United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
STEPHEN L. CROCKER Magistrate Judge.
se plaintiff Dion Mathews is proceeding in this lawsuit
on First Amendment and Due Process claims related to the
conduct report and punishment he received after drafting
letters that the defendants construed as an impermissible
attempt to create a group petition. On July 17, 2017, I
denied Mathews' motions for a preliminary injunction, for
sanctions, and for assistance in recruiting counsel. (Dkt.
77.) Mathews has filed a motion for reconsideration of that
order (dkt. 78), that I am denying, and has filed a motion to
modify the scheduling order (dkt. 82), that I am granting.
support of his motion for reconsideration, Mathews mostly
just repeats the arguments that I already have considered and
rejected. Starting with the court's denial of his request
for preliminary injunction, Mathews repeats his contention
that his First Amendment claim is likely to succeed because
his letter constituted protected speech. First, he reargues
that his letters were not impermissible group petitions, a
position that I already have rejected and will not address
again at the preliminary injunction stage of this lawsuit.
Mathews challenges the court's conclusion that the
conduct report he received for writing the letters appeared
to be reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest
under Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), because
I relied on only the first two prongs of the four-factor
Turner analysis. Mathews, however, has not pointed
to any law or facts suggesting that my conclusion is wrong,
or that it was improper or incorrect to base this conclusion
on two prongs out of four. Instead, Mathews challenges my
reliance on the affidavit of defendant Lebbeus Brown to find
a “valid, rational connection” between the
conduct report and a legitimate security interest. Mathews
may disagree with my reliance on this evidence, but he does
not point to any case law or any other evidence that calls
into question my reliance on Brown's currently undisputed
opinion that Mathews wrote the letters on behalf of a gang.
Mathews is entitled to disagree with Brown's beliefs
about his gang affiliation, but other than his own denial,
Mathews has not proffered any evidence to contradict
Brown's experiences with Mathews and his opinions about
what the letters actually meant. As I observed in the
court's order, Mathews might be able to elicit
contradictory or impeaching evidence during discovery, but he
hasn't accomplished this yet.
Mathews challenges my conclusion regarding his First
Amendment claim based on another inmate receiving less
punishment for similar conduct. As a starting point, Mathews
is not proceeding on an equal protection claim; further, he
did not develop this argument in his initial motion, and his
evidence related to the other inmate does not contradict my
conclusion that Mathews's conduct report and
corresponding punishment appear to be legitimate. Mathews may
present this point again at the summary judgment phase, but
it does not suffice to undermine my decision denying his
request for a preliminary injunction.
his due process claim, Mathews argues that it is likely to
succeed because the punishment he received interfered with
his First Amendment right to send his letter. But
Mathews's request for injunctive relief sought release
from administrative confinement, not redress involving his
ability to send his letters. Because this argument was beyond
the scope of his request, I did not evaluate it. Once again,
Mathews is free to argue this issues at the dispositive
motion stage, but he has not pointed to any manifest error of
law or fact that warrants reconsideration of my denial of his
request for a preliminary injunction.
same is true of my denials of Mathews's requests for
sanctions and for assistance of counsel. Mathews simply has
resubmitted his arguments from his earlier documents and
states that this court “lacks the will” to impose
sanctions. Mathews is incorrect, but having me say this
won't change his view of the situation. Here's the
bottom line in this case: there have been no sanctionable
acts or omissions in this case so far. Finally, I remain
confident that Mathews can litigate this stage of the lawsuit
without the assistance of an attorney. Accordingly, I am
denying every aspect of his request for reconsideration.
leaves Mathews' motion to modify the scheduling order,
which I am granting. Mathews asks to extend the expert
disclosure deadline to October 31, 2017 because he is in
communication with a potential expert who might be willing to
testify at trial. Mathews further requests an extension of
the dispositive motion deadline to September 25, 2017. I will
grant both requests because the schedule in this case has
enough breathing room to accommodate these extensions.
Plaintiff Dion Mathews's motion for reconsideration (dkt.
78) is DENIED; and
Mathews's motion to modify scheduling order (dkt. 82) is
GRANTED. The dispositive motion filing deadline is extended
to September 25, 2017 for all parties, and