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Bettys v. Quigley

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

December 7, 2017

JOHN E. BETTYS, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN W. QUIGLEY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE EXCESS PAGES AND FOR AN EXTENSION

          J. Richard Creatura, United States Magistrate Judge

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights matter has been referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636 (b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Magistrate Judge Rules MJR 1, MJR 3, and MJR 4. This matter is before the Court on plaintiff's motion for leave to file excess pages and motion to enlarge time for the filing of his response to defendants' motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 125. Defendants object. Dkt. 126.

         Previously, on November 3, 2017, this Court granted defendants' motion for leave to file excess pages in support of their motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. 115. Because plaintiff automatically receives “an equal number of additional pages, ” plaintiff's motion currently before the Court requesting additional pages to respond is unnecessary. See Local Rules WAWD Civil Rule 7(f)(4). Defendants received and utilized 16 additional pages for their motion, and plaintiff automatically receives the same amount of pages for his brief in opposition. See id. To the extent that plaintiff may be seeking more additional pages beyond the additional 16 pages, and seeks to file a response longer than defendants' motion, plaintiff's motion is denied. See Dkt. 125.

         Plaintiff also requests additional time to respond to defendants' long motion for summary judgment. Defendants complain that plaintiff did not contact them to request an extension, and that he declined to enter into an agreed briefing schedule with them. See Dkt. 126, p. 2. Although defendants also contest plaintiff's contention that he is a “mere ‘pro se' layman of law struggling to respond, ” plaintiff actually is proceeding pro se and is not an attorney. For this reason, because defendants' motion is very long, and to give plaintiff a fair opportunity to respond to defendants' motion, plaintiff's motion for an extension is granted. Defendants also are provided an extension for their reply, as requested.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's underlying § 1983 action alleging unconstitutional conditions of confinement raises various issues, such as the allegation that plaintiff receives less Sexual Offender Treatment Program (“SOTP”) hours of treatment while he is being civilly detained as a Sexually Violent Predator (“SVP”) than is provided to prisoners. See Dkt. 82, ¶ 4.2. In addition to his allegations regarding insufficient SOTP treatment, plaintiff also presents multiple various other types of allegations. See, e.g., Id. at ¶ 4.17.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants, in their motion for leave to file an overlength brief, argued that plaintiff's numerous claims “go into detail regarding numerous aspects of daily living at the Special Commitment Center, ” and that they believed it would “be necessary to exceed the page limit to address these claims sufficiently to provide the Court with a roadmap to reaching a decision.” Dkt. 114. The Court found defendants' argument to be persuasive, granted their motion, and they subsequently filed a 40 page motion. See Dkt. 117.

         Now, plaintiff, proceeding pro se, seeks 9 additional days in which to respond to defendants' motion, until December 20, 2017. See Dkt. 125. Plaintiff contends that he is “a mere ‘pro se' layman of law struggling through extensive discovery documentation, case-law histories and witness declarations, without any formal legal training to assist him in timely preparing meaningful responsive legal pleadings.” Id. at 3. Although this self-characterization is disputed, the Court finds it to be persuasive. Plaintiff also indicates that he “must complete obtaining declaratory evidence from all relevant witnesses himself, in addition to researching relevant case-law in response to the defense counsel's over-length motion . . . .” Id. at 2-3. This argument, too, the Court finds persuasive.

         In order to serve the interests of justice and facilitate a full and fair opportunity for plaintiff to present his position, the Court grants plaintiff's motion for an extension until December 20, 2017. Defendants complain that they will be prejudiced by such an extension, noting that they likely will not receive plaintiff's brief until after the Christmas holiday, and they have other briefs due and some counsel will be out of the office. See Dkt. 126. To alleviate these time constraint issues that granting plaintiff's motion may cause defendants, defendants' request that if his motion is granted that they also be granted an extension (until January 5, 2018) to file their reply, is granted.

         CONCLUSION

         For the reasons stated herein, the Court hereby orders that plaintiff's Motion for extension of time is GRANTED. Dkt. 125. His motion to file excess pages is DENIED.

         Plaintiff's response brief, with a maximum of 16 additional pages, is due on December 20, 2017. Defendants' reply brief is due on January 5, 2018. The Clerk's office ...


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