Watts v. Malak et al.
ORDER DENYING 23 Motion to vacate or set aside Judgment signed by District Judge John A. Mendez on 1/5/18. (Mena-Sanchez, L)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
QUINTON JOEY WATTS,
No. 2:16-cv-0926 JAM AC P
TAYMOUR E. MALAK, et al.,
On October 18, 2017,1 plaintiff filed a motion to vacate or set aside judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).
“Rule 60(b) enumerates specific circumstances in which a party may be relieved of the
effect of a judgment, such as mistake, newly discovered evidence, fraud, and the like. The Rule
concludes with a catchall category—subdivision (b)(6)—providing that a court may lift a
judgment for ‘any other reason that justifies relief.’ Relief is available under subdivision (b)(6),
however, only in ‘extraordinary circumstances.’” Buck v. Davis, 137 S. Ct. 759 (2017).
Through findings and recommendations filed June 16, 2017, the magistrate judge
recommended dismissal of this action for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. ECF No. 11. The
magistrate judge found that plaintiff had failed to state any federal claims in the complaint and
Since plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding pro se, he is afforded the benefit of the prison mailbox
rule. Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266, 276 (1988).
that any attempt to amend to state claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 would be futile because the
defendants were private practitioners and not acting under color of state law. Id. at 2-3. The
undersigned adopted the findings and recommendations in full on August 3, 2017. ECF No. 15.
In his motion, plaintiff asserts that the judgment should be set aside and he should be
given leave to amend the complaint because the defendants were in fact government actors. ECF
No. 23. He alleges that they were state and federal actors because even though they were private
practitioners, they received payment for their services from Medi-Cal, “California’s state plan for
providing medical assistance to qualified persons pursuant to Title XIX of the Social Security
Act.” Id. at 5-7. He asserts that he did not provide this information sooner because he did not
know it was necessary. Id.
Plaintiff’s newly alleged facts do not warrant a different outcome.
Extensive case law establishes that a private doctor or hospital
cannot be deemed a state actor merely because they are recipients
of state or federal funding. Even governmental regulation and the
receipt of federal funds, such as Medicare, Medicaid or Hill-Burton
funds, are insufficient to establish that an otherwise private hospital
or other entity acted under color of state law. Mendez v. Belton,
739 F.2d 15, 18 (1st Cir. 1984); see also Blum [v. Yaretsky], 457
U.S. [991,] 1004, 102 S. Ct. [2777,] 2785-86 [(1982)] (fact that
nursing home was extensively regulated was insufficient to
establish it as state actor); Rendell-Baker v. Kohn, 457 U.S. 830,
840-43, 102 S. Ct. 2764, 2770-73, 73 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1982) (private
school which received 90 percent of funds from government and
was extensively regulated was not state actor under section 1983).
Jackson v. E. Bay Hosp., 980 F. Supp. 1341, 1357 (N.D. Cal. 1997).
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to vacate or set aside
judgement (ECF No. 23) is denied.
DATED: January 5, 2018
/s/ John A. Mendez__________________________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
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