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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