182 F.3d 922 (7th Cir. 1999), 97-1441, Newsome v. Gilmore

Docket Nº:97-1441.
Citation:182 F.3d 922
Party Name:Jack NEWSOME, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Jerry D. GILMORE, individually and as Warden of Pontiac Correctional Center, Richard B. Gramley, individually and as Warden Pontiac Correctional Center, Michael O'Leary, individually and as Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Corrections, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:May 11, 1999
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 922

182 F.3d 922 (7th Cir. 1999)

Jack NEWSOME, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Jerry D. GILMORE, individually and as Warden of Pontiac Correctional Center, Richard B. Gramley, individually and as Warden Pontiac Correctional Center, Michael O'Leary, individually and as Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Corrections, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 97-1441.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 11, 1999

Submitted April 29, 1999 [*]

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA7 Rule 53 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Rehearing En Banc Denied Dec. 20, 1999.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 95 c 1495. Michael M. Mihm, Judge.

Before Hon. WILLIAM J. BAUER, Hon. KENNETH F. RIPPLE, Hon. DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

ORDER

Jack Newsome, a state prisoner, filed a thirty-four page complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that fifty-seven defendants associated with the Pontiac Correctional Facility had violated his constitutional rights. The defendants moved to dismiss the action under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The district court, upon consideration of supplemental documents filed by Newsome, sua sponte converted the motion to one for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and granted it in favor of the defendants. Newsome appeals and we affirm.

On December 15, 1995, Newsome filed his complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against prison officials and health care workers at the Pontiac Correctional Facility for allegedly violating his rights under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The defendants collectively filed a motion to dismiss the action for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Newsome filed a response to the motion to dismiss, to which he attached several exhibits and documents not included in his original pleading. He also was granted leave to submit an "appendix of documents," which contained nearly eighty documents regarding his claims. The court converted the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56, stated that it had considered Newsome's supplemental documents and decided the motion in favor of the defendants. Newsome filed a timely notice of appeal.

On appeal, Newsome has distilled his claims to five principal arguments. First, he argues that the district court erred in converting the defendants' motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment, in refusing to reopen previously stayed discovery proceedings, and in denying his request for appointed counsel. Second, he asserts that the district court should have permitted him to add a claim that deliberate indifference to his medical needs caused him to suffer a heart attack in late 1995. Third, he argues that prison officials effectively denied him access to the courts when they gave another court document--a 40-page petition--to his cellmate, contrary to prison policy, and the cellmate never passed it on to him. Fourth, he contests the district court's rejection of his Eighth Amendment claims that prison guards used excessive force when they made him squat for a visual strip search and confiscated several pairs of his eyeglasses. Finally, he argues that the district court erred in failing to consider documents supporting his claim that he had given his permission for the covers to be removed from his hardcover law books in his cell, making the subsequent confiscation of his books unlawful.

Newsome's first argument is meritless. If materials extraneous to pleadings are under consideration, Rule 12(b)(6) compels the district court to treat the motion to dismiss as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. Fleischfresser v. Directors of School Dist. 200, 15 F.3d 680, 684 (7th Cir.1994); see also Venture Associates Corp. v. Zenith Data Systems Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir.1993). Under this converted motion, "all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b); see also General Electric Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1080 (7th Cir.1997).

Neither did the district court abuse its discretion by refusing to lift the stay on discovery before ruling on the summary judgment motions. We review the court's discovery decisions for abuse of discretion and will not disturb the court's exercise of its discretion unless the denial of the requested discovery resulted in "actual and substantial prejudice" to Newsome. See Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., Ltd., 126 F.3d 926, 943 (7th Cir.1997). Newsome has not shown that he was substantially prejudiced by the court's decision. The district court properly took into account the voluminous discovery requests he filed at the outset of the litigation, as well as the fact that his request to reopen discovery during the summary judgment phase of his suit did not detail the documents he sought, their relevance to the summary judgment motion, or the likelihood they would have raised a genuine issue of material fact. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(f); Snyder v. Bank One, Ky., N.A., 113 F.3d 774, 780-81 (7th Cir.1997).

Newsome also argues that the district court should have appointed him counsel to assist with his legal research, given his limited access to materials at the prison law...

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