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Alexander v. Nevada Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Nevada

March 22, 2017

DEMETRI ALEXANDER, Plaintiff,
v.
NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et. al., Defendants.

          ORDER REGARDING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE VALERIE P. COOKE

          Miranda M. Du UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. SUMMARY

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke (ECF No. 33) (“R&R”) relating to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (“Defendants' Motion”) (ECF No. 27). The Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' Motion be granted and Plaintiff Demetri Alexander's (“Alexander”) Amended Complaint (ECF No. 10) be dismissed. Plaintiff has objected to the R&R. (ECF No. 34.) Defendants have responded. (ECF No. 35.) Plaintiff responded to Defendants' response, and the parties then engaged in a flurry of filings about the propriety of Plaintiff's response.[1] (ECF Nos. 36, 37, 38, 39, 40.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court adopts and accepts the R&R in whole and grants Defendants' Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Alexander is an inmate in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections (“NDOC”). He is currently housed at Southern Desert Correctional Center (“SDCC”), though the events that give rise to this suit occurred at Northern Nevada Correctional Center (“NNCC”). Following screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court allowed Alexander to proceed with two claims based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”). (ECF No. 14.)

         The Magistrate Judge recommends granting Defendants' Motion and dismissing the case in its entirety. (ECF No. 33 at 6.) Specifically, the Magistrate Judge agrees that Defendant NNCC is not a legal entity subject to suit, Alexander's claims for injunctive relief have been rendered moot by his transfer to another facility, and he failed to allege deliberate indifference to support any claim for monetary damages under the ADA. (Id.) In his objection, Alexander argues that he is entitled to compensatory damages under the ADA, and that the Magistrate Judge was incorrect to conclude that his Amended Complaint does not support such a claim. (ECF No. 34.)

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Review of the Magistrate Judge's Recommendations

         This Court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where a party timely objects to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, then the court is required to “make a de novo determination of those portions of the [report and recommendation] to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where a party fails to object, however, the court is not required to conduct “any review at all . . . of any issue that is not the subject of an objection.” Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Indeed, the Ninth Circuit has recognized that a district court is not required to review a magistrate judge's report and recommendation where no objections have been filed. See United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir. 2003) (disregarding the standard of review employed by the district court when reviewing a report and recommendation to which no objections were made); see also Schmidt v. Johnstone, 263 F.Supp.2d 1219, 1226 (D. Ariz. 2003) (reading the Ninth Circuit's decision in Reyna-Tapia as adopting the view that district courts are not required to review “any issue that is not the subject of an objection.”). Thus, if there is no objection to a magistrate judge's recommendation, then the court may accept the recommendation without review. See, e.g., Johnstone, 263 F.Supp.2d at 1226 (accepting, without review, a magistrate judge's recommendation to which no objection was filed).

         B. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         A court may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A properly pled complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While Rule 8 does not require detailed factual allegations, it demands more than “labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). “Factual allegations must be enough to rise above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Thus, to survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citation omitted).

         In Iqbal, the Supreme Court clarified the two-step approach district courts are to apply when considering motions to dismiss. First, a district court must accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint; however, legal conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Mere recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, do not suffice. Id. at 678. Second, a district court must consider whether the factual allegations in the complaint allege a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff's complaint alleges facts that allow a court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Id. at 678. Where the complaint does not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has “alleged - but not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the claims in a complaint have not crossed the line from conceivable to plausible, the complaint must be dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         A complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations concerning “all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 562 (quoting Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1989) (emphasis in original)).

         Allegations in pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and must be liberally construed. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972) (per curiam); see also Hamilton v. Brown, 630 F.3d 889, 893 (9th Cir.2011); Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990). Though pro se pleadings are to be liberally construed, a plaintiff must still ...


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