Case: Ngo v. Woodford

5:01-cv-20674 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: July 18, 2001

Closed Date: 2008

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 18, 2001, a California state inmate housed at San Quentin filed a § 1983 action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that challenged restrictions placed on his participation in special prison programs, including religious programs. The restrictions followed a period of administrative segregation for allegedly engaging in "inappropriate activity" in the prison chapel. The plaintiff initially filed a grievance with California prison officials, but it was reje…

On July 18, 2001, a California state inmate housed at San Quentin filed a § 1983 action in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that challenged restrictions placed on his participation in special prison programs, including religious programs. The restrictions followed a period of administrative segregation for allegedly engaging in "inappropriate activity" in the prison chapel. The plaintiff initially filed a grievance with California prison officials, but it was rejected as untimely under state law, as it was filed eight months after the restrictions were placed into effect. His federal court suit followed. The plaintiff claimed that the restrictions violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of his religion. He also claimed that the restrictions lessened his chances for parole eligibility.

The defendants filed to dismiss the case on January 27, 2003. On May 5, the district court granted dismissal of the case for failure to exhaust all administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The plaintiff appealed.

On March 24, 2005, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed (Judges Pregerson, Kozinski, and Rhoades). The court held that the plaintiff had exhausted administrative remedies simply because no remedies remained available to him. Ngo v. Woodford, 403 F.3d 620 (9th Cir. 2005). The defendant's petition for rehearing en banc was denied. But, the defendants' filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court, which was granted in November 2005.

The U.S. Supreme Court (Justice Samuel Alito) reversed and remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, holding that the PLRA exhaustion requirement required "proper exhaustion" and that plaintiff's filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective administrative grievance did not satisfy the exhaustion requirement. Mere unavailability of remedies is insufficient to exhaust under the PLRA. Woodford v. Ngo, 126 S.Ct. 2378 (2006).

On remand, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Judges Pregerson, Kozinski, and Bybee) held that, because the plaintiff did not appeal his restriction within the fifteen-day statute of limitations, he had not exhausted the administrative remedies available to him. As a result, the plaintiff could not sue in federal court. The Ninth Circuit also rejected the plaintiff's argument that fifteen days did not provide him with a meaningful opportunity to to exhaust his administrative remedies, stating that, even if they were to "double or triple the 15-day period, [the plaintiff] would still come nowhere close to meeting the deadline."

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (10/16/2007)

Cianan Lesley (2/25/2019)

People


Judge(s)

Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Breyer, Stephen Gerald (District of Columbia)

Fogel, Jeremy D. (California)

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (District of Columbia)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Kozinski, Alex (California)

Pregerson, Harry (California)

Rhoades, John Skylstead Sr. (California)

Roberts, John Glover Jr. (District of Columbia)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Breyer, Stephen Gerald (District of Columbia)

Fogel, Jeremy D. (California)

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (District of Columbia)

Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (District of Columbia)

Kozinski, Alex (California)

Pregerson, Harry (California)

Rhoades, John Skylstead Sr. (California)

Roberts, John Glover Jr. (District of Columbia)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Thomas, Clarence (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Ayer, Donald B. (District of Columbia)

Davis, Thomas J. (District of Columbia)

Feder, Meir (District of Columbia)

Morse, Charles R. A. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Grunder, Frances T. (California)

Humes, James M. (California)

Lockyer, Bill (California)

Madeiros, Manuel M. (California)

Patterson, Thomas S. (California)

Perkell, Jennifer G. (California)

Roost, Kenneth (California)

Other Attorney(s)

Alexander, Elizabeth R. (District of Columbia)

Banks, Steven (New York)

Bushman, Kate (New York)

Clement, Paul D. (District of Columbia)

Dearing, Richard (New York)

Easton, Robert H. (New York)

Fathi, David Cyrus (District of Columbia)

Garre, Gregory G. (District of Columbia)

Greco, Michael S. (Illinois)

Halligan, Caitlin J. (New York)

Herwig, Barbara L. (District of Columbia)

Himmelfarb, Dan (District of Columbia)

Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)

Lidsky, Isaac J. (District of Columbia)

Roosevelt, Kermit (Pennsylvania)

Schlanger, Margo (Missouri)

Shapiro, Steven R. (New York)

Shay, Giovanna (District of Columbia)

Spitzer, Eliot (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Bybee, Jay S (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket for U.S. Supreme Court

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Aug. 1, 2006 Docket

Docket [PACER] for Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Sept. 12, 2008 Docket

Docket (PACER) for District Court

Ngo v. Woodford

Feb. 6, 2009 Docket

Appellate Opinion (Ninth Circuit)

Ngo v. Woodford

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

403 F.3d 620

March 24, 2005 Order/Opinion

Petition for a Writ of Certiorari Granted

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

546 U.S. 1015, 126 S.Ct. 647

Nov. 14, 2005 Order/Opinion

Brief for Petitioners

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Dec. 29, 2005 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief of the States of New York, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, et al. as Amici Curiae in Support of the Petitioners

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Dec. 29, 2005 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief of the American Bar Association as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondent

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Feb. 1, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief for Amici Curiae Law Professors in Support of Respondent

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Feb. 1, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Petitioners

Woodford v. Ngo

Supreme Court of the United States

Feb. 1, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Title Description External URL

The Oyez Project, Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. ___ (2006).

Oyez Project

Information about the Supreme Court litigation in this case, including audio recordings of the oral argument and opinion announcement, and the briefs and the docket and written opinion. June 22, 2006 http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2005/2005_05_416/

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT (Prisoner Civil Rights) Jury demand(). Filed by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) Modified on 5/30/2003 (cv, ). (Entered: 07/23/2001)

July 18, 2001

Filing fee: $150.00, receipt number 3324314. (gm, ) (Entered: 09/05/2001)

July 18, 2001
18

CLERK'S NOTICE re completion of In Forma Pauperis affidavit or payment of filing fee due within 30 days. (cv, ) (Entered: 05/30/2003)

July 18, 2001
2

Letter re filing fee Notice from Writ Clerk of the filing fee not being paid and receipt from The District Court of the filing fee for complaint was paid. from Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) Modified on 5/30/2003 (cv, ). (Entered: 08/01/2001)

July 24, 2001
4

NOTICE of Change of Address by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) (Entered: 08/14/2002)

Aug. 13, 2002
5

ORDER and Notification to Plaintiff. Signed by Judge Jeremy Fogel on 9/6/2002. (gm, ) (Entered: 09/16/2002)

Sept. 13, 2002
6

Letter re Order and Notice of change of address from Viet Mike Ngo. (gm, ) (Entered: 10/02/2002)

Sept. 30, 2002

Summons Issued as to A.P. Kane ; J.S. Woodford (lrd, ) (Entered: 11/06/2002)

Nov. 5, 2002
7

SUMMONS Returned Executed, by pro se Viet M. Ngo. A.P. Kane ; J.S. Woodford (lrd, ) (Entered: 11/08/2002)

Nov. 8, 2002
8

NOTICE of Change of Address by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) (Entered: 11/27/2002)

Nov. 25, 2002
9

Ex Parte MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer fir sixty days filed by A.P. Kane, J.S. Woodford. (gm, ) (Entered: 11/27/2002)

Nov. 25, 2002
10

DECLARATION in Support re 9 of Jennifer G. Perkell filed by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (Related document(s) 9 ) (gm, ) (Entered: 11/27/2002)

Nov. 25, 2002
11

ORDER by Judge Jeremy Fogel granting 9 Motion for Extension of Time to 1/27/03 to Answer (gm, ) (Entered: 11/27/2002)

Nov. 26, 2002
12

MOTION to Dismiss ; Memorandum of Points &Authorities filed by A.P. Kane, J.S. Woodford. (gm, ) (Entered: 01/29/2003)

Jan. 27, 2003

Received Order re 12 Motion to dismiss by A.P. Kane, J.S. Woodford. (gm, ) (Entered: 01/29/2003)

Jan. 27, 2003
13

Memorandum in Opposition re 12 to Motion to dismiss filed by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) (Entered: 02/21/2003)

Feb. 19, 2003
14

DECLARATION in Support re 13 of Viet M. Ngo in support of Opposition to Motion ot dismiss filed by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (Related document(s) 13 ) (gm, ) (Entered: 04/09/2003)

April 8, 2003
15

ORDER by Judge Jeremy Fogel granting 12 Motion to Dismiss without prejudice (gm, ) (Entered: 05/06/2003)

May 5, 2003
16

NOTICE OF APPEAL re 15 by pro se Viet M. Ngo. and request to appeal in forma pauperis affidavit attached. () (cv, ) Modified on 5/30/2003 (cv, ). (Entered: 05/30/2003)

May 29, 2003
17

MOTION for Leave to Appeal in forma pauperis certificate in prisoner's account attached filed by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (cv, ) (Entered: 05/30/2003)

May 29, 2003

Transmission of Notice of Appeal and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals re appeal 16 (cv, ) (Entered: 05/30/2003)

May 30, 2003
19

NOTICE OF APPEAL re 15 by pro se Viet M. Ngo. () (gm, ) (Entered: 06/04/2003)

June 4, 2003

USCA Case Number re appeal 16 . USCA Case #03−16042 (gm, ) (Entered: 06/09/2003)

June 9, 2003
20

Prisoner Trust Fund Account Statement by pro se Viet M. Ngo. (gm, ) (Entered: 06/27/2003)

June 25, 2003

Certified and transmitted Record on Appeal to US Court of Appeals re appeal 16 (gm, COURT STAFF) (Entered: 09/18/2003)

Sept. 18, 2003
21

Receipt for Appeal Record re appeal 19 , 16 : (gm, COURT STAFF) (Entered: 10/01/2003)

Sept. 30, 2003
22

USCA Appeal Fees received $ 105.00 receipt number 3352501 re 19 Notice of Appeal filed by Viet M. Ngo, 16 Notice of Appeal filed by Viet M. Ngo (gm,

Dec. 9, 2003
23

ORDER by Judge Jeremy Fogel finding as moot 17 Motion for Leave to Appeal in forma pauperis (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/22/2004) (Entered: 01/23/2004)

Jan. 22, 2004
24

USCA OPINION as to 19 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo,, 16 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo, (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/28/2005) THE DISTRICT COURT'S DISMISSAL OF NGO'S COMPLAINT IS REVERSED. (Entered: 03/29/2005)

March 28, 2005
25

MANDATE of USCA as to 19 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo,, 16 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo, (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/29/2005) (Entered: 03/29/2005)

March 29, 2005
26

NOTICE of Change of Address by Viet M. Ngo (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/26/2005) (Entered: 04/27/2005)

April 26, 2005
27

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Viet M. Ngo re 26 Notice of Change of Address (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/26/2005) (Entered: 04/27/2005)

April 26, 2005
28

PARTIAL BILL OF COSTS; Applicstion for Reimbursement of Filing Fee for Notice of Appeal by Viet M. Ngo. (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/13/2005) (Entered: 07/15/2005)

July 13, 2005
29

USCA JUDGMENT; Judgment of US District Court in this cause is REVERSED as to 19 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo,, 16 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo, (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/22/2005) (Entered: 07/22/2005)

July 22, 2005
30

MANDATE of USCA as to 19 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo,, 16 Notice of Appeal, filed by Viet M. Ngo, (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/22/2005) (Entered: 07/22/2005)

July 22, 2005
31

NOTICE of Change of Address by Viet M. Ngo (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/18/2005) (Entered: 08/19/2005)

Aug. 18, 2005
32

Appeal Record Returned: 19 Notice of Appeal, 16 Notice of Appeal (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/8/2005) (Entered: 12/09/2005)

Dec. 8, 2005

Certified and Transmitted Record on Appeal to CLERK, US SUPREME COURT (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2006) (Entered: 02/13/2006)

Feb. 13, 2006
33

Receipt for Appeal Record (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/21/2006) (Entered: 02/22/2006)

Feb. 21, 2006
34

Appeal Record Returned: 19 Notice of Appeal, 16 Notice of Appeal (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/3/2006) (Entered: 08/03/2006)

Aug. 3, 2006
35

MANDATE of USCA as to 16 Notice of Appeal filed by Viet M. Ngo, 19 Notice of Appeal filed by Viet M. Ngo (gm, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/12/2008) (Entered: 10/21/2008)

Sept. 12, 2008

FILE located at Federal Records Center (FRC), San Bruno, CA: Accession No: 021−08−0051, Location No A−211754, Box No: 28. (mpb, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/8/2008) (Entered: 12/08/2008)

Dec. 8, 2008

File requested from FRC. (tsh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/5/2009) (Entered: 02/10/2009)

Jan. 5, 2009

File received from FRC. (tsh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/15/2009) (Entered: 02/10/2009)

Jan. 15, 2009

File returned to FRC. Accession Number: 021−08−0051, Box Number: 28, Location Number: A−211754. (tsh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/6/2009) (Entered: 02/10/2009)

Feb. 6, 2009

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 18, 2001

Closing Date: 2008

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

California state prisoner challenging restrictions on his participation in special programs.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

California Department of Corrections, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Free Exercise Clause

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Disciplinary procedures

Grievance Procedures

Rehabilitation

Religious programs / policies

Type of Facility:

Government-run