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Pressley v. Beard

February 15, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Edwin M. Kosik United States District Judge



Sean Pressley, an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action on November 23, 2004. While he names over sixty (60) defendants in the complaint, some of the defendants have since been dismissed by the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) in a Memorandum and Order issued on 9/26/05. (Doc. 41.) In this same Memorandum, the Court also found two pending motions to dismiss previously filed by defendants as moot, and allowed defendants to submit a motion to dismiss within fifteen (15) days raising the statute of limitations.*fn1

In his complaint, Pressley names as defendants Department of Corrections officials, as well as employees of SCI-Camp Hill and SCI-Greene, his former place of confinement. He alleges that defendants denied him access to the courts, interfered with his mail, violated his First Amendment right to practice religion, harassed him and retaliated against him. The claims alleged in the complaint span the time period from June of 2000 and continuing until the time he filed this action in November of 2004. Pressley was transferred from SCI-Greene to SCI-Camp Hill in June of 2003.

Presently pending before the Court for consideration are three motions filed by Pressley: a motion for temporary restraining order ("tro")(Doc. 23); a motion for order precluding defendants from opposing the motion for temporary restraining order (Doc. 30); and a motion for assistance with litigation expenses*fn2 (Doc. 33).


A. Motion Requesting Assistance with Litigation Expenses

Pressley submits a one (1) page request that the Court assist him with his litigation expenses because he is indigent and cannot afford the postage, copying charges and funds necessary for legal supplies to maintain his various legal actions. He claims that he is not able to cover the expense of serving his documents on defendants due to the number of other legal actions in which he is involved.

First, Pressley has not submitted a brief in support of his motion as required by M.D. Pa. Local Rule 7.5. On this basis alone, the motion can be deemed withdrawn. However, even addressing the merits, the motion can be denied. The fact that Pressley has other lawsuits pending that require litigation is a matter of his own doing. He has the responsibility to prosecute each of the lawsuits he initiates as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Middle District Local Rules of Court. Further, he does not contend that he has no supplies with which to litigate his actions, but rather, only that he cannot afford the postage, supplies and other materials he needs to keep up with each of his actions. There is no indication in the present case that Pressley is unable to litigate this action in any way. He clearly has access to pens, paper and postage. Further, while Pressley names numerous defendants in this case, they are all represented by the same counsel and thus far, Pressley has demonstrated no difficulty in serving Attorney Raymond Dorian with his pleadings. According, there exists no basis for waiving the costs associated with litigating this action, and the motion will be denied.

B. Motion to Preclude Defendants from Opposing TRO Motion

Pressley seeks an order of court precluding defendants' opposition to his motion for temporary restraining order. (Doc. 30.) In the motion, he contends that on March 24, 2005, this Court issued an Order directing defendants to respond to Pressley's motion within ten (10) days. He argues that because defendants' opposition brief was not filed until April 15, 2005, it is untimely and therefore should be stricken.

Pressley is correct in so far as the Court did issue the March 24, 2005 Order as stated. This would have made the opposition brief due on April 11, 2005. As such, the April 15, 2005 brief would be untimely. However, under the circumstances of the instant case, the Court will accept the brief as filed by defendants. While the March 24, 2005 Order did require the brief on or before April 11, 2005, Pressley had not yet filed his brief in support of the motion at the time the Order was issued. His supporting brief was not filed until March 28, 2005 (Doc. 25). Technically speaking, defendants have fifteen (15) days following the submission of a supporting brief within which to oppose a motion pursuant to the Middle District Local Rules of Court. See M.D. Pa. Local Rule 7.6. While the March 24, 2005 Order was indeed in existence, Pressley did not file a supporting brief until after this date. Defendants thereafter submitted their opposition to the motion timely in accordance with Rule 7.6. In fairness to defendants, their brief will be accepted and considered by the Court. Further, in deciding an issue in a case, it behooves all parties to have the Court fully informed of all the facts surrounding the dispute. As such, the motion will be denied.

C. Motion for Temporary Restraining Order

Pressley has filed a motion seeking a temporary restraining order which prevents Defendants Huber and Marsh from impeding his access to boxes of litigation materials stored at SCI-Camp Hill. He alleges as follows in his motion. He states that inmates in the Special Management Unit at SCI-Camp Hill are only permitted to have one (1) box of personal property in their cell at one time. The box of material currently in his cell includes legal, religious and personal ...

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