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Power v. Cain

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

January 14, 2015

ROBERT A. POWER (#528218),
v.
BURL CAIN, ET AL

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT

STEPHEN C. RIEDLINGER, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is the defendants' Motion to Dismiss which shall be treated as a motion for summary judgment.[1] Record document numbers 36, 44. The motion is opposed.[2]

Pro se plaintiff, an inmate confined at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc, Warden Burl Cain, Legal Programs Director Trish Foster and Warden Robert Butler. Plaintiff alleged that his legal mail was lost, he was barred from proceeding in two courts as a result of the failure by legal programs personnel to perform their jobs efficiently, and prison officials have refused to respond to his administrative grievance, all in violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff sought monetary damages and injunctive relief.

Plaintiff supplemented his complaint to allege that the Legal Programs department refused to answer his Administrative Remedy Procedure (hereafter "ARP").[3] Plaintiff further alleged that his state court criminal proceedings were injured and any chance of challenging his conviction is nonexistent.

After the defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss, the plaintiff filed a Motion to Object and Amend Suit.[4] The motion was granted in part, and the plaintiff's complaint was deemed amended by attachment of the 3-1-13 letter to LeBlanc regarding ARP LSP-2012-3785 and the Supplemental Report to ARP LSP-2012-3785.[5] A supplemental ruling was later issued recognizing the motion also as a Rule 41(a), Fed.R.Civ.P., dismissal the plaintiff's claims against defendants Burl Cain, Robert Butler and James LeBlanc.[6]

Defendant Trish Foster moved for summary judgment relying on a statement of undisputed facts and the results of ARP LSP-2012-3785.[7]

I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff alleged that on three separate occasions his legal mail was lost. Plaintiff alleged that as a result he has been barred from proceeding with litigation by two courts.

Plaintiff alleged that prison administrators refused to answer his ARP because they do not want him to proceed to court. Plaintiff alleged that he was repeatedly asked to dismiss ARPs. Plaintiff alleged that the Legal Programs department refused to answer his ARP because the complaint is against the department.

Plaintiff alleged that he is being denied access to the courts, and as a result the period in which he can challenge his criminal conviction through state habeas corpus and post-conviction relief will soon elapse. Plaintiff alleged that his criminal proceedings were injured and he has no chance of challenging his conviction.

II. Applicable Law and Analysis

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P. Supporting affidavits must set forth facts which would be admissible in evidence. Opposing responses must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Rule 56(c). Speculation, unsupported assertions, and conclusory allegations are inadequate to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Hernandez v. Yellow Transp., Inc., 670 F.3d 644, ...


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