Bodnar v. CDCR, et al.

Filing 20

ORDER GRANTING 17 Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time to Amend Complaint; ORDER DENYING 18 Plaintiff's Request for an Order Directing Facility to Make Legal Copies; and ORDER DENYING 19 Request for an Order Directing Jail to Stop Opening Legal Mail signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A. Boone on 6/2/2017. Amended Complaint due within thirty (30) days. (Jessen, A)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 THOMAS BODNAR, Case No. 1:16-cv-01398-SAB (PC) 9 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME TO AMEND COMPLAINT (ECF No. 17) Plaintiff, 10 v. 11 12 CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, et al., ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S REQUEST FOR AN ORDER DIRECTING FACILITY TO MAKE LEGAL COPIES (ECF No. 18) 13 Defendants 14 ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR AN ORDER DIRECTING JAIL TO STOP OPENING LEGAL MAIL (ECF No. 19) 15 16 17 18 Plaintiff Thomas Bodnar is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights 19 action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 20 Currently before the Court are three motions by Plaintiff, all filed on May 30, 2017: (1) a 21 motion for an extension of time to amend his complaint; (2) a motion for an order directing a 22 correctional facility to make legal copies for Plaintiff; and (3) a motion for an order directing the 23 jail not to open Plaintiff’s legal mail. (ECF Nos. 17, 18, 19.) The Court will address each motion 24 in turn. 25 I. 26 EXTENSION OF TIME 27 Plaintiff requests a thirty-day extension of time to amend his complaint, stating that he 28 has not had sufficient law library access yet to work on the complaint. 1 1 Good cause being shown, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for an extension of time. 2 Plaintiff shall file his amended complaint or notice of voluntary dismissal on or before thirty (30) 3 days from the date of service of this order. 4 II. 5 REQUEST FOR COPIES 6 Plaintiff next requests that the Court issue an order directing the jail commander at the 7 correctional facility where he is being held to make legal copies for Plaintiff. Plaintiff states that 8 he asked the deputy about copying legal work, and was told that they do not make legal copies. 9 Plaintiff states that this means he will have to send his only copy out when need be, which 10 infringes on his access to the courts. 11 The order requested by Plaintiff is a form of preliminary injunction. The federal court’s 12 jurisdiction is limited in nature and its power to issue equitable orders may not go beyond what is 13 necessary to correct the underlying constitutional violations which form the actual case or 14 controversy. 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A); Summers v. Earth Island Institute, 555 U.S. 488, 493, 15 129 S. Ct. 1142, 1149, 173 L. Ed. 2d 1 (2009); Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env’t, 523 U.S. 16 83, 103–04, 118 S. Ct. 1003, 140 L. Ed. 2d 210 (1998); Mayfield v. United States, 599 F.3d 964, 17 969 (9th Cir.2010). 18 This action concerns Plaintiff’s allegations of the denial of medical care while he was 19 housed at Valley State Prison. Plaintiff’s original complaint was dismissed with leave to amend, 20 and thus no complaint has yet been served nor have any defendants appeared. 21 Plaintiff’s request for copies has no relation to the defendants he has named or the causes 22 of action this matter concerns. There is no jurisdiction generally over the jail commander at the 23 jail where Plaintiff is currently being held. Thus, the pendency of this action provides no basis 24 upon which to award Plaintiff injunctive relief. Steel Co., 523 U.S. at 102–103. 25 Furthermore, although inmates do have a constitutional right to access to the courts, it 26 does not include unlimited access to the law library and photocopies. Sands v. Lewis, 886 F.2d 27 1166, 1169 (9th Cir.1989) overruled on other grounds by Lewis v. Casey, 581 U.S. 343, 350–55 28 (1996). There is no authority, statutory or Constitutional, that requires a State to provide free 2 1 copying services for pleadings and papers to be filed with the court. Also, prison administrators 2 “should be accorded wide-ranging deference in the adoption and execution of policies and 3 practices that in their judgment are needed to preserve internal order and discipline and to 4 maintain institutional security.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 321–322, 106 S. Ct. 1078, 89 5 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1986) (quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547, 99 S. Ct. 1861, 60 L. Ed. 2d 6 447 (1970). 7 Based on the foregoing, the Court will not order the jail commander to provide Plaintiff 8 with legal copying services. Should Plaintiff decide to make hand-written copies of any filings 9 for his records and require additional time, he may request an extension of time supported by 10 good cause. Also, Plaintiff is informed that he may request copies of court filings from the 11 Clerk’s Office of the Court of up to 20 pages at a charge of $.50 per page. 12 III. 13 LEGAL MAIL 14 Finally, Plaintiff seeks an order or injunction directing the jail commander and mailroom 15 staff to stop opening incoming legal mail outside of the presence of the inmate. Plaintiff declares 16 in support that he received legal mail from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and two orders 17 from this Court, which were opened by the mailroom. Plaintiff states that he was informed that 18 unless the letters are properly labeled as legal mail on the envelope, they will be opened outside 19 of his presence. 20 Plaintiff asserts that these procedures violate his rights. Plaintiff requests that the Court 21 issue an order to the jail commander at his facility, and the Riverside County Sherriff, that 22 incoming mail from a court, whether it is marked legal mail or not, must be opened in front of 23 the inmate addressee. 24 As discussed above, the pendency of this action does not provide jurisdiction over non- 25 parties for matters which are not related to the issues in this case. Thus, the Court is unable to 26 award injunctive relief like the Plaintiff seeks against the non-party jail commander for mail27 related issues, which are not related to the medical claims at issue here. 28 /// 3 Further, although prisoners have a protected interest in having certain legal mail opened 1 2 only in their presence, such mail must be properly marked legal mail. See Hayes v. Idaho Corr. 3 Ctr., 849 F.3d 1204, 1211 (9th Cir. 2017). Also, generally prison or jail officials are not 4 prohibited from opening and scanning mail sent by the courts outside of an inmate’s presence. 5 See id. (quoting Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, 1094 (9th Cir. 1996) (“Mail from the courts, as 6 contrasted to mail from a prisoner's lawyer, is not legal mail.”). Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion 7 for an injunction requiring the jail commander to open mail from the courts in his presence, even 8 if it is not properly-marked legal mail, is denied. 9 IV. 10 CONCLUSION 11 For these reasons, the Court HEREBY ORDERS as follows: 12 1. Plaintiff’s motion for an extension of time to amend his complaint (ECF No. 17), 13 is GRANTED. Plaintiff’s amended complaint or notice of voluntary dismissal is due thirty (30) 14 days from the date of service of this order; 2. 15 Plaintiff’s motion for an order directing a correctional facility to make legal 16 copies for Plaintiff (ECF No. 18), is DENIED; and 3. 17 Plaintiff’s motion for an order directing the jail not to open Plaintiff’s mail from 18 the courts, regardless of labelling (ECF No. 19), is DENIED. 19 20 21 IT IS SO ORDERED. 22 Dated: June 2, 2017 UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE 23 24 25 26 27 28 4

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