Akhtar v. Mesa

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: 11-05-2012
  • Case #: 11-16629
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Alarcon for the Court; Circuit Judges Graber and Berzon
  • Full Text Opinion

In a civil rights case, a prisoner's pro se status requires courts to explain deficiencies in the prisoner's complaint and allow leave to amend before dismissal with prejudice.

This appeal was brought after the district court dismissed a prisoner's claim arising out of 42 U.S.C 1983. The prisoner had a documented history of serious medical needs that required him to be housed in a ground-floor cell. The petitioner alleged prison staff were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. The district court dismissed the complaint after refusing to hear arguments the prisoner raised for the first time in objections to a magistrate judge's findings. The Ninth Circuit held the district court erred by not considering the arguments the prisoner raised for the first time in objections because of his pro se status, disabilities and limited English skills. The panel also held that the plaintiff's grievance contained enough detail to exhaust his Eighth Amendment claim that the defendants failed to comply with plaintiff's medical needs. Finally the panel held that the district court did not follow Rand v. Rowland (154 F.3d 952, 960-61 9th Cir. 1998) because the court failed to explain the deficiencies in the complaint and did not give the pro se plaintiff leave to amend. VACATED and REMANDED.

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