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Trujillo v. Williams

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

February 12, 2018

JESSE TRUJILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE WILLIAMS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO REOPEN AND FIND DEFENDANTS IN CONTEMPT OF THIS COURT'S ORDER

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the pro se Motion filed by Plaintiff, Jesse Trujillo, asking the Court to reopen this case and find the Defendants in contempt of court (Doc. 147), the Defendants' Response (Doc. 149), Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. 150), Defendants' Surreply (Doc. 151), and Plaintiff's Answer to Surreply (Doc. 152). The Court will grant, in part, and deny, in part, the Motion to reopen this case and will direct the Defendants to continue to comply with the Court's September 30, 2011 Order Adopting Postage Plan (Doc. 129).

         Plaintiff, Jesse Trujillo, is a prisoner under control of the New Mexico Corrections Department but housed, under contract, in the State of Virginia. Plaintiff Trujillo is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff Trujillo filed his Civil Rights Complaint commencing this action on June 4, 2004. (Doc. 1). In his Complaint, Plaintiff Trujillo alleged his constitutional right of meaningful access to the New Mexico state courts, where he was sentenced, was being infringed, in part due to having to pay postage in order to send his filings to New Mexico (Doc. 1 at 4, 11). On September 8, 2004, the Court entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order and a Judgment dismissing the case for failure to state a claim for relief. (Doc. 8, 9). Plaintiff Trujillo appealed from the dismissal, and the Tenth Circuit reversed, in part, and remanded the case to this Court for further proceedings. (Doc. 11, 14).

         Trujillo filed an Amended Complaint on April 4, 2007, adding an equal protection claim against the Defendants. (Doc. 19). The Magistrate Judge entered Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition (“PFRD”) on July 13, 2009. (Doc. 62). Plaintiff Trujillo objected to the PFRD. (Doc. 64). On September 30, 2009, the Court entered its Order granting, in part, motions to dismiss filed by the Defendants, overruling Plaintiff's objections, and adopting the Magistrate Judge's PFRD. (Doc. 67). Trujillo appealed to the Tenth Circuit and the appeal was placed in abeyance due to the lack of a final order. (Doc. 69).

         Plaintiff Trujillo filed a second Amended Complaint on November 9, 2009, claiming that he was not being provided postage in order to be able to access the New Mexico Department of Corrections grievance system and the New Mexico courts. (Doc. 72). In response to an Order of the Court, the Defendants filed a Martinez Report on May 7, 2010. (Doc. 91). On May 21, 2010, the Court then granted Trujillo in forma pauperis status under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and certified its September 30, 2009 Order for appeal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). (Doc. 95). Trujillo filed an Amended Notice of Appeal on September 27, 2010, and, on appeal, the Tenth Circuit affirmed this Court's dismissal. (Doc. 97, 104).

         The Magistrate Judge then issued a PFRD on Plaintiff's second Amended Complaint on October 5, 2010, recommending that a plan be adopted to provide Plaintiff with access to the New Mexico Corrections Department grievance system and the New Mexico Courts. (Doc. 105). Plaintiff Objected to the PFRD on November 29, 2011. (Doc. 109). On August 3, 2011, the Court overruled the objections, adopted the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendations, and ordered that the Defendants file a plan with the Court to enable Plaintiff to send legal requests and grievances to the NMCD at no expense to himself. (Doc. 120). Plaintiff Trujillo filed a Notice of Appeal, appealing from the Court's August 3, 2011 Order. (Doc. 120). The appeal was, again, held in abeyance due to the lack of a final order.

         Defendants filed their Plan to Allow Postage Free Legal Request by Plaintiff to NMCD on August 17, 2011. (Doc. 121). The Plan stated:

“1. NMCD will provide to Plaintiff in Virginia three (3) standard business envelopes stamped and addressed to NMCD for legal requests and grievances upon acceptance of this plan by the Court.
2. In the response or reply sent to Trujillo, a new, stamped, pre-addressed envelope will be include for the use of Trujillo in making further requests.”

(Doc. 121). The Court adopted Defendants' Plan in its September 30, 2011 Order and entered Final Judgment. (Doc. 129, 130). The Tenth Circuit issued its Mandate, affirming the rulings of this Court, on March 12, 2012. (Doc. 133).

         Plaintiff then filed a Motion for Order, asking the Court to enter an order on his request for an award of filing fees and costs on April 24, 2013. (Doc. 139). The Magistrate Judge entered a third PFRD on October 9, 2013. (Doc. 141). The Court adopted the PFRD over objections filed by Plaintiff Trujillo. (Doc. 142, 143). Plaintiff Trujillo also filed a Motion for a temporary restraining Order on February 24, 2014. (Doc. 144). The Court entered an Order and Corrected Order noting that Plaintiff's Motion sought relief on matters beyond the scope of the original complaint and ordering that the Motion be re-docketed as a pleading commencing a new civil rights case. (See Doc. 145, 146; See, also, No. CV 14-00206 MCA/KK).

         Plaintiff Trujillo filed his Motion to Reopen Case on August 4, 2016. (Doc. 147). In his Motion, Plaintiff claims that Defendants are no longer complying with the September 30, 2011 Order and seeks to have the Court reopen this case, require the Defendants to comply with the Court's September 30, 2011 Order, and hold Defendants in contempt. (Doc. 147).

         A motion to reopen a case following final judgment proceeds under Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). In order to set aside a final order or judgment and reopen a case, a plaintiff must establish one of six enumerated reasons:

“(1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
(2) newly discovered evidence that, with reasonable diligence, could not have been discovered in time to move for ...

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