Jeffers v. Ortega, et al, No. 2:2004cv00572 - Document 150 (D. Ariz. 2006)

Court Description: ORDER granting 86 Motion to Dismiss Case. Defendant Lizaragga's motion to dismiss the amended complaint [Docket No. 86] is granted. Plaintiff's amended complaint is hereby dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Mary H Murguia on 08/23/06. (KCS)
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Jeffers v. Ortega, et al 1 Doc. 150 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 JAY JEFFERS, JR., 9 10 11 12 13 14 ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) ) JOSEPH ORTEGA, REBECCA ) SPURLOCK, CORPORAL WILLIAMS, ) DR. LIZARRAGA, ) ) Defendants. ) ____________________________ ) CIV 04-0572 PHX MHM (LOA) ORDER 15 Before the Court is Defendant Lizarraga’s motion to 16 dismiss Plaintiff’s amended complaint [Docket No. 86] pursuant 17 to Rule 12(c), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. 18 I Procedural History 19 Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Pinal County Jail 20 from December 16, 2000, through April 2, 2001. 21 2004, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint pursuant 22 to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional 23 rights. 24 Ortega, Williams, and Spurlock to answer the allegation that 25 they 26 medical needs in violation of Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment 27 rights. On March 22, On September 3, 2004, the Court ordered Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff’s serious See Docket No. 9. 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 1 of 7 Dockets.Justia.com 1 Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint to add 2 Dr. Lizarraga as a defendant in this matter on March 29, 2005, 3 and another motion to amend his complaint on May 4, 2005. 4 Docket No. 23 & Docket No. 39. 5 Court, Plaintiff lodged a proposed amended complaint on June 3, 6 2005. 7 amended complaint on Defendants Williams and Ortega, and to 8 serve the amended complaint on Defendant Lizarraga. 9 No. 44. See Pursuant to an order of the On June 9, 2005, the Court ordered Plaintiff to serve the See Docket Defendants Ortega, Williams, and Spurlock answered the 10 amended complaint on August 1, 2005. 11 September 20, 2005, Defendant Lizarraga filed an answer to the 12 amended complaint. 13 See Docket No. 49. On See Docket No. 75. Defendant Lizarraga filed a motion to dismiss the 14 amended 15 Defendant 16 dismissed because Plaintiff did not file his section 1983 17 complaint 18 Plaintiff filed a response to the motion on December 23, 2005. 19 Docket No. 115 & Docket No. 116.1 Defendant filed a reply to the 20 response on January 26, 2006. complaint asserts within on October 11, Plaintiff’s the 2005. claims applicable Docket against statute him of be See Docket No. 126. II DISCUSSION 22 A. Standard for granting a motion to dismiss 23 In reviewing the defendants’ motions under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), the district court views the facts as presented in the pleadings in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, accepting as true all the 25 must 86. limitations. 21 24 No. 26 1 27 Defendants Ortega, Williams, and Spurlock filed a motion for partial summary judgment on December 16, 2005. See Docket No. 109. 28 -2- Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 2 of 7 1 2 allegations in their complaint and treating as false those allegations in the answer that contradict the plaintiffs’ allegations. 3 Hoeft v. Tucson Unified Sch. Dist., 967 F.2d 1298, 1301 (9th 4 Cir. 1992). 5 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir. 1990) (“[T]he allegations of the 6 non-moving party must be accepted as true, while the allegations 7 of the moving party which have been denied are assumed to be 8 false.”); Patel v. Contemporary Classics of Beverly Hills, 259 9 F.3d 123, 126 (2d Cir. 2001) (“The standard for granting a Rule 10 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that 11 of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim.”); 12 Pooley v. National Hole-In-One Assoc., 89 F. Supp. 2d 1108, 1109 13 (D. Ariz. 2000). See also Hal Roach Studios v. Richard Feiner & Co., 14 Judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c), 15 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, may be granted when the 16 pleadings indicate that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts 17 in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief. 18 Enron Oil Training & Transp. Co. v. Welbrook Ins. Co., Ltd., 132 19 F.3d 526, 528 (9th Cir. 1997). 20 dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), 21 the Court must take the factual allegations of the complaint as 22 true and construe them in the light most favorable to the 23 plaintiff. 24 1119, 1121 (9th Cir. 2002); Epstein v. Washington Energy Co., 83 25 F.3d 26 complaints are held to a less strict standard than those drafted 27 by counsel. 1136, See When deciding a motion to See Galbraith v. County of Santa Clara, 307 F.3d 1140 (9th Cir. 1996). Additionally, pro se See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S. Ct. 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA -3- Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 3 of 7 1 285, 292 (1976). 2 prisoner’s civil rights action unless it is “beyond doubt that 3 the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim 4 which would entitle him to relief.” 5 2. 6 Defendant It is not appropriate to dismiss a pro se Id. Statute of limitations Lizarraga asserts Plaintiff’s Eighth 7 Amendment claim against him must be dismissed because Plaintiff 8 did not file his complaint within the two-year statute of 9 limitations applicable to section 1983 actions filed by Arizona 10 inmates. 11 The federal courts apply state statutes of limitation 12 to claims brought by prisoners pursuant to section 1983. 13 Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276, 105 S. Ct. 1938, 1947 14 (1985). 15 years. 16 1988); Marks v. Parra, 785 F.2d 1419, 1420 (9th Cir. 1986). 17 Additionally, 18 appropriate 19 applicable state rule for tolling that statute of limitations 20 for actions brought under § 1983.” 21 The tolling provisions for prisoners civil rights suits in 22 Arizona are contained in Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-502. 23 Pursuant to this statute, imprisonment tolls the applicable 24 statute of limitations until the date the prisoner discovers, or 25 with reasonable diligence should have discovered, his right to 26 sue the defendant. See In Arizona, the relevant statute of limitations is two See, e.g., DeLuna v. Farris, 841 F.2d 312, 313 (9th Cir. “federal state courts statute of must apply not only the limitations, but also the DeLuna, 841 F.2d at 314. Id. at 315. 27 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA -4- Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 4 of 7 1 However, when a section 1983 claim accrues and the 2 relevant statute of limitations begins to run against the 3 claimant is determined according to federal law. 4 471 U.S. at 275, 105 S. Ct. at 1946-47; Elliott v. City of Union 5 City, 25 F.3d 800, 802 (9th Cir. 1994). 6 Circuit Court of Appeals, the statute of limitations in a 7 section 1983 action begins to run when the plaintiff knows, or 8 has reason to know, that he has been injured. 9 Stone, 84 F.3d 1121, 1128 (9th Cir. 1996) (“A claim accrues when 10 the plaintiff knows, or should know, of the injury which is the 11 basis of the cause of action.”). 12 See Wilson, Within the Ninth See Kimes v. The discovery rule provides a claim accrues when the plaintiff knows, or should know, of the injury which is the basis of the cause of action. The cause is known when the immediate physical cause of the injury is discovered... The Ninth Circuit has stated repeatedly the plaintiff need not also know the identity of the person who caused the injury. Thus, the statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the plaintiff knows he or she has been injured and knows the physical cause of that injury. 13 14 15 16 17 18 Clavette v. Sweeney, 132 F. Supp. 2d 864, 874-75 (D. Or. 2001) 19 (internal citations and quotations omitted). 20 Plaintiff’s section 1983 action asserts Defendant 21 Lizarraga was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical 22 needs from December 16, 2000, through April 2, 2001, in 23 violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The section 1983 24 action was not filed within the applicable two-year statute of 25 limitations. Plaintiff’s claim accrued no later than April 2, 26 2001, and Plaintiff’s complaint was not filed until March of 27 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA -5- Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 5 of 7 1 2004, almost three years later. 2 911, 914-15 (9th Cir. 1999); TwoRivers v. Lewis, 174 F.3d 987, 3 993 (9th Cir. 1999); DeLuna, 841 F.2d at 314-15; Nasim v. 4 Warden, Maryland House of Corr., 64 F.3d 951, 955 (4th Cir. 5 1995) (“Thus, for purposes of a § 1983 claim, a cause of action 6 accrues either when the plaintiff has knowledge of his claim or 7 when he is put on notice--e.g., by the knowledge of the fact of 8 injury and who caused it--to make reasonable inquiry and that 9 inquiry would reveal the existence of a colorable claim.”). See Fink v. Shedler, 192 F.3d 10 Plaintiff asserts in response to the motion to dismiss: 11 “The Federal courts should not determine the length of time in 12 which a Plaintiff has to bring a civil action based on the 13 states limitation time length law.” 14 further contends: 15 Docket No. 114. Plaintiff The Federal courts further should base their limitation on the nature of the repeated claims that are brought against them ... Plaintiff filed befor[e] the 3 years limitation law ended, in which I was told that any person seeking to file a lawsuit must file it within 3 years after any incident happens. 16 17 18 19 Id. at 2. Plaintiff further contends that his complaint is not 20 untimely with regard to Defendants Williams, Ortega, and 21 Spurlock, asserting that his damages with regard to these 22 Defendants continues to “accrue.” Id. 23 Plaintiff knew or should have known of Defendant 24 Lizarraga’s involvement in the alleged civil rights violation on 25 or before April of 2001 and, therefore, the two-year statute of 26 limitations regarding the civil rights violation stated in his 27 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA -6- Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 6 of 7 1 section 1983 action filed in March of 2004 expired prior to his 2 bringing suit. 3 Defendant Lizarraga must be dismissed with prejudice. Therefore, the section 1983 claims as against 4 THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Lizaragga’s 5 motion to dismiss the amended complaint [Docket No. 86] is 6 granted. 7 with prejudice. 8 Plaintiff’s amended complaint is hereby dismissed DATED this 23rd day of August, 2006. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Case 2:04-cv-00572-MHM-LOA -7- Document 150 Filed 08/24/2006 Page 7 of 7