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Tagle v. State

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 23, 2017

VICTOR TAGLE, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEVADA, et al., Defendants.



         Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss filed by defendants State of Nevada, Nevada Department of Corrections, Joshua Pidilla, Christopher Day, Amy Calderwood, Homer Palalay, Manuel Portillo, Joshua Wikoff, Kyle Groover, Sean Williams, Bruce Martin, and Jeremy Bean. (ECF No. 73). Pro se plaintiff Victor Tagle filed a response (ECF No. 75), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 76).

         I. Facts

         This is a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arising from events that took place while plaintiff was incarcerated at High Desert State Prison (“HDSP”). At all times relevant to this action, plaintiff was in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”).

         On July 8, 2015, the court ordered that pursuant to its screening order (ECF No. 3), the action “shall proceed on the portion of count I, alleging excessive force, against defendant Day and count III, alleging due process, against defendants Wikoff, Portillo, Calderwood, Martin, Palazzo, Bean, Groover, Williams, Palaloy, and Padilla.” (ECF No. 6).

         In the instant motion, defendants move for dismissal or summary disposition of the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b) and 56 based on plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”). (ECF No. 73).

         As an initial matter, “an unenumerated motion under Rule 12(b) is not the appropriate procedural device for pretrial determination of whether administrative remedies have been exhausted under the PLRA.” Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1168 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)). Rather, “[t]o the extent evidence in the record permits, the appropriate device is a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Id. Accordingly, the court construes the instant motion as a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56.[1]

         II. Legal Standard

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow summary judgment when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         For purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). However, to be entitled to a denial of summary judgment, the non-moving party must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.

         In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. “When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

         By contrast, when the non-moving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the non-moving party's case; or (2) by demonstrating that the non-moving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the non-moving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159- 60 (1970).

         If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

         In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by ...

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