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Mauchlin v. Zhon

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 25, 2016



RAYMOND P. MOORE United States District Judge

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Peter P. Mauchlin’s Sworn Declaration, with exhibit, (the “Objection”) (ECF No. 193) requesting the following relief: (1) the vacating of Magistrate Judge Nina Y. Wang’s Order of February 2, 2016 (the “Order”) (ECF No. 192), which denied Mr. Mauchlin’s request for appointment of counsel; (2) an independent investigation of Steve Clough’s Declaration (ECF No. 184-1), because it is allegedly perjurious; (3) the sealing of “Theodore Kosinksi’s”, [1] the unabomber, medical records, because Dr. Clough allegedly revealed Mr. Kaczynski’s confidential medical information; and(4) the recusal of the Magistrate Judge, because she allegedly abused her discretion in approving Defendants’ counsel - rather than a “disinterested third-party” - to investigate and report on Mr. Mauchlin’s vision treatment. As Mr. Mauchlin proceeds pro se, the Court liberally construes the Objection (titled as a Sworn Declaration) as a combined objection to the Magistrate Judge’s Order and motion for additional relief. Upon consideration of the Objection, the Order, the Declaration of Steve Clough (the “Declaration”), the Court file, and the applicable statutes, rules, and case law, and being otherwise fully advised, the Court denies all relief requested.


Mr. Mauchlin filed this action alleging deliberate indifference to his conditions of confinement, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Upon the Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge, [2] subsequently adopted by this Court, this case was administratively closed in light of Mr. Mauchlin’s then impending cataract surgery. (ECF Nos. 158-162.)

By letter dated August 10, 2015, Mr. Mauchlin requested this case be reopened based on assertions his eye problems had not been addressed. By Order dated September 1, 2015, this case was reopened. On December 29, 2015, the Magistrate Judge held a status conference where Mr. Mauchlin renewed a request for appointment of counsel due to vision problems. The Magistrate Judge ordered Defendants to file, among other things, a status report setting forth the status of Mr. Mauchlin’s eye treatment and the reasons why Mr. Mauchlin has not received the cataract surgery for which he had been allegedly approved. The Magistrate Judge also set a further status conference for February 2, 2016.

On January 11, 2016, Defendants filed their Status Report, supported by Dr. Clough’s Declaration, outlining Mr. Mauchlin’s history of treatment for complaints of vision problems or cataracts since September 2014, just prior to the approval of Mr. Mauchlin for eye surgery. Dr. Clough’s Declaration, with supporting documents, shows Mr. Mauchlin was scheduled for surgery on October 26, 2015, but he effectively rejected such surgery when he refused to wear a custody belt for the transport to his place of surgery. The Declaration further shows that, after the December 29, 2015, status conference, Dr. Clough requested Mr. Mauchlin be scheduled for an eye exam, but he refused. Defendants represent that if Mr. Mauchlin agrees to such evaluation, he will, at that time, be considered for referral for cataract surgery anew.

Mr. Mauchlin also submitted documents for the Magistrate Judge’s consideration, before and after Defendants submitted their Status Report and Dr. Clough’s Declaration. Among other things, Mr. Mauchlin’s documents show he was evaluated by Dr. Clough in 2012 and 2013.

On February 2, 2016, the Magistrate Judge held the status conference as scheduled, but Mr. Mauchlin failed to appear. Based on the record before her, the Magistrate Judge denied Mr. Mauchlin’s request for appointment of counsel, finding that it appeared Mr. Mauchlin was refusing to comply with direction that could remedy the basis for his request for counsel, i.e., his vision impairment. On February 16, 2016, Mr. Mauchlin filed the Objection at issue.


A. Pro Se Filings

Mr. Mauchlin proceeds pro se. The Court, therefore, reviews his pleadings and other filings liberally and holds them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); see also Trackwell v. United States Gov’t, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007). Mr. Mauchlin’s pro se status, however, does not entitle him to application of different civil procedure rules. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); Wells v. Krebs, Case No. 10-CV-00023, 2010 WL 3521777, at *2 (D. Colo. Sept. 1, 2010) (citation omitted), affirmed and adopted in 2010 WL 4449729. In this instance, the Court construes Mr. Mauchlin’s Objection as a combined objection and motion. In the future, however, Mr. Mauchlin is expected - and directed - to properly title all his filings with the court, titling objections as such and requests for relief as motions.

B. Objection to the Order

In considering objections to non-dispositive rulings by a Magistrate Judge, such as that at issue here, the Court must adopt the Magistrate Judge’s ruling unless it finds that the ruling is “clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(a); Hutchinson v. Pfeil, 105 F.3d 562, 566 (10th Cir. 1997); Ariza v. U.S. West Commc’ns, Inc., 167 F.R.D. 131, 133 (D. Colo. 1996). The clearly erroneous standard “requires that the reviewing court affirm unless it on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.” Ocelot Oil Corp. v. Sparrow Indus., 847 F.2d 1458, 1464 (10th Cir. 1988) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The “contrary to law” standard permits “plenary review as to matters of law, ” but the Court will set aside a Magistrate Judge’s order only if it applied the wrong legal standard or applied the appropriate legal standard incorrectly. 12 Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 3069, at 350, 355 (2d ed. 1997). “Because a magistrate judge is afforded broad discretion in the resolution of non-dispositive . . . disputes, the court will overrule the magistrate judge’s determination only if his discretion is abused.” Ariza, 167 F.R.D. at 133; see also Wright et al., supra, at 350 (noting that the “contrary to law” standard appears to invite plenary review but noting that “many matters . . . might be better characterized as suitable for an abuse-of-discretion analysis”).

Mr. Mauchlin’s request for appointment of counsel is based on his vision impairment. The Order denying the request is based on the finding that Mr. Mauchlin’s vision impairment may be remedied, but he refuses to comply with the requirements necessary to do so. Mr. Mauchlin argues the Order erroneously relied on Dr. Clough to deny relief. According to Mr. Mauchlin, Dr. Clough’s ...

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