United States District Court, D. Maryland
BILLY G. ASEMANI, #339-096 Plaintiff
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
is self-represented Plaintiff Billy G. Asemani's
"emergency petition" for injunctive relief. (ECF
1). Kathleen Green, former Warden at Eastern Correctional
Institution ("ECI") has filed a Motion to Dismiss, or
in the Alternative, a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No.
19). Also pending are Asemani's filing titled
"Motion for Substitution of Parties Pursuant to FRCP No.
25, Notice of Withdrawal of Denial of Access to the Library
Claim and Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to
Defendant's Answer" (ECF No. 23) and a Motion to
Substitute Party. (ECF No. 24).
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment, which will be treated as a Motion for Summary
Judgment, is ready for disposition and a hearing is
unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
Asemani's Motion to Withdraw Denial of Access to the
Library Claim (contained in ECF No. 23), will be treated as a
Motion for Voluntary Dismissal under Fed.R.Civ. P. 41(a), and
GRANTED. Asemani's Motion to Substitute Party (contained
in ECF No. 23, 24) IS DENIED. Asemani's Motion for an
Extension of Time to file a Response after Substitution of
Party (contained in ECF No. 23) IS DENIED as moot.
Defendant's dispositive Motion (ECF No. 19), treated as a
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 19), IS GRANTED.
Judgment will be entered in favor of Defendant.
is incarcerated at ECI in Westover, Maryland. Asemani alleges
that he is permitted insufficient library time to work on his
legal cases, has insufficient postage to send out his legal
mail, and it takes too long to receive non-legal mail at ECI.
(ECF No. 1). He claims that because his prisoner account
balance has not been less than $4.00 for the past thirty
days, he did not yet qualify as an indigent inmate, and there
was no provision at ECI to provide him with postage for his
outgoing legal mail. (ECF No. 1 at p. 1.).
asserts that he requires one to two hours of library time per
week to work on his post-conviction petition and to meet
certain filing deadlines. He does not, however, specify the
deadline dates, what he needs to file, or why library access
is necessary. Id. at p. 3. Notably, he does not
claim he actually missed any filing deadlines. Asemani claims
that in the first.45 days after his transfer to ECI, he was
allowed only one library visit and it was for one hour.
Id. Additionally, he complains that ECI mailroom
staff delivers non-legal mail only once every two or three
weeks, which delays his receipt of correspondence from
parties who assist him with his legal activities. Asemani
admits those assisting him are not members of the legal
community, and as such, their incoming mail is not considered
legal mail. Id. at p. 2. Asemani does not explain
who these parties are or how they assist him with legal
matters. As relief, Asemani asks for "reasonable,
workable, practical, and unhindered access to the
courts." ECF No. 1 at p. 3.
April 4, 2016, Asemani filed Administrative Remedy Procedure
("ARP") request ECI-0650-16, complaining that
because his prisoner account balance had not fallen below
$4.00 in the past thirty days, he was ineligible for indigent
inmate status which would excuse his inability to pay for
legal mailings. He stated that it would be at least three
weeks before he was eligible for indigent inmate status and
there was no provision at ECI to provide him with postage for
his outgoing legal mail in the meantime. (ECF No. 1-1). In
the ARP, Asemani indicated that four pieces of legal mail had
been returned to him for insufficient funds. (ECF 1-1). He
also indicated that he had 15 active legal cases in various
federal and state courts. Id. Of these, trial dates
were approaching in two cases. Id. Asemani stated
that when he was housed at Western Correctional Institution
("WCI"), he had "reached an understanding with
the Business Office" that when charges for postage were
posted to his account and there were insufficient funds, the
amount of the postage was debited to the "owed or due
balance" account and he would pay the charge at another
time. Id. Asemani proposed initiating such an
arrangement to resolve his ARP. Id.
transferred to ECI on March 4, 2016, from WCI. (ECF No. 19-2
¶ 1, Decl. of Susan Shumaker, ECI Litigator
Coordinator). He filed this Complaint on April 20, 2016. As
an inmate on Protective Custody ("PC"), he receives
up to one and one-half hours of library time each week.
Id. ¶3. Since July 22, 2016, Asemani has held a
prison job in the library which gives him additional time to
access library resources. As a result, he receives more
library time than the typical inmate at ECI. Id.
April 4, 2016, Asemani filed ARP #ECI-ARP-0650-16 concerning
his difficulty obtaining postage stamps and purported mail
delays. He was asked to resubmit his ARP with more
information, which he did on April 8, 2016. Id.
¶4. The ARP was dismissed because Asemani had the
opportunity to purchase stamps but declined, and he did not
qualify as indigent to excuse him from paying postage.
Id. Further, there was no evidence to support his
claim that the mailroom was not sending out his mail.
Id. Between March 4, 2016, when Asemani transferred
to ECI, and April 20, 2016, when he filed this Complaint,
Asemani did not file any other ARPs concerning his mail,
access to the courts, or library time. Id.
has filed two relevant grievances with the Inmate Grievance
Office ("IGO"). Both were filed after he
filed the instant Complaint and dismissed on July 29, 2016.
Asemani filed the first grievance, on May 24, 2016, as an
appeal of ARP-0723-16, complaining his outgoing mail at ECI
had been returned for insufficient postage. ECF No. 19-3 at
¶ 3(b) (Decl. of Robin Woolford, IGO Deputy Director).
The IGO dismissed the first grievance on July 29, 2016, for
failure to state a claim. Id. Asemani's second
grievance was filed on June 3, 2016, and challenged the
disposition of ARP-0650-16. Id. at ¶ 3(a). In
it, he also complained that his legal mail had been returned
due to insufficient funds and repeated his concerns about
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
obtain a preliminary injunction, a movant must demonstrate:
1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; 2) that he is
likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief; 3) that the balance of equities tips in
his favor; and 4) that an injunction is in the public
interest. See Winter v. Natural Resources Defense
Council, Inc.,555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). All four elements
must be satisfied. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v.
Federal Election Commission,575 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir.