(PC) Ricky T. Foster v. C.Baker, et al

Filing 39

ORDER ADOPTING 37 Findings and Recommendations and Granting 16 Motion for Summary Judgment signed by District Judge Dale A. Drozd on 7/19/2021. CASE CLOSED. (Jessen, A)

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Case 1:18-cv-01511-DAD-SAB Document 39 Filed 07/19/21 Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 RICKY TYRONE FOSTER, 12 No. 1:18-cv-01511-DAD-SAB (PC) Plaintiff, 13 v. 14 C. BAKER, et al., 15 ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AND GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Defendant. (Doc. Nos. 16, 37) 16 17 Plaintiff Ricky Tyrone Foster is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights 18 19 action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge 20 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 302. On February 12, 2020, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds 21 22 that plaintiff had failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing suit, due to 23 his failure to challenge the cancellation of his inmate appeal at the third level of review. (Doc. 24 No. 16.) After requesting and receiving an extension of time to do so, plaintiff filed his 25 opposition to that motion on March 4, 2020. (Doc. Nos. 27, 28.) On March 10, 2020, defendants 26 filed their reply thereto. (Doc. No. 29.) On March 24, 2020, plaintiff filed a second opposition to 27 the motion and an unauthorized surreply which the court has considered. (Doc. Nos. 30, 31.) 28 ///// 1 Case 1:18-cv-01511-DAD-SAB Document 39 Filed 07/19/21 Page 2 of 4 1 On April 16, 2020, the assigned magistrate issued findings and recommendations 2 recommending that defendants’ motion for summary judgment be denied because defendants had 3 not met their burden of establishing that plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies 4 prior to filing suit because the prison officials’ improper cancellation1 of plaintiff’s inmate 5 grievance had caused administrative remedies to become effectively unavailable to plaintiff. 6 (Doc. No. 33.) The findings and recommendations described that plaintiff had received a 7 cancellation notice informing him that although he could not resubmit his inmate appeal after its 8 cancellation, he was permitted to file a separate appeal of the cancellation decision itself, which 9 plaintiff did not elect to pursue. (Id. at 6.) Those findings and recommendations were served on 10 the parties and contained notice that any objections were to be filed within thirty (30) days after 11 service. (Id. at 9.) 12 On May 15, 2020, defendants filed objections to those findings and recommendation, 13 arguing that the Ninth Circuit has held that a plaintiff fails to exhaust available administrative 14 remedies by failing to appeal from the cancellation of an inmate appeal, even if that cancellation 15 was improperly issued. (Doc. No. 34) (citing Cortinas v. Portillo, 754 Fed. App’x. 525, 527 (9th 16 Cir. 2018)). Plaintiff filed a response to defendants’ objections on June 3, 2020 and an addendum 17 to his objections on July 16, 2020. (Doc. Nos. 35, 36.) 18 On September 23, 2020, the assigned magistrate judge withdrew the April 16, 2020 19 findings and recommendations, and issued new findings and recommendations recommending 20 that defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted due to plaintiff’s failure to exhaust his 21 administrative remedies prior to filing suit. (Doc. No. 37.) Those findings and recommendations 22 were served on the parties and contained notice that any objections were to be filed within thirty 23 (30) days after service. (Id. at 9.) On October 8, 2020, plaintiff filed his objections. (Doc. No. 24 38.) 25 1 26 27 28 The findings and recommendations explained that there was no dispute of material fact that the California State Prison, Corcoran Appeals Office improperly cancelled plaintiff’s inmate appeal at the third level of review as untimely because the office had not received plaintiff’s initial inmate grievance within thirty days after the appealed events allegedly occurred even though plaintiff had timely submitted his initial grievance within thirty calendar days of the alleged incident, in accordance with the governing regulations. (Id. at 7–8.) 2 Case 1:18-cv-01511-DAD-SAB Document 39 Filed 07/19/21 Page 3 of 4 1 In his objections, plaintiff argues that the pending findings and recommendations made 2 several factual errors and he has attempted to outline the relevant timeline of events from his 3 perspective. (Doc. No. 38 at 2–4.) Specifically, plaintiff contends that the Appeals Office never 4 actually completed its second level review of his inmate appeal; however, plaintiff confusingly 5 also asserts that the second level review was completed in an untimely fashion. (Id. at 3.) 6 Plaintiff further argues that he originally filed this claim in state court, where defendants did not 7 present arguments regarding his alleged failure to exhaust (id. at 11), and also that the state court 8 had found he had properly exhausted his remedies (id. at 7). 9 The court struggles to follow plaintiff’s assertions or how they rebut the finding that he 10 failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing suit as required. Plaintiff 11 has attached to his objections an order wherein the state court did state in cursory fashion that 12 plaintiff had administratively exhausted the inmate appeal at issue in this case. (Id. at 45.) That 13 state court order issued in the context of the dismissal of plaintiff’s writ of mandate as moot 14 because the state court concluded prison officials had responded to his administrative appeal at all 15 three levels of review. (Id.) However, it is unclear what analysis was done by and whether the 16 cancellation appeal was considered by the state court in making the statement in question. Most 17 importantly, neither that state court order nor plaintiff’s objections rebut the Ninth Circuit 18 authority which appears to control the resolution of the issue presented here. Cortinas, 754 Fed. 19 App’x. at 527 (Because under California Code of Regulations, Title 15 § 3084.6(a)(3) and (e) an 20 inmate can appeal a cancellation decision separately pursuant to the rules in § 3084.6(c), and if 21 inmate prevails, cancelled inmate appeal can be considered at the discretion of the appeals 22 coordinator, “Cortinas could have appealed his cancellation decision, this case is distinguishable 23 from Sapp, and the improper cancellation of his appeal did not render administrative remedies 24 effectively unavailable to him.”) (citing Wilson v. Zubiate, 718 F. App'x 479, 482 (9th Cir. 25 2017)); see also Felde v. Wilkins, No. 1:19-cv-00339-NONE-HBK, 2021 WL 1241075, at *4 26 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 26, 2021); Belton v. Houston, No. ED CV 19-01179-PA (DFM), 2021 WL 27 785146, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 8, 2021), report and recommendations adopted by 2021 WL 28 784961 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 26, 2021) Therefore, the court is not persuaded to depart from the 3 Case 1:18-cv-01511-DAD-SAB Document 39 Filed 07/19/21 Page 4 of 4 1 2 analysis set forth in the pending findings and recommendations. In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C), this court has conducted a 3 de novo review of this case. Having carefully reviewed the entire file, including plaintiff’s 4 objections, the court finds the findings and recommendations to be supported by the record and 5 by proper analysis. 6 Accordingly, 7 1. The findings and recommendations issued on September 23, 2020 (Doc. No. 37) are 8 9 10 adopted in full; 2. Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 16) is granted; 3. This action is dismissed without prejudice due to plaintiff’s failure to exhaust all his 11 12 13 14 available administrative remedies; and 4. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this action. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: July 19, 2021 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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