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Marlin Riggs, Individually, and Jose Pina, Joe Rocha, andrew Joshua Kelly, Ray Barrios, and Randy Enzminger v. Phillip Valdez

December 22, 2010

MARLIN RIGGS, INDIVIDUALLY, AND JOSE PINA, JOE ROCHA, ANDREW JOSHUA KELLY, RAY BARRIOS, AND RANDY ENZMINGER, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF A CLASS OF ALL OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED,
PLAINTIFFS,
v.
PHILLIP VALDEZ, NORMA RODRIGUEZ, CHRISTOPHER ROSE, STEVEN DANFORTH, AND WILLIAM DEAN, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, AND CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

The following motions are ripe and pending before the Court in this prisoner civil rights matter: (1) Defendants' Motion to Reconsider Order Denying Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Dkt. 95); and (2) Defendants' Motion for Clarification and/or for Extension Re: Deadline for Response to Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Class Certification (Dkt. 101).

For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Motion to Reconsider. To clarify the record, Plaintiffs' claim of inadequate medical care will be dismissed from Count II of the Second Amended Complaint. The Motion will be denied in all other respects.

The Court will grant Defendant's Motion to Clarify and/or for Extension of Time. Defendants need not file a response to Plaintiffs' Renewed Motion for Class Certification until after a period of discovery has concluded. To avoid further delay, however, the parties may begin full discovery without limitation to class certification issues. After 90 days of conducting discovery, the parties shall complete briefing on certification issues.

MOTION TO RECONSIDER

In its October 18, 2010 Memorandum Decision and Order, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. (Dkt. 92.) The Court concluded, in relevant part, that Defendants had not carried their burden to show that Plaintiffs Ibarra, Barrios, Kelly, Pina, or Enzminger had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. (Dkt. 92, at 23-25.) Defendants now request that the Court reconsider this decision as to Pina, Barrios, and Enzminger. Defendants also claim that the Court failed to make explicit findings as to whether four allegedly unconstitutional policies and practices in Count II of the Second Amended Complaint fell within the scope of the exhausted claims. (Dkt. 96, p. 5.)

A district court has the authority to reconsider, rescind, or modify its prior rulings so long as it retains jurisdiction over the case. City of Los Angeles v. Santa Monica Baykeeper, 254 F.3d 882, 888 (9th Cir. 2001). Despite this authority, "courts should be loathe to [reconsider a prior decision] in the absence of extraordinary circumstances such as where the initial decision was 'clearly erroneous and would work a manifest injustice.'" Christianson v. Colt Industries Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 817 (1988).

With the exception of correcting a clerical oversight, the Court finds no extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration of its previous decision.

1. Pina and Barrios

In turning aside Defendants' argument that none of the inmates involved in the chow hall fight had properly exhausted their administrative remedies, the Court found the following facts to be relevant to all five of the "chow hall plaintiffs":

* the transfer of Ibarra, Rocha, and Kelly from one wing of the prison to another wing with rival gang members occurred immediately before the fight;

* the fight led directly to the issuance of disciplinary offense reports (DORs) to the chow hall plaintiffs;

* the transfer of the inmates, the fight, and the issuance of DORs were all part of one continuous chain of events;

* while the prison's internal grievance procedure is available for inmates to complain about any "problem or action" related to incarceration, other prison rules expressly prohibit an inmate from using that procedure to ...


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