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Williamson v. Houser

United States District Court, District of Alaska

March 16, 2015

THOR JAMES WILLIAMSON, Plaintiff,
v.
EARL HOUSER, et al., Defendants.

ORDER PERMITTING THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT SOLELY ON COURT FORM

SHARON L. GLEASON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Thor James Williamson, a self-represented state prisoner, has filed a Second Amended Complaint (SAC) as permitted by the Court’s Order at Docket 24.[1] In his SAC, Mr. Williamson asserts violations of his Due Process rights against each of the Defendants, state officials at Palmer Correctional Center (PCC), in their individual capacities for money damages.[2]

In its earlier Order Permitting Amended Complaint, at Docket 21, the Court explained the requirements for stating a claim for relief for violations that may have occurred as a result of the acts of various state officials in Mr. Williamson’s case.[3]The possible claims explained by the Court, after reviewing the facts alleged by Mr. Williamson, included the denial of the right of access to the courts, [4] the violation of the right to Due Process, [5] and retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights.[6] The Court also explained that to obtain money damages from an individual defendant, Mr. Williamson must assert facts showing that that individual defendant participated in causing his alleged injuries.[7]

Again, because Mr. Williamson is a prisoner, the Court is required to “identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.”[8]

1. Mr. Williamson has failed to state a claim for relief for the violation of his right to Due Process.

The Supreme Court has explained that “the Due Process Clause provides that certain substantive rights-life, liberty, and property-cannot be deprived except pursuant to constitutionally adequate procedures. . . [O]nce it is determined that the Due Process Clause applies, ‘the question remains what process is due.’”[9]Further, Mr. Williamson must show that any denial of his right to Due Process resulted in an injury in fact.[10]

In his first claim for relief, against Earl Houser, the Assistant Superintendent of PCC, Mr. Williamson alleges as follows:

After being placed in segregation denied and deprived access to my current civil legal documents from the courts for 49 days. by knowing his officers seized court documentation until disciplinary action could be imposed before D-Board and all segregation time completed. After stating “employees of the Department do not deny any ones their rights to Due Process”. After All Earl Houser was one of the officers that had placed me in segregation to begin with. My right to “Due Process” were violated by the above named defendant for (49) days while housed in segregation. This conduct is unacceptable and constitutes deliberate indifference. Plaintiff had permission by staff remember Paul Kroening to store a box of legal work in his office. And my name and the box had the words (LEGAL COURT DOCUMENTS) written all over it. So, there was no chance of this box of legal documents could be considered abandoned property, or what it was. Or who it belonged to. Or where I was at.[11]

Mr. Williamson states that he was denied access to his legal documents while he was in segregation for 49 days.[12] He has not specifically stated, however, how his Due Process rights were violated during that process, resulting in an injury. Thus, Mr. Williamson has not stated a claim for relief against Earl Houser for the violation of his right to Due Process.[13]

In his second claim for relief, Mr. Williamson alleges that Robert Hall, a sergeant at PCC, violated his rights as follows:

On 9/19/2014, Plaintiff submitted request for access to his legal documentation regarding Civil Complaint and litigation. Defendant Hall denied me access to my documentation and stated that I’m only allowed to have information pertaining to my criminal case. Defendant Robert Hall continued to deny me access to my Civil case by stating that I will be able to work on it once I was released from segregation. Defendant Hall consistently denies my requests again on Sept 29th 2014. My rights to “Due Process” were violated by Robert Hall for an extended period of time. This conduct is unacceptable and constitutes, “deliberate indifference” to my civil rights.[14]

Again, alleging that Mr. Williamson was denied access to his legal documents while he was in segregation for 49 days, without more, does not state a claim for relief for the violation of Mr. Williamson’s right to Due Process.

In his third claim, against PCC Sergeant Frances Buzby, Mr. Williamson also alleges that his rights were violated as follows:

On 9/2/2014, at approximately 7:00, Frances Buzby was notified about Williamson’s box of legal documents being stored in the education department office. Williamson had permission by Staff member Paul Kroening to leave my box of legal work in the office while I was scheduled to leave the facility for day surgery. Defendant Buzby violated Privileged Mail. Defendant Buzby used my Privileged mail and legal documents to issue an incident report stating that some of the paper work was a (Direct threat) to the security to the Institution. Officer Buzby violated confidentiality by breaching the documents contained in my legal material. Further, Defendant Buzby deprived and denied me access to my legal work by seizing the documentation until disciplinary action could be imposed before D-Board. My Right to “Due Process” were violated by the above mentioned defendant for (49) days while housed in segregation, pending and completing disciplinary actions.[15]

And in his fourth claim, Mr. Williamson alleges the following against Douglass Shaeffer, a PCC Property Officer:

On 9/19/2014, Plaintiff submitted requests for access to his legal documents regarding Civil Complaint and other litigation. Defendant Shaeffer, denied me access to my documentation. for the 49 days I was in the hole telling me I must get my legal documents from Defendant Hall. This denies my rights to Due Process. And my rights were violated by Douqlass Sheaffer for an extended period of time. This conduct is unacceptable and constitutes, “deliberate indifference.” to my civil rights.[16]

Mr. Williamson has not specifically alleged how his Due Process rights were violated, resulting in an injury, by Frances Buzby, Douglass Shaeffer, or any other Defendant.[17]

2. Mr. Williamson will be given a final opportunity to proceed with this case.[18]

Mr. Williamson may either (1) proceed on his First Amended Complaint at Docket 22, without the attachments, and with an errata providing the full names of the three remaining Defendants in the caption (as explained in the Order Permitting Second Amended Complaint Solely on Court Form, at Docket 24); or (2) file a Third Amended Complaint solely on the form provided by the Court, with no attachments.

If Mr. Williamson chooses to file a Third Amended Complaint, he should allege facts against only one defendant for each claim for relief in the space provided. In Claim 1, for example, Mr. Williamson could state facts solely in support of his allegation that Assistant Superintendent Houser violated his Due Process rights, and how he was injured as a result; in Claim 2, he could state facts solely against Sergeant Robert Hall for the violation of his right to access to the courts, and how he was injured as a result; and so on.

If he chooses to amend, Mr. Williamson must state, specifically, what each state official did or did not do which he believes violated his federal civil rights, and what specific relief he seeks from the Court – whether in the form of damages or injunctive relief. Mr. Williamson must decide, for each defendant, whether he or she is being sued in his or her individual capacity (requesting money damages for participating in causing his injuries), or official capacity (requesting injunctive relief to address a policy or custom that resulted in his injuries).

The Court is sending a form upon which Mr. Williamson must file any amended complaint. In completing this form, Mr. Williamson should state the facts in his own words, as if he were briefly and concisely telling someone what happened. The facts provided in support of each separate claim must specifically include the name of the particular defendant, what happened, how the particular defendant was involved, when the events occurred, where those events occurred, how he was hurt, and what the injuries were. In other words, Mr. Williamson must avoid stating conclusions.[19]

Later, if his claims proceed before the Court on the merits, at the discretion of the Court, Mr. Williamson may be given an opportunity to file a brief on the issues in which he may more thoroughly argue the case with supporting documentation.[20]

A Third Amended Complaint must be complete in itself without reference to any prior pleading.[21] That is, any defendant not named or claim not re-alleged is generally considered waived.[22] Thus, in a Third Amended Complaint, Mr. Williamson should make no reference to his previous complaints or other extraneous documents.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:

1. The Second Amended Complaint, with errata, at Dockets 25 and 26-1, is DISMISSED without prejudice to filing a Third Amended Complaint.

2. The Motion at Docket 20 is STRICKEN as improper under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[23]

3. The Clerk of Court is directed to send form PS01, Prisoner’s Complaint under the Civil Rights Act, and a copy of the Court’s Orders at Dockets 21 and 24 to Mr. Williamson with this Order.

4. Mr. Williamson may proceed on his First Amended Complaint at Docket 22 (as explained in Docket 24), against the three remaining Defendants, or he may file a Third Amended Complaint on or before April 16, 2015. If he files a Third Amended Complaint, he must do so solely on the form provided by the Court, with no attachments. He must state facts against only a single defendant in each claim for relief. He must make no legal arguments.

5. If Mr. Williamson decides to proceed solely on his First Amended Complaint at Docket 22, without attachments, he shall file a notice with the Court on or before April 16, 2015. He shall also submit an errata to his First Amended Complaint on the first page of the Prisoner’s Civil Rights Complaint form provided to him with this Order. On that paper, Mr. Williamson must list all of the three remaining Defendants by their full names in the caption, and complete the remainder of the page.[24] He shall title that page, “Errata to Amended Complaint at Docket 22, ” and return the page to the Clerk of Court on or before April 16, 2015.


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