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Manning v. Bunnell

United States District Court, E.D. California

August 20, 2014

M. BUNNELL, et al., Defendants.


ALLISON CLAIRE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se who seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the court are (1) defendant Stratton's response to plaintiff's allegations of ongoing harassment (ECF No. 142), as directed by prior order; and (2) petitioner's Notice of Interference, Motion for Court Order, and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (ECF No. 135).


Throughout the history of this case, plaintiff has filed repeated requests for preliminary injunctive relief and court intervention in his conditions of confinement. Plaintiff has been repeatedly warned not to file repetitive, piecemeal, and unsubstantiated requests for interim relief. Plaintiff has also filed repeated requests for reconsideration of court orders denying his various requests. In addition to filing frequent motions and requests, plaintiff indundates the court with notices and letters regarding his concerns. Even a cursory review of the docket indicates that plaintiff, despite his persistent complaints that he is being denied access to the court, contacts the court on a regular basis to express his concerns and seek intervention in his custodial circumstances. Given this court's caseload, it is literally impossible to respond to each of plaintiff's filings. Nonethless, the undersigned has attempted to sort wheat from chaff and to respond to the most serious issues presented.


By order filed on July 18, 2014 (ECF No. 131), defendant Stratton was directed to respond to plaintiff's allegations that he, Correctional Sergeant Stratton, had threatened to "set up" plaintiff with a cellmate who would either rape plaintiff or accuse plaintiff of rape. See ECF No. 130. Additionally, defendants were required to inform the court regarding plaintiff's access to his legal mail and property in administrative segregation, based on plaintiff's representation that such placement was imminent. See ECF Nos. 130, 131.

Plaintiff had alleged that on July 10, 2014, defendant Stratton told him that when he goes from "the hole" to "suicide, " his legal mail will be stolen and he will have no telephone access. Plaintiff alleged this was an attempt to force dismissal of the instant case. ECF No. 130. In his response, defendant Strattron declares that while he was working on July 10, 2014, he did not speak to plaintiff that day and rarely sees him. Defendant Stratton denies plaintiff's allegation that he threatened to cell plaintiff with an inmate who would either rape plaintiff or accuse him of rape. ECF No. 142, Exhibit A, Declaration of J. Stratton ¶¶ 4, 9.

Defendant Stratton states that his duties include supervising correctional officers "in maintaining the safe custody, discipline, and welfare of inmates on second watch"; calling the roll of correctional officers (C/O's); conducting inspection tours of the units to ascertain that C/O's diligently perform their duties; conveying complaints of C/O's and inmates to his superiors; checking periodic inmate counts; directing inspections of inmate quarters; developing procedures and post orders, "and promoting acceptable attitudes and behavior of inmates." Id. at 2. Under penalty of perjury, defendant Stratton further declares that in his position as a second watch correctional sergeant he does not process inmate mail nor have access to plaintiff's legal mail; rather, inmate mail is distributed during the third watch and legal mail is processed through the program office. Id . ¶ 5. Defendant Stratton avers that he has neither threatened plaintiff with ad seg placement nor denied him access to his legal mail or a telephone. Id . ¶ 4. Further, he does not have the authority to place plaintiff in ad seg as such placement requires a lockup order which must be signed by someone of a higher rank, that of lieutenant or higher. Id . ¶ 6.

Defendant Stratton declares that so long as an inmate has an active case, he will have access to his legal property when placed in ad seg; otherwise the legal property is stored in Receiving and Release to which the prisoner can seek, and will be provided, access. Id . ¶ 7. Inmates in ad seg also have legal mail, phone and law library access. Id . Finally, defendant Stratton vows that because he does not spend much time in the housing units, he was not aware that plaintiff's cellmate had moved and that he does not sign off on cell partner requests which requests are handled by unit staff. Id. at 8. The court finds that its order of July 18, 2014 has been discharged.

Plaintiff, in a rapid response to defendant Stratton's declaration, [1] contends that the mail goes to defendant Stratton's office while he is on second watch, that Stratton routinely works double (second and third watch) shifts, and that he had spoken to Stratton at 6:45 p.m. on August 11, 2014 which is during third watch.[2] ECF No. 144. Plaintiff declares that in 2009 defendant Statton assigned him a cellmate named Alonso Dearujo who made false allegations against him, and that defendant Stratton "clearly admits" to signing off on cell partners (although plaintiff does not explain where any such admission by Stratton can be found). Id . Plaintiff further avers that there is no telephone access in ad seg. Id.

Plaintiff maintains that he has not yet been placed in ad seg because the court has been placed "on notice of their plans." Id. at 4. Plaintiff claims that an inmate placed in ad seg who is on suicide watch gets no property and that every time he has been placed in ad seg he has been placed on suicide watch. Id . Plaintiff then segues into what he terms defendant Stratton's "long history" of "abusing inmates, " and asks the court to verify this with specifically named correctional staff. Id. at 5-6. Plaintiff avers that defendant Stratton has participated in two inmate "killings, " and "strongly request[s]" the court to order he be placed on single cell status and that defendant Stratton be directed to stay one thousand feet away from him. Id. at 5.

In a separate document filed the same day, plaintiff also claims that another correctional sergeant informed him that sergeants "run the prison" and can make sure an inmate is placed in ad seg. ECF No. 143 at 2. He reports that Plaintiff further avers that when he asked Warden Virga nine months ago to keep defendant Stratton away from him, the warden stated that he wished that he could, just as he did not like defendant Wenker handling plaintiff's mail while plaintiff was suing him, but that he could not reassign Wenker or Stratton without a court order, because of their union. Id. at 2-3.

The court will consider both defendant Stratton's response to the previous order and plaintiff's related submissions in now addressing plaintiff's most recent requests for ...

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