United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER ADDRESSING PENDING MOTIONS
S. Krieger Senior United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to an array
of motions filed by Mr. Johnson pro
se. The specific motions at issue will be
Johnson is a prisoner in the custody of the Colorado
Department of Corrections (“CDOC”). At all
pertinent times, Mr. Johnson was housed at CDOC's Denver
Reception and Diagnostic Center (“DRDC”).
According to Mr. Johnson's Third Amended Complaint
(# 55), which is the current operative
pleading, on September 16, 2017, Mr. Johnson issued a
“kite” - a written grievance or request - asking
that DRDC staff provide him with a kufi, prayer rug, and copy
of the Qur'an, so as to facilitate Mr. Johnson's
practice of his Muslim religion. Sgt. Barnes responded to Mr.
Johnson's request, stating that “we don't have
those kinds of books at this facility.” The following
week, Mr. Johnson spoke to a chaplain, Defendant Love. Mr.
Johnson repeated his request for Islamic religious materials,
and Chaplain Love responded that “Islam is not
something that is practiced at [DRDC] because it is of the
devil.” Mr. Johnson then repeated his request to Sgt.
Barnes, noting that DRDC had an abundance of bibles but
apparently no copies of the Qur'an. Sgt. Barnes suggested
that Mr. Johnson “read the bible, they're the
same.” Mr. Johnson objected to that instruction, and
Sgt. Barnes responded “We don't do Islam at DRDC.
Either you read the bible or go to the hole for facility
September 26, 2017, Mr. Johnson asked Defendant C.O. John
Doe, a corrections officer, how he could obtain a Qur'an.
C.O. Doe responded similarly to Sgt. Barnes, suggesting that
Mr. Johnson “just read the bible, they're the same
anyway.” C.O. Doe then offered to locate a copy of the
Qur'an for Mr. Johnson, but never did.
September 30, 2017, Mr. Johnson requested that he be added to
the list of inmates requesting to use the unit's
telephone. A fellow inmate named Stetson Bustos responded
that “Muslims can't use the phone.” Mr.
Bustos also told Mr. Johnson that “if you continue
harassing DRDC filing grievances, I'll kill you.”
Mr. Johnson and Mr. Bustos then had a physical altercation,
which was broken up by DRDC staff using mace. Mr. Johnson was
taken to segregation and DRDC staff confiscated his
medically-issued boot. Mr. Johnson alleges that staff
confiscated the boot as “retaliation because [Mr.
Johnson] did not lose the fight as the defendants
expected.” (The boot was returned to Mr. Johnson by
another DRDC staffer about two weeks later.)
October 1, 2017, Mr. Johnson was in a segregation cell,
drafting legal papers for a lawsuit. Lt. Wence told Mr.
Johnson to “cut it out” and stop working on the
legal papers. The following day, Lt. Wence became angry that
Mr. Johnson was continuing his legal work and stated that
“I thought I told you to stop yesterday.” Lt.
Wence repeated that “we don't do Islam at
DRDC” and stated that, if Mr. Johnson continued,
“I will send another inmate at you just like [Mr.
liberally in Mr. Johnson's favor, his Third Amended
Complaint asserts two claims, both under 42 U.S.C. §
1983: (i) a claim that each of the Defendants violated Mr.
Johnson's First Amendment right to the Free Exercise of
religion by depriving him of religious materials; and (ii)
that Lt. Wence retaliated against Mr. Johnson for engaging in
speech protected by the First Amendment - namely, drafting
legal papers - by threatening Mr. Johnson with violence.
Johnson is a prolific filer of motions, and there are roughly
a dozen motions by Mr. Johnson pending before the Court,
although many of these motions seek similar categories of
relief. First, Mr. Johnson has failed several motions
(# 73, 90, 97, 111, 127) that seek to
amend his pleadings in various respects. Second, several of
Mr. Johnson's motions request appointment of counsel
(# 74, 81, 127) or court orders to
facilitate his pursuit of this litigation in other respects
(# 77) (requesting the Court order CDOC to
allow him to retain additional legal materials), (#
78) (requesting a typewriter); (#
113) (requesting Court-appointed expert witness to
assist him). A third category of motions (# 102, 103,
125) appear to request that Mr. Johnson be provided
with copies of previously-served orders issued in this case.
The Court addresses each category, and the remaining
uncategorized motions, in turn.
Motions to Amend
Civ. P. 15(a) (2) provides that leave to amend a pleading
should be “freely give[n] when justice so
requires.” Rule 15(d) permits the Court, “on just
terms, ” to allow a party to file a supplemental
pleading that “set[s] out any transaction, occurrence
or event that happened after the date of the pleading to be
supplemented.” Although leave under Rule 15 should be
freely granted, the Court may deny such requests where the
proposed amendment or supplementation is the result of undue
delay, bad faith, a dilatory motive, where it would cause
prejudice to the opposing party if granted, or where previous
efforts to amend failed to cure deficiencies. Warnick v.
Cooley, 895 F.3d 746, 755 (10th Cir. 2018).
Moreover, motions to amend are also governed by D.C. Colo. L.
Civ. R. 15.1(b), which requires that any motion seeking lead
to amend shall attach a copy of the proposed amended
pleading. Although Ms. Ryan proceeds pro se, she is
obligated to follow the rules of the Court to the same extent
as any represented litigant. U.S. v. Griffith, 928
F.3d 855, 864 n. 1 (10th Cir. 2019).
Johnson's motions seeking to amend or supplement his
pleadings are set forth and disposed of as follows:
# 73: A motion requesting leave to file both an
amended and supplemental complaint, purportedly to add
additional claims arising under the 8th Amendment,
as well as “adding more Defendants.” No. proposed
document is ...