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Tunstall v. Bodenhamer

United States District Court, E.D. California

April 2, 2018

ROBERT WILLIAM TUNSTALL, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
D. BODENHAMER, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          DEBORAH BARNES UNITED STATES MAGISTRTE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges his cell at California State Prison - Sacramento (“CSP-Sac”) was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (“RA”). Plaintiff is presently housed at California State Prison - Corcoran (“CSP-Corcoran”). Before the court are plaintiff's motions for physical access to the law library (ECF No. 61) and for injunctive relief (ECF No. 62). For the reasons set forth below the court will recommend that both motions be denied and that this action be dismissed.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this action in November 2016. Before the court had the opportunity to screen the complaint, plaintiff filed four motions for injunctive relief (ECF Nos. 6, 7, 9, 10) and requested leave to amend the complaint (ECF No. 8). The court instructed plaintiff to file an amended complaint within thirty days and informed him that if he failed to do so the case would proceed on his original complaint. (ECF No. 12.) The court also denied plaintiff's motions for injunctive relief requesting access to the library, transfer from CSP-Corcoran back to CSP-Sac, relief from confinement to his cell 24-hours per day, and his motion for the appointment of counsel. The court noted that plaintiff had been advised in a separate action he could not file repeated, meritless motions for injunctive relief and warned him he could not continue his stream of filings in this case without consequences. (Id. at 3.)

         Plaintiff did not file an amended complaint. The court then screened plaintiff's original complaint, dismissed his claims, and instructed him to file an amended complaint within thirty days. (ECF No. 29.) The court additionally addressed ten motions and notices plaintiff had filed between July 20, 2017 and August 14, 2017 (ECF Nos 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26). (ECF No. 30.) In those filings plaintiff sought: (1) an order requiring CSP-Corcoran to provide him access to the law library, legal supplies, and a photocopy machine; (2) an order requiring CSP-Corcoran to allow plaintiff access to programs and services and to release him from the 24-hour per day/7-day a week confinement in his cell; (3) an order requiring CSP-Corcoran to provide plaintiff all of his meals; and (4) an order requiring officials at CSP-Corcoran to respond to plaintiff's appeals. (Id.) The court provided plaintiff the standards for injunctive relief and explained plaintiff's requests were inappropriate in this action because the relief plaintiff sought was not related to the subject matter of this suit. However, the court also ordered the Office of the Attorney General to contact the litigation coordinator at CSP-Corcoran and inform the court about plaintiff's access to the law library.

         Supervising Deputy Attorney General Monica Anderson specially appeared by filing a response to the court's request for information regarding plaintiff's access to the law library. (ECF No. 36.) The reply stated that plaintiff was designated a Correctional Treatment Center (“CTC”) inmate at CSP-Corcoran due to his medical status. (Id.) CTC inmates are not allowed physical access to the law library, but may obtain legal materials, supplies, and photocopying through the law library paging system. (Id.) The reply noted that plaintiff had used the paging system, but refused to give library workers his legal documents for photocopying. Plaintiff also stated he refused to give library workers his legal documents for photocopying. (ECF No. 42.)

         Following the filing of the court's orders dismissing his complaint and denying his requests for injunctive relief, plaintiff filed eight unsolicited documents and a response to Ms. Anderson's filing. (ECF Nos. 32, 33, 34, 35, 39, 40, 41, 42, and 43.) The court recommended plaintiff's requests be denied and again informed plaintiff that injunctive relief against officials at CSP-Corcoran is not appropriate in this action. The court warned plaintiff for the second time that he could not continue his stream of filings in this case without consequences and informed him that further motions for injunctive relief directed towards officials at CSP-Corcoran would likely result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed. (ECF No. 46.)

         By order dated October 10, 2017 the court screened plaintiff's first amended complaint and found he stated a potentially cognizable claim for violation of his rights under the ADA and the RA, but dismissed his retaliation claim. (ECF No. 45.) The court gave plaintiff the option to amend or proceed on the complaint as screened. (Id.) Plaintiff has failed to comply with the order to file an amended complaint or return a completed summons and copies of the complaint so that defendants may be properly served, but has filed thirteen motions, notices, and objections. (ECF Nos. 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62.)

         Between October 18, 2017 and November 27, 2017 plaintiff filed a motion for court order (ECF No. 44), a motion for protective custody (ECF No. 49), two motions for the appointment of counsel (ECF Nos. 52, 53), two motions for injunctive relief (ECF Nos. 54, 55), and a motion for an extension of time (ECF No. 51). The motions repeated plaintiff's previous requests for relief regarding physical access to the library and confinement to his cell, as well as a request for placement in protective custody.

         The undersigned recommended all of the motions and notices relating to plaintiff's confinement at CSP-Corcoran be denied. The court informed plaintiff for the third time that injunctive relief based on events occurring at CSP-Corcoran were inappropriate in this action because they are unrelated to his underlying claim and that he could not continue his stream of filings in this case without consequences. (ECF No. 56.) Plaintiff was warned for the second time that further motions for injunctive relief directed towards officials at CSP-Corcoran may result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed. (Id.)

         Between December 4, 2017 and March 1, 2018, plaintiff filed three motions for injunctive relief requesting access to the law library (ECF No. 57, 61, 62), a notice (ECF No. 58), and objections to the court's findings and recommendations (ECF No. 59). Plaintiff acknowledged that his failure to comply with the court's order would likely result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed, but claims he cannot comply unless the court orders officials at CSP-Corcoran to provide plaintiff with two hours of physical access to the law library three times per week. (ECF Nos. 61, 62.)

         Based on plaintiff's refusal to comply with court orders and his repeated filings of meritless motions requesting physical access to the law library the court will recommend that this action be dismissed.

         MOTIONS FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

         After the court issued a second warning that filing further motions seeking injunctive relief from officials at CSP-Corcoran would likely result in a recommendation that this action be dismissed, plaintiff filed two more motions for injunctive relief requesting physical access to the law library. (ECF Nos 61, 62.) Plaintiff's request for physical access to the law library is unrelated to plaintiff's underlying claim concerning ADA and RA violations at CSP-Sac. Therefore, it is inappropriate for the court to grant plaintiff's motions for injunctive relief in this case. See Pacific Radiation Oncology, LLC, v. Queen's Medical Center, 810 F.3d 631, 636 (9th Cir. 2015) (holding there must be a sufficient nexus between the request in a motion ...


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