Hilton v. Department of Correction and Rehabilitation et al

Filing 5

ORDER OF DISMISSAL. Signed by Judge Charles R. Breyer on 5/4/09. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service)(be, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/4/2009)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Plaintiff, a State of California prisoner, has filed a pro se complaint for damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983 challenging the conditions of his confinement at San Quentin State Prison. Plaintiff has not exhausted California's prison administrative process, however. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA") amended 42 U.S.C. 1997e to provide that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under [42 U.S.C. 1983], or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a). Although once within the discretion of the district court, exhaustion in prisoner cases covered by 1997e(a) is now mandatory. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002). All available remedies must now be exhausted; those remedies "need not meet federal standards, nor must they be 'plain, speedy, and effective.'" Id. (citation vs. DEP'T OF CORRECTION AND REHABILITATION, et al., Defendant(s). TERRY HILTON (G-41183), Plaintiff(s), ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA No. C 09-1867 CRB (PR) ORDER OF DISMISSAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 omitted). Even when the prisoner seeks relief not available in grievance proceedings, notably money damages, exhaustion is a prerequisite to suit. Id.; Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). Similarly, exhaustion is a prerequisite to all prisoner suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong. Porter, 534 U.S. at 532. PLRA's exhaustion requirement requires "proper exhaustion" of available administrative remedies. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006). The State of California provides its prisoners the right to appeal administratively "any departmental decision, action, condition or policy perceived by those individuals as adversely affecting their welfare." Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, 3084.1(a). It also provides them the right to file appeals alleging misconduct by correctional officers/officials. Id. 3084.1(e). In order to exhaust available administrative remedies within this system, a prisoner must proceed through several levels of appeal: (1) informal resolution, (2) formal written appeal on a CDC 602 inmate appeal form, (3) second level appeal to the institution head or designee, and (4) third level appeal to the Director of the California Department of Corrections. Barry v. Ratelle, 985 F. Supp. 1235, 1237 (S.D. Cal. 1997) (citing Cal. Code Regs. tit. 15, 3084.5). A final decision from the Director's level of review satisfies the exhaustion requirement under 1997e(a). Id. at 1237-38. Nonexhaustion under 1997e(a) is an affirmative defense which should be brought by defendant(s) in an unenumerated motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12 (b). Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). But a complaint may be dismissed by the court for failure to exhaust if a prisoner "conce[des] to nonexhaustion" and "no exception to exhaustion applies." 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Id. at 1120. Here, plaintiff concedes he did not exhaust available administrative remedies through the Director's level of review before filing suit. He simply states that when staff told him that they would move him to another cell the next day, rather than immediately, he "realized [he[ should file a suit" rather than proceed with his administrative grievance. Compl. at 2. This will not do. Plaintiff has not properly exhausted California's prison administrative process nor presented any extraordinary circumstances which might compel that he be excused from doing so. Cf. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741 n.6 (courts should not read "futility or other exceptions" into 1997e(a)). Accordingly, the complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice to refiling after exhausting California's prison administrative process. See McKinney v. Carey, 311 F.3d 1198, 1199-1201 (9th Cir. 2002) (action must be dismissed without prejudice unless prisoner exhausted available administrative remedies before he filed suit, even if prisoner fully exhausts while the suit is pending). The clerk shall enter judgment in accordance with this order and close the file. SO ORDERED. DATED: May 4, 2009 CHARLES R. BREYER United States District Judge G:\PRO-SE\CRB\CR.09\Hilton, T1.dismissal.wpd 3

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