Cano v. Taylor

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 01-14-2014
  • Case #: 10-17030
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Callahan for the Court; Circuit Judge N.R. Smith; Dissent by Circuit Judge Silverman
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, as long as the federal claims to be added to the initial complaint were administratively exhausted and arose prior to the initial complaint’s filing, they may be added to the complaint by amendment.

Erineo Cano was previously an inmate at an Arizona Department of Corrections facility. This case was the result of Cano’s appeal from a district court’s ruling against him in his 42 USC § 1983 claim. Cano alleged that the Arizona Department of Corrections exhibited a “deliberate indifference to his mental health needs,” a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Cano also alleged that his First Amended Complaint, which alleged “violations of his right to freely exercise his religious beliefs and to have access to the courts, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” should not have been dismissed for “failure to exhaust administrative remedies.” The Ninth Circuit upheld the summary judgment against Cano, but vacated and remanded the dismissal of Cano’s First and Fourteenth Amendment claims. The panel upheld the summary judgment holding because there was sufficient evidence on the record that the Arizona Department of Corrections “adequately responded to Cano’s medical needs, even though Cano has a difference of opinion with Appellees as to proper medication and treatment.” The panel also held, however, that the district court was incorrect to dismiss Cano’s First and Fourteenth Amendment claims because “they arose prior to the filing of the initial complaint even though the administrative remedies were allegedly exhausted prior to the filing of the first amended complaint.” Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), and the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Rhodes v. Robinson, when “federal claims which are added to a suit via an amendment and which are administratively exhausted prior to that amendment, comply with the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement.” Therefore, as long as the added federal claims arose prior to the initial complaint’s filing and were administratively exhausted, they may be added to the complaint by an amendment. AFFIRMED in part and VACATED and REMANDED in part.

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