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Conley v. McKune

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

July 17, 2013

ARTHUR DEAN CONLEY, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
DAVID MCKUNE, Warden, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; KYLE DEERE, Associate Warden, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; REX PRYOR, Associate Warden, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; ELLEN BARTZ, Health Services Administrator, Correct Care Solutions, Lansing Correctional Facility in her official and individual capacity; JOE PANTANO, M-Unit Counselor, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; KENT MURRY, Dentist, Correct Care Solutions, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; BRETT PETERSON, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; RAY ROBERTS, Secretary of Corrections, in his official and individual capacity; SAM BROWNBACK, Governor, State of Kansas, in his individual capacity; JERRY BOYLE, CEO and President, Correct Care Solutions, in his individual and official capacity; CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC; FNU BRYAN, Corrections Officer, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; ANDREW PARKS, Unit Team Manager, Lansing Correctional Facility, in his official and individual capacity; DAVID LAWHORN, Regional Medical Director, Correct Care Solutions, Defendants-Appellees.

D.C. No. 5:11-CV-03200-SAC (D. Kan.)

Before KELLY, HOLMES, and MATHESON, Circuit Judges.

ORDERAND JUDGMENT[*]

Scott M. Matheson, Jr. Circuit Judge

Appellant Arthur Dean Conley, a prisoner incarcerated with the Kansas Department of Corrections ("DOC"), filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against numerous defendants alleging constitutional violations stemming from the handling of his dental care.[1] He appeals from a district court order dismissing his complaint and two motions for a preliminary injunction. Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Mr. Conley filed a § 1983 complaint and request for preliminary injunction in November 2011. After reviewing the 56-page complaint and 251 pages of attached exhibits, the district court identified multiple failings in the complaint and granted Mr. Conley leave to amend.

Mr. Conley filed his amended complaint in September 2012, along with a renewed motion for a preliminary injunction. He filed a second preliminary injunction motion in January 2013. The complaint alleged the defendants violated Mr. Conley's Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment, his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, [2] and his First Amendment right to freedom of expression. The district court determined Mr. Conley's amended complaint stated no plausible claim upon which relief could be granted and dismissed it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). It also denied Mr. Conley's motions for preliminary injunction. Mr. Conley now appeals.

II. DISCUSSION

We first address the denial of Mr. Conley's two preliminary injunction motions and then turn to whether his § 1983 complaint stated a claim for constitutional violations.

A. Denial of Motions for Preliminary Injunction

The district court denied Mr. Conley's two motions for a preliminary injunction. We review the court's decision for an abuse of discretion. Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2005). Mr. Conley "must show that the district court committed an error of law (for example, by applying the wrong legal standard) or committed clear error in its factual findings." Id. (quotations omitted). We will not reverse the district court's decision unless it was "an arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, or manifestly unreasonable judgment." Id. (quotations omitted).

In one motion, Mr. Conley sought not only dental restoration, but also items he believes are necessary to self-treat his dental condition: medical marijuana, an iPod, a single cell in a medium security facility, and pornography. At this stage, Mr. Conley has not shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, and the district court's denial of the requested injunctive relief was therefore not an abuse of discretion.

In the second motion, Mr. Conley sought relief to enable him to file documents electronically with the court while he was confined in segregation at the Lansing Correctional Facility ("LCF"). Mr. Conley complained about the filing system at LCF and the personnel in charge of helping him file documents. The district court determined that Mr. Conley failed to satisfy the preliminary injunction standard and also held that his motion was moot because he had been transferred out of LCF. We cannot say the denial of this motion was an abuse of discretion.

B. Constitutional Claims

The district court dismissed Mr. Conley's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failing to state a plausible constitutional claim upon which relief could be granted. We review this dismissal as we would a dismissal under ...


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