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Louis D. Cosco v. Debi D. Lightsey

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT


January 24, 2011

LOUIS D. COSCO, PLAINTIFF - APPELLANT,
v.
DEBI D. LIGHTSEY, DEFENDANT - APPELLEE.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada James C. Mahan, District Judge, Presiding

FILED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS

MEMORANDUM*fn1

Submitted January 10, 2011*fn2

Before: BEEZER, TALLMAN, and CALLAHAN, Circuit Judges.

Louis D. Cosco, formerly a Nevada state prisoner, appeals pro se from the district court's summary judgment in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging violation of his right of access to the courts arising from a prison librarian's failure to photocopy a legal document in a timely manner. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We review de novo, FTC v. Stefanchik, 559 F.3d 924, 927 (9th Cir. 2009), and we affirm.

The district court properly granted summary judgment to Lightsey because the right of access to the courts is limited to cases in which inmates "attack their sentences, directly or collaterally, and . . . challenge the conditions of their confinement. Impairment of any other litigating capacity is simply one of the incidental (and perfectly constitutional) consequences of conviction and incarceration." Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 355 (1996). Cosco's underlying litigation was not a challenge to his conviction or to his conditions of confinement. Rather, it was based on a declaratory judgment action related to a settlement agreement he had entered into with Wyoming prison officials, regarding compensation for property that was confiscated from his prison cell. Therefore, Cosco had no constitutional right of access to the courts to litigate the underlying action. See Simmons v. Sacramento Cnty. Super. Ct., 318 F.3d 1156, 1159-60 (9th Cir. 2003) (explaining that "a prisoner has no constitutional right of access to the courts to litigate an unrelated civil claim").

Cosco's remaining contentions are unpersuasive. AFFIRMED.

09-17162


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