Woods v. Carey

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-06-2012
  • Case #: 09-15548; 09-16113
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Reinhardt for the Court; Circuit Judges Noonan and Murguia
  • Full Text Opinion

Rand and Wyatt notices must be served concurrently with motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment so that pro se prisoner plaintiffs will have fair, timely and adequate notice of what is required of them in order to oppose those motions."

Ernest Woods filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against the warden and appeals coordinator for deliberate indifference to medical care. The district court granted the warden’s motion for summary judgment and then granted both defendants’ motions to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. After a jury verdict against the coordinator, Woods appealed the summary judgment and dismissals, arguing that “he was not provided fair notice of the requirements necessary in order to oppose the motions.” “In Rand, [the Court] described in detail the necessary elements of the written notice that must be provided to the pro se [prisoner] litigant to sufficiently apprise him of the requirements to defeat a motion under Rule 56.” Wyatt held that “fair notice of the requirements needed to defeat a defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies must also be provided to a pro se prisoner litigant.” “[F]ailure to provide adequate Rand notice is a ground for reversal unless it is clear from the record that there are no facts that would permit the inmate to prevail.” Notice served before a defendant files a motion does not provide imprisoned litigants with “fair, timely, and adequate notice of what is required of them in order to oppose those motions.” Woods experienced hardships in accessing legal material, and he was unaware that a document he possessed that had potential to defeat the motion for summary judgment had to be submitted to evidence, rather than presented at trial. The Court held “that Rand and Wyatt notices must be served concurrently with motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment.” REVERSED and REMANDED.

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