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Funtanilla v. Tristan

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


February 26, 2009

GREGORIO C. FUNTANILLA, JR., PLAINTIFF
v.
DAVID TRISTAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS AS MODIFIED, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS, AND REQUESTING DEFENDANTS' COUNSEL FILE A STATUS REPORT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS ADDRESSING PLAINTIFF'S PROPERTY SITUATION (Docs. 183, 204, and 205)

ORDER REFERRING MATTER BACK TO MAGISTRATE JUDGE FOR CONSIDERATION OF STATUS REPORT

Plaintiff Gregorio C. Funtanilla, Jr. ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72-302.

On January 12, 2009, the Magistrate Judge filed Findings and Recommendations recommending Plaintiff's motions for preliminary injunctive relief be denied. Plaintiff filed an Objection on February 12, 2009. The matter is before the undersigned for de novo review. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C).

On June 11, 2008, Plaintiff filed a motion notifying the Court that following both his refusal to allow an unclothed body search of his person and his act of urinating inside and outside his cell, prison officials placed him on management control status and confiscated four boxes of legal materials. Plaintiff contends that these boxes contain material he needs to litigate this case and, therefore, he seeks a court order mandating their return.

On January 5, 2009, Plaintiff filed another motion notifying the Court that he is not being allowed unable to possess legal materials relevant to this case in his cell. He states that other property of his already takes up the six cubic feet of property he is allowed to possess in his cell. Plaintiff therefore seeks a court order mandating that he be allowed to possess two stacks of legal papers in his cell. Each stack is approximately twelve inches thick.

On January 12, 2009, the Magistrate Judge recommended denial of Plaintiff's motions for lack of jurisdiction, and notified Plaintiff that if he needs additional time to respond to orders or deadlines, he may seek an extension of time. Plaintiff objects to the recommendation, and argues that he is being denied all access to his legal material, and that he cannot file motions and may require extensions of time ad infinitum.

The Court does not have jurisdiction to order prison officials to allow Plaintiff to possess his legal material in his cell. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 102, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 1665 (1983); Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471, 102 S.Ct. 752, 757-58 (1982); Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118, 1126 (9th Cir. 2006). In addition to Article III limitations, the Prison Litigation Reform Act provides in part that "[t]he court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right." 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A). In this instance, issuing an order remedying Plaintiff's current property issues will not correct the alleged violation of Plaintiff's federal rights at issue in this action. Because the Court lacks jurisdiction, the recommendation that Plaintiff's motions be denied on that ground is adopted.

However, the Court is concerned by Plaintiff's contention that he has no access to any of his legal material for this case and as a result is unable to litigate the case at all.*fn1 Therefore, the Court requests Defendants' counsel, as an officer of the court, to file a status report within thirty days addressing Plaintiff's current situation with respect to access to his legal documents. The Court requests that the status report be supported by the declaration of someone at the prison familiar with Plaintiff's property situation. This matter shall be referred back to the Magistrate Judge for consideration of the status report. No further briefing will be permitted unless the Magistrate Judge deems it necessary. After receipt of the status report, the Magistrate Judge shall issue an order addressing and remedying this situation as justice requires.

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

1. The Findings and Recommendations, filed January 12, 2009, is adopted as modified herein;

2. Plaintiff's motion for an order directing prison officials to allow him to keep his four boxes of legal material in his cell, filed June 11, 2008, is DENIED;

3. Plaintiff's motion for an order directing prison officials to allow him to keep his two stacks of legal documents in his cell, filed January 5, 2009, is DENIED;

4. Defendants' counsel shall file a status report, accompanied by a supporting declaration, within thirty days addressing Plaintiff's claim that he is not able to access any of his legal material to litigate this action;

5. No further briefing will be allowed unless the Magistrate Judge deems it necessary; and

6. This matter is referred back to the Magistrate Judge to address defense counsel's status report.

IT IS SO ORDERED.


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