The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Richard A. Jones
This matter comes before the court on two motions from Plaintiff Marvin Glenn Hollis. The first is a motion (Dkt. # 45) to grant him physical access to the law library at California State Prison -- Corcoran, where he is currently incarcerated. The second is a motion (Dkt. # 46) for an extension of time to respond to Defendants' summary judgment motion.
Mr. Hollis's motion regarding the law library raises two concerns. First, he asks to be granted physical access to the prison's law library. Second, he asks that the court order library officials to make photocopies of his opposition to the summary judgment motion. Defendants have not responded to this motion. The court notes that Mr. Hollis filed a similar motion in another civil action, and the presiding judge granted and denied it in part. Hollis v. High Desert State Prison, No. 2:08-cv-2810 KJN P (Dkt. # 75, Jun. 24, 2010 order). That order observed that Mr. Hollis has been denied physical access to the law library because he threatened library staff, but that he was granted access to the library through its paging system. On this sparse record, the court has no basis to order officials to grant him physical access to the library. If Mr. Hollis contends that the lack of physical access to the library has hampered his ability to oppose the pending summary judgment motion, he shall explain why in opposing the motion.
The prior order also explained, however, that the prison library has a policy of refusing to photocopy legal documents that are more than 100 pages in length without a court order. That order took a dim view of this policy.
This court takes a dim view of the policy as well. When Defendants filed their summary judgment motion, the motion and associated documentation totaled more than 250 pages. Many of those pages were likely unnecessary, but it is not at all uncommon for litigants to file much more than is necessary to support their motions. Requiring Mr. Hollis to obtain a court order to file an opposition that is even 40% as long as the motion he is opposing is a significant obstacle to his access to the courts. Were this court's resources greater, it might well hold hearings to address the prison's photocopy policy. The court's resources are limited, however, and its primary concern in this case is moving it toward its resolution. Accordingly, the court orders library officials to permit Mr. Hollis to make three copies of his opposition to the summary judgment motion. The court encourages Mr. Hollis to shorten his opposition.
The court now considers Mr. Hollis's motion to extend his deadline for filing an opposition to the summary judgment motion. Mr. Hollis's motions suggest that his summary judgment opposition is ready to be filed, but for his inability to copy it. His motion for extension of time to file that opposition, however, was filed more than 9 days after the opposition was due. He offers no explanation for that delay. The court has discretion to refuse to permit him to oppose the motion. Only the court's strong preference for resolving matters on their merits leads it to grant Mr. Hollis's belated motion. The court cautions Mr. Hollis that it will not look favorably on future requests for extensions of time that are not themselves timely filed.
The court rules as follows. Mr. Hollis's motion for access to the prison law library is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. The court will not order that Mr. Hollis be granted physical access to the law library. It does, however, order library officials to provide him with three copies of his opposition to the summary judgment motion. The court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion for extension of time, and orders Mr. Hollis to file his opposition no later than August 27, 2010.
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge
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