J. R. WILKERSON, AKA Adonai El-Shaddai, AKA James Wilkerson, Plaintiff-Appellant,
B. WHEELER; N. ALBONICO; D. L. THOMPSON; G. TURNER, Defendants-Appellees
Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California:
September 9, 2014.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. D.C. No. 2:06-cv-01898-KJM-EFB. Kimberly J. Mueller, District Judge, Presiding.
Prisoner Civil Rights
The panel reversed the district court's summary judgment and vacated a judgment, entered following a jury trial, in an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that correctional officers used excessive force in restraining plaintiff while he was incarcerated at High Desert State Prison in California.
Rejecting the government's argument that plaintiff waived his right to appeal the magistrate judge's findings regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies, the panel held that plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies against defendant Sergeant Gary Turner. The panel held that plaintiff's grievance alerted the prison to the nature of the wrong for which redress was sought by (1) describing the use of force; (2) identifying Turner as one of the responding officers; and, (3) specifically describing Turner's use of force.
The panel held that plaintiff was prejudiced by the district court's jury instructions that plaintiff had been disciplined for resisting the officers. The panel concluded that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994), did not require the challenged jury instruction because the duration of plaintiff's indefinite life sentence was not at stake. The panel further held that the instruction was misleading and prejudicial because it contradicted plaintiff's testimony that he had not resisted the prison guards.
The panel reversed the award of summary judgment to Turner, vacated the judgment as to the other officers, and remanded for a new trial. Because the panel vacated the judgment on the basis that the jury instructions were improper, it did not reach any of plaintiff's other arguments.
Su-Han Wang (argued), Mark R.S. Foster, and Samuel S. Song, Morrison & Foerster LLP, San Francisco, California, for Plaintiff-Appellant Adonai El-Shaddai.
Jaime M. Ganson (argued), Deputy Attorney General; Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California; Jonathan L. Wolff, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Thomas S. Patterson, Supervising Deputy Attorney General, Sacramento, California, for Defendants-Appellees B. Wheeler, N. Albonico, and G. Turner.
Before: Stephen Reinhardt, Ronald M. Gould, and Marsha S. Berzon,
Ronald M. Gould, Circuit Judge:
Adonai El-Shaddai (" El-Shaddai" ) alleges that correctional officers used excessive force in restraining him while he was incarcerated at High Desert State Prison in California. El-Shaddai sued the officers and the prison librarian under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that they violated his federal constitutional rights. Defendants prevailed at trial. El-Shaddai appeals, contending that: (1) the district court erred by instructing the jury that it was established that El-Shaddai resisted the correctional officers; (2) the district court abused its discretion in excluding certain witnesses and evidence; (3) the failure to appoint counsel for El-Shaddai was an abuse of discretion; and (4) the order granting summary judgment to Sergeant Turner, one of the correctional officers, for El-Shaddai's failure to exhaust administrative remedies was error. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Because the district court erred in granting summary judgment to Turner, and because the jury instructions were misleading, we reverse the award of summary
judgment to Turner, vacate the judgment as to the other officers, and remand for a new trial. Because we vacate the judgment on the basis that the jury instructions were improper, we do not reach any of El-Shaddai's other arguments.
El-Shaddai alleges that while incarcerated at High Desert State Prison in California, three prison guards used excessive force to restrain him. According to El-Shaddai, he was in the prison law library under the escort of two guards, Officer Bobby Wheeler (" Wheeler" ) and Lieutenant Nickolus Albonico (" Albonico" ). El-Shaddai gave his legal documents to the prison librarian to copy. When Wheeler and Albonico attempted to bring El-Shaddai back to his cell, El-Shaddai said that he would not leave without his documents and that he needed to use a stapler located in another office, and began to walk away from the officers. The officers viewed this as resistance, and tackled and restrained El-Shaddai. A third officer, Sergeant Gary Turner (" Turner" ), assisted in restraining El-Shaddai. The officers testified that, while restrained, El-Shaddai kicked and twisted. During the struggle, El-Shaddai yelled that his leg was broken. As a result of this incident, El-Shaddai ...