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Milstead v. Guyer

September 29, 2010

CHRISTOPHER R. MILSTEAD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LYNN GUYER; LAWANDA THOMASON; C/O QUINTALL AND C/O HARNET; DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable B. Lynn Winmill Chief U. S. District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Pending before the Court in the above-entitled matter are a number of motions filed by the parties. The Court will review the history of this case and rule on the pending motions. Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court conclusively finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, this matter shall be decided on the record before this Court without oral argument.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Christopher Milstead ("Milstead") filed his Complaint (Docket No. 4) on April 29, 2009, alleging violations of his First Amendment rights, access to the courts and 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and § 1986. The Court conducted an Initial Review of the Complaint and determined Plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to allow him to proceed against Defendants Lynn Guyer, Lawanda Thomason, Correctional Officer Quintall and Correctional Officer Hartnet on the following claims: 1) violation of his First Amendment right to practice his religion; 2) violation of his rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act ("RLUIPA"); 3) violation of his constitutional right to access to the court and 4) violation of his First Amendment Rights in the form of a retaliation claim. Docket No. 7.

On July 23, 2009, Plaintiff requested a judicially-supervised settlement conference. Docket No. 12. This request was granted by the Court on July 26, 2009 and a settlement conference was scheduled for September 23, 2009 with Chief United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale. Docket No. 17. Plaintiff requested the Court take judicial notice of certain facts. Docket No. 8. On August 29, 2009, the Court denied Plaintiff's request for the Court to take judicial notice, but did grant the Plaintiff thirty (30) days to file an Amended Complaint. Docket No. 18.

As is the District of Idaho's practice with prisoner pro se cases, the Court appointed pro bono counsel to represent Plaintiff at the settlement conference. Docket No. 20. Plaintiff was represented by Patrick Costello and Whitney Power from the University of Idaho Law Clinic. A settlement was reached on September 23, 2009 and the terms of the settlement were placed on the record. Docket Nos. 23 and 28. The Court minutes reflect the parties were to set forth the settlement in writing. Docket No. 23.

Five days after the settlement conference, Plaintiff filed a pro se Notice to Withdraw from Mediation/Settlement and Motion for Extension of Time to Amend Complaint (Docket No. 22) and a Notice of Fraud Upon the Plaintiff, Notice of Termination of Counsel (Docket No. 23). Plaintiff alleges he was not aware of the fact that his attorneys were involved in the training of paralegals for the Idaho Department of Corrections ("IDOC") and had failed to raise issues and claims he wanted raised at the settlement conference. Plaintiff wants to be released from the terms of the settlement that was reached between the parties. The Court granted Plaintiff's counsel's motion to withdraw. Docket No. 38.

The motion for extension of time to file an amended complaint was never ruled on by the Court. On October 19, 2009, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Docket No. 36. Summons were returned executed on Defendants Guyer, Thomason, Quintall and Hartnet. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff added additional individual defendants. On October 26, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion for service of his Amended Complaint upon the newly named Defendants. Docket No. 39. On that same date, Plaintiff filed Supplement to Notice of Fraud. Docket No. 40.

On November 6, 2009, Defendants filed a motion to seal documents and a response on the motion for extension of time to file. Docket Nos. 41 and 42. In the response, Defendants argue that the motion for extension of time to file should be denied as the parties had reached a settlement on September 23, 2009 and that Plaintiff should be ordered to comply with the terms of the settlement entered into by the parties which was consistent with the settlement made on the record.

On March 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for Federal Criminal Investigation. Docket No. 50. Defendants filed a response on April 19, 2010. Docket No. 51. No reply was filed by Plaintiff.

On May 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed a notice of change of address indicating he had been released from custody. Docket No. 52. Plaintiff also filed a request for hearing on his pending motions on that same day. Docket No. 53. Plaintiff claims he is still under the care, custody and supervision of the Defendants since he is out on parole. Id.*fn1

On May 24, 2010, Plaintiff moved for entry of default. Docket No. 54. Defendants responded to the motion arguing there was no default as Plaintiff agreed to the settlement of the case and Defendants had performed their responsibilities under the terms of the settlement. Docket No. 55. On August 5, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff an extension of time to file a reply to the Motion for Entry of Default. Docket Nos. 58. On September 2, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiff and extension of time to file a reply to the Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Notice to Withdraw from Mediation/Settlement.

Docket No. 60. The matter is now ripe for the ...


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