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Williams v. Brooks

United States District Court, D. Idaho

April 5, 2018



          David C. Nye U.S. District Court Judge.

         Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction, is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, United States Magistrate Judge Candy W. Dale previously entered an Initial Review Order, allowing Plaintiff to proceed on his claims that Defendants violated his First Amendment right to petition the government for redress, by refusing to process Plaintiff's jail grievances because they contained disrespectful language. Dkt. 10. Plaintiff's claims arose when he was incarcerated at the Ada County Jail, and Defendants are employees of Ada County.

         Plaintiff has now filed several motions: (1) a Motion to Reconsider the Initial Review Order, in which he asks the Court to analyze Plaintiff's free speech claims against Defendants; (2) a Motion to Stay Pleadings; and (3) a Motion for the Appointment of Counsel. Dkts. 17, 22, 27. Also pending are Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint and Motion to Extend Discovery, though those motions are not yet ripe. Dkt. 26, 29.[1]

         Having fully reviewed the record, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record and that oral argument is unnecessary. See D. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1. Accordingly, the Court enters the following Order.

         1. Motion for Appointment of Counsel

         Plaintiff seeks the appointment of counsel. Judge Dale denied Plaintiff's previous request for counsel because, with only the bare allegations of the Complaint, the Court did “not have a sufficient basis upon which to assess the merits, if any, at this point in the proceeding” and because Plaintiff had articulated his claims sufficiently. Dkt. 10 at 11. See Terrell v. Brewer, 935 F.2d 1015, 1017 (9th Cir. 1991) (factors in the appointment of counsel analysis are the likelihood of plaintiff's success on the merits and the ability of the plaintiff to articulate his claims pro se in light of the complexity of legal issues involved).

         The Court now has more than merely the Complaint to determine whether Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits and concludes that Plaintiff has some likelihood of success on his claims. However, to date, Plaintiff has continued to represent himself quite competently, including by making legal arguments and by citing legal authority. Thus, the Court will exercise its discretion to deny Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel.

         2. Motion to Stay Pleadings

         In his Motion to Stay Pleadings, Plaintiff asks that the Court stay the deadlines in this case until a motion in Plaintiff's most recent case-a First Amendment case against employees of the Idaho Department of Correction-is decided. Dkt. 22 at 1; Dkt. 19 at 1 (requesting withdrawal of Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order because “[t]he Defendants in this suit are not the party for whome [sic] that motion sought relief against. Williams has just filed suit against the defendants/party that the TRO sought to compel, and has filed a new TRO/PI with that suit.”). See Williams v. Stewart, Case No. 1:18-cv-00028-BLW. Plaintiff also claims that, at ISCC-the prison at which Plaintiff is currently incarcerated-he does not have adequate access to legal materials to pursue this case. Dkt. 22 at 1.

         The Court sees no reason to delay the progress of this case pending the resolution of a motion in Plaintiff's new case. Plaintiff has not yet been authorized to proceed in that new case, and further delay in this case is not justified.

         Moreover, the Constitution does not require that inmates “be able to conduct generalized research, ” nor does it “guarantee inmates the wherewithal to transform themselves into litigating engines.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 255, 360 (1996). Rather, prisons must provide only those resources necessary to allow inmates “to present their grievances to the courts-a more limited capability that can be produced by a much more limited degree of legal assistance.” Id. at 360.

         Plaintiff has not shown that the resources available at ISCC are insufficient to permit him to adequately present his claims to this Court. As the Court has already explained with respect to Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel, Plaintiff has been able to represent himself admirably throughout this litigation. Therefore, Plaintiff's Motion to Stay Pleadings will be denied.

         3. Motion for Reconsideration of the Initial Review Order and Review of Complaint

         In the Initial Review Order, Judge Dale analyzed Plaintiff's Complaint and determined that Plaintiff could proceed on his petition-for-redress claims, but not on his retaliation claims. Dkt. 10. Plaintiff now contends that Judge Dale did not analyze his free speech claims and asks that this Court do so. Dkt. 17 at 2. Plaintiff ...

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