Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sessing v. STU Sherman

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 16, 2016

NATHAN SESSING Plaintiff,
v.
STU SHERMAN, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM (ECF Nos. 58 & 60) FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION (ECF No. 59) FOURTEEN DAY OBJECTION DEADLINE

          MICHAEL J. SENG, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Nathan Sessing (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case proceeds on Plaintiff’s June 19, 2015 fourth amended complaint against Defendants Sherman, Stainer, and Braggs for violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to provide Plaintiff with appropriate religious accommodations. (ECF No. 34.)

         II. PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff, a prisoner housed at the California Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility in Corcoran, California (“CSATF”), is a practitioner of Asatru/Odinism, an “earth-based, ” polytheistic religion originating in Northern Europe several thousand years ago.

         According to Plaintiff, outdoor worship utilizing a fire pit, an altar, and a circle of stones is an essential part of Asatru/Odinism. Fire plays an important role in the blot, which is a monthly Odinist ceremony in which objects are sacrificed to the deities.

         There are designated outdoor pagan worship areas on each CSATF yard. They are zoned off with orange cones during times of worship. These pagan grounds are available for use by all religious faith groups, including Odinists.

         The Native Americans at CSATF have separate ceremonial worship grounds that include a fire pit. Plaintiff alleges that the Native Americans are the only religious group that has been granted these accommodations. He does not have access to the Native American worship area. In any event, Plaintiff objects to sharing an outdoor worship space with other faiths, specifically Native Americans, because “that would transgress against their deities and his deities.”

         Pursuant to a memorandum dated January 20, 2015, an outdoor worship enclosure was constructed at CSATF for all interested inmates. Plaintiff states that no Odinists were consulted in the construction of this enclosure. Plaintiff refuses to use the enclosure because “it prevents the spirits of the land from communing with him” and he is not permitted to have a fire pit inside of it. Plaintiff also states he will be harmed if he attempts to practice his religion in a space used by practitioners of different faiths.

         On May 12, 2016, [1] Plaintiff states he and his fellow Odinists were ordered by prison staff to either use the enclosure provided or terminate their religious services. Plaintiff alleges he has suffered and continues to suffer irreparable harm from being unable to worship as he chooses.

         III. MOTION FOR SUBPOENAS DUCES TECUM

         On June 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed a subpoena duces tecum with the Court. It purports to direct CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan to produce records of policies at other CDCR institutions allowing practitioners of Odinism/Asatru access to a fire pit in an outdoor area solely for their use. (ECF No. 58). On July 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed a note addressed to the Clerk of Court asking the proper procedure for serving subpoenas. (ECF No. 60.)

         The Court will construe these two filings (ECF Nos. 58 and 60) as a request to the Court to issue a subpoena directing CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan to turn over certain documents.

         Pro se parties may be entitled to the issuance of a subpoena commanding the production of documents from a nonparty, subject to certain requirements. Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b), 34(c), 45. The Court will consider granting such a request only if the documents sought from the nonparty are not equally available to Plaintiff and are not obtainable from Defendant through a request for the production. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 34. If Defendant objects to Plaintiff's discovery request, a motion to compel is the next step. If the Court rules that the documents are discoverable but Defendant does not have care, custody, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.