United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
CHRISTOPHER L. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
TIMOTHY DOUBBLESTEIN, ET AL., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. Wilhoit, Jr., United States District Judge.
L. Young is an inmate at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional
Complex (EKCC) in West Liberty, Kentucky. Proceeding without
a lawyer, Young filed a civil rights complaint with this
Court in which he named three defendants- Warden James Green,
Deputy Warden James Whitt, and Chaplain Timothy Doubblestein,
all employees of the EKCC-and claimed those defendants
violated his right to participate in Wiccan services and
obtain Wiccan religious material.
case progressed, and the parties eventually filed numerous
cross motions for summary judgment. However, while briefing
those motions, Young recently filed submissions suggesting
that he no longer wants to litigate his initial claims
related to his ability to practice Wicca and, instead, wants
to pursue new claims related to Asatru/Odinist services and
accommodations. In light of Young's recent submissions,
the Court will dismiss his complaint without prejudice and
allow Young to litigate any new claims in a separate civil
started this civil action by filing a lengthy, handwritten
submission titled "Petition for Declaration of
Rights" [D. E. No. 1], as well as a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [D. E. No. 2]. While the
Court granted Young's fee motion, it pointed out that his
first submission was not on a form approved for use by this
Court, as required by Local Rule 5.2(a). [D. E. No. 9].
Therefore, the Court entered a deficiency order and directed
Young to complete and file a Court-approved complaint form
within 30 days. [Id.]. The Court explained that
Young had to complete the entire complaint form, fully
describing the facts of his case, because that completed form
would replace his first submission for all purposes.
[Id. at 3].
completed and filed the complaint form and, thus, he properly
initiated his civil action. [D. E. No. 10]. Young named three
defendants in his complaint: Warden Green, Deputy Warden
Whitt, and Chaplain Doubblestein, all EKCC employees.
[Id. at 1-2]. Young then alleged that those
defendants violated his right to participate in Wiccan
services and obtain Wiccan religious material. [Id.
at 2-4]. Indeed, Young set forth eleven factual allegations,
all of which related to his ability to practice Wicca,
particularly as part of a group, and file grievances
regarding the matter on behalf of himself and others.
[Id. at 2-6]. Young indicated that, among other
things, he was seeking injunctive relief and money damages
for "discrimination and emotional distress."
[Id. at 9].
Court conducted an initial screening of Young's complaint
and determined that the defendants had to answer or otherwise
respond to Young's claims. Therefore, the Court directed
the Clerk's Office and the United States Marshals Service
to serve each of the defendants with a summons and copy of
the complaint on Young's behalf. [D. E. No. 12].
the defendants responded to the complaint, Young filed a
"motion to produce further arguments and evidence,"
along with various attachments. [D. E. No. 15]. Young's
submission was difficult to follow, but it appeared that he
was attempting to amend his complaint. The Court, however,
explained that a party moving to amend a complaint must
generally attach a copy of the proposed amended complaint to
his motion, and that proposed amended complaint should be
cumulative, including all allegations, claims, and defendants
in a single document. [D. E. No. 16]. Since Young did not
comply with those requirements, the Court denied his motion
without prejudice to his right to file a proper motion to
amend. [Id.]. Thus, Young's completed,
Court-approved complaint form remained the sole operative
pleading in this case, and the Court noted that the next step
in the litigation was for the defendants to answer or
otherwise respond to Young's claims. [Id.].
Doubblestein then filed an answer to Young's complaint
[D. E. No. 21], but the other two defendants, Warden Green
and Deputy Warden Whitt, each filed a motion for summary
judgment [D. E. Nos. 17, 20]. Therefore, the Court directed
Young to file a response to those dispositive motions. [D. E.
of simply filing a response to the defendants' motions,
Young filed three of his own motions for summary judgment [D.
E. Nos. 23, 24, 25], as well as a separate "motion for
final judgment" [D. E. No. 26]. The three defendants
then filed a response to Young's motions [D. E. No. 27],
and Chaplain Doubblestein went ahead and filed his own motion
for summary judgment [D. E. No. 28].
point, the case was becoming procedurally complex because
there were seven cross motions for summary judgment pending
before the Court. While the Court was interested in resolving
those motions, it also wanted to make sure that the parties
had a sufficient opportunity to fully present their arguments
to the Court. Therefore, the Court ordered each party to file
one final submission, and it specifically directed Young to
address an important issue. [D. E. No. 29].
Court pointed out that, according to Chaplain Doubblestein,
Wiccan services were now being offered at the EKCC, and, in
any event, Young was no longer claiming Wicca as his
religious preference. [D. E. No. 28-1 at 3]. In light of
Chaplain Doubblestein's representations, the Court
directed Young to state whether he wished to continue to
pursue his case at all and, if so, indicate which of his
claims remained viable. The Court explained that if Young
failed to file such a submission, it may consider his claims
abandoned and dismiss his case. [D. E. No. 29 at 2-3].
response to the Court's Order, Young filed several new
submissions. [D. E. Nos. 30, 31, 33]. These submissions are
neither a model of clarity nor do they appropriately respond
to the Court's Order. However, as best as the Court can
tell, Young is essentially abandoning his initial claims
related to his ability to practice Wicca and, instead,
suggests he wants to pursue new claims related to his new
first new submission, titled "Petition for Civil
Agreement," appears to make this very point. [D. E. No.
30]. To be sure, Young begins that filing by generically
defending his complaint and asking the Court to declare that
the defendants' past conduct violated his rights.
[Id. at ¶¶ 1-2]. However, Young does not
mention Wiccan services or Wiccan religious material and,
instead, he goes on to request various forms of relief
related to his ability to practice Asatru/Odinist. In fact,
Young asks the Court for new forms of injunctive relief,
including an order directing the defendants to allow Young
and others to participate in unsupervised Asatru/Odinist
services, worship in an outside area with two fire pits, and
possess specific Asatru/Odinist religious items.
[Id. at¶¶3-4]. Young also requests money
damages in an amount that is hundreds of thousands of dollars
higher than what he originally asked for in his complaint.
[Id. at ¶ 5].
then followed up by filing a "motion for
dismissal." [D. E. No. 33]. Young begins that submission
by saying that he "has already stated . . . that he is
willing to come to terms with resolving this issue as soon as
possible." [Id. at 1]. Young then claims,
"The only issue that is at issue is: the universalist
Asatru/Odinist service, congregational religious items,
religious diet, personal religious items, and the fire
pit." [Id.]. Young then proceeds to list
several Asatru/Odinist religious items, and he eventually