United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO PRODUCE AND
MOTION FOR CONTINUANCE
THERESA L. FRICKE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's motion to
produce legal paperwork (Dkt. 67) and motion for a
continuance to reply to defendants' response to
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 71).
motion for summary judgment was re-noted for consideration on
December 15, 2017, pending the parties' efforts to settle
plaintiff's remaining claims. Dkt. 60-61. Plaintiff filed
his motion to produce legal paperwork on December 7, 2017.
Dkt. 67. Plaintiff states in that motion that he was
transferred from the Washington State Penitentiary on October
27, 2017, and arrived at the Monroe Correctional Complex
(“MCC”) on November 6, 2017. Id.
states that per Department of Corrections (“DOC”)
policy, two boxes of property are to be shipped with an
inmate upon transfer to another prison facility. Dkt. 67.
Plaintiff states that on November 20, 2017, he requested
assistance from an MCC counselor in obtaining legal paperwork
that “pertains to this matter” - which since his
transfer he had been without - and that the next day that
counselor requested it on his behalf. Id. at p. 2.
Plaintiff further states that on December 6, 2017, he was
informed that two boxes had arrived for him, but that neither
box contained the requested paperwork. Id.
asserts that without his legal paperwork, he is unable to
reply to defendant in regard to their response to his summary
judgment motion. On December 14, 2017, plaintiff filed his
motion for a 30-day continuance to reply to defendants'
response to his motion for summary judgment, again on the
basis of lack of access to his legal paperwork. Dkt. 71.
response to plaintiff's motion to produce his legal
paperwork defendants state:
At the time of his transport to the Monroe Correctional
Complex, two boxes of Plaintiff's property was shipped
with him on the transport bus. There is one remaining box of
Plaintiff's property at the Washington Corrections
Center. However, he has yet to provide the funds to cover the
shipping costs. None of Plaintiff's boxes were marked
“Legal” or stated they had legal documents as
contents. . . .
Dkt. 68, p. 2. Defendants object to plaintiff's motion on
the basis that:
(1) he “failed to properly follow the procedure to
ensure any additional personal legal records that he may need
would be transported with him”; and
(2) “while the additional box may contain some of his
personal legal pleadings, it may also contain other personal
items that the Department would be required to transport that
go well beyond any necessary legal access that he may
Id. In response to plaintiff's motion for a
continuance, defendants state they have no objection to such
a continuance, but disclaim any “knowledge or
information regarding the factual allegations contained in
[that] motion, and disagree that he does not have access to
adequate legal resources at the [MCC].” Dkt. 73, at pp.
Court notes at the outset that plaintiff did not allege he
lacks access to adequate legal resources at the MCC, but
rather that he lacks access to his own legal paperwork.
See Dkt. 71. In addition, DOC Policy 440.020
expressly states: “The following items will also be
transported with the offender, but will not be included in
the 2 box limit: . . . Legal documents/papers needed to meet
a court imposed deadline, boxed/bagged and labeled using DOC
21-329 Property - ID Label.” Dkt. 69-1, pp. 3-4. The
plain meaning of this rule would seem to be that as long as
the legal documents/papers are properly labeled per DOC
21-329, an inmate is entitled to receive them beyond the 2
box limit. Id.
noted above, defendants assert the one remaining box of
plaintiff's was not marked as “Legal” or
otherwise indicated it contained legal documents. It is not
clear whether or not that is what is needed to satisfy the
requirements of DOC 21-329. Be that as it may, plaintiff has
not made any claim or showing that the remaining box was
marked in such a way as to indicate to prison staff at the
time of his transfer or thereafter that it contained any
legal documents/papers needed to meet a court imposed
plaintiff does allege he asked a counselor at the MCC to
request his legal paperwork, and that the counselor did so.
While plaintiff does not allege he indicated to that
counselor or any other prison official at the time of
transport or upon his arrival at the MCC that the third box
contained legal paperwork needed to meet a court imposed
deadline, he has now done so - at least to defense
counsel - via the two motions he has filed. Further, the
Court sees no reason, and defendants have not presented any
argument, as to why they cannot now work with ...