United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND INITIAL REVIEW ORDER
Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge
matter is before me on plaintiffs' pro se motion (Doc.
No. 4) for emergency injunction ordering the release of funds
from the Native American community institutional account (the
Account) at Fort Dodge Correctional Facility (FDCF).
Defendants have filed a resistance (Doc. No. 13) and
plaintiffs have replied (Doc. No. 17). Also pending is
individual plaintiff Raymond Cooper's pro se motion (Doc.
No. 3) for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
plaintiffs' pro se motion (Doc. No. 14) to amend
complaint. Oral argument is not necessary. N.D. la.
commenced this case on April 3, 2018 by filing a pro se
complaint (Doc. No. 1) alleging various violations of their
religious rights while incarcerated at FDCF. The plaintiffs
did not pay the filing fee or request in forma pauperis.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) (requiring filing fee).
Instead, they stated that the filing fee would be provided by
a separate mailing. See Doc. No. 1-1.
April 9, 2018, plaintiffs filed a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis by plaintiff Raymond Cooper. Doc. No. 3. Plaintiffs
then filed a pro se motion for a preliminary injunction,
The Native American community here at FDCF has an
institutional account. This account accrues monies donated by
the Native offenders for their use. On April 2, the Treasurer
of the account, Plaintiff Bertucci, authorized expenditure of
$350.00 filing fee, along with an attached letter to you, the
Clerk of Court, stating that the filing fee was enclosed.
This expenditure, including the letter addressed to your
office, was seized by Treatment Director Netti Renshaw . . .
She informed both Plaintiff Bertucci and myself, the lead
plaintiff in this matter, that we, the Native American
community at FDCF, could not pay the filing fee from our
fund, despite this fund being financed by us.
We believe, therefore, that defendant Renshaw is
intentionally interfering with our protected conduct of Court
Access under the First Amendment . . . Plaintiffs are seeking
a TRO for release of their funds to your office.
Doc. No. 4. I ordered defendants to respond to the motion for
TRO. Doc. No. 6.
groups such as the Native American Community (NAC) at FDCF
are permitted to maintain institutional accounts (the
Account) to be used by group members to purchase items for
the collective benefit of the group. Doc. No. 13-2 at 2.
These accounts are typically used to purchase items such as
books or supplies for worship, or to make donations.
Id. Netti Renshaw, the treatment director at FDCF
and a named defendant in this case, stated that she "was
given a request by the Native American group to use their
funds to pay for the filing fee to be assessed in the present
action," and that she "rejected the request . . .
[because] such purpose would not collectively benefit the
members of the group to further their religious
pursuit." Id. She also stated that the request
was denied because "[t]he individual choice to pursue
litigation is certainly allowed, but the funds of a religious
group is not [sic] the purpose of such account."
Id. Finally, Renshaw stated that she was concerned
that not all plaintiffs in the lawsuit had contributed
equally to the account and that some contributors to the
account were not named plaintiffs. Id.
respond that pursuing litigation to right a violation of
their religious rights is a proper use of the Account, and
that the NAC unanimously authorized the use of funds for this
purpose. Doc. No. 17 at 9, 10. Plaintiffs explain that not
every member of the NAC is a member of the lawsuit because
some members feared retaliation as a result of being named
plaintiffs. Id. Plaintiffs also submitted a copy of
the FDCF policy which sets out the rules under which
prisoners may make donations for the support of their
religion. The policy states:
Individual offender donations for the support of one's
religion may be permitted consistent with IDOC policies
AD-FM-11, Offender Funds and
AD-GA-17, Acceptance of Gifts by
Executive Branch Departments. Any donation shall be
processed through the Associate Warden of Treatment/Designee,
and Business Office.
Id. at 12 (Religious Programming,
Rule of Civil Procedure 65 states, in relevant part: (a)
(1) Notice. The court may issue a preliminary
injunction only on notice to the adverse party.
(2) Consolidating the Hearing with the Trial on the
Merits. Before or after beginning the hearing on a
motion for a preliminary injunction, the court may advance
the trial on the merits and consolidate it with the hearing.
Even when consolidation is not ordered, evidence that is
received on the motion and that would be admissible at trial
becomes part of the trial record and need not be repeated at
trial. But the court must preserve any party's right to a
(b) Temporary Restraining Order.
(1) Issuing Without Notice. The court may issue a
temporary restraining order without written or oral notice to
the adverse party or its attorney only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint
clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or
damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can
be heard in opposition; and
(B) the movant's attorney certifies in writing any
efforts made to give notice and the reasons why it should not
(2) Contents; Expiration. Every temporary
restraining order issued without notice must state the date
and hour it was issued; describe the injury and state why it
is irreparable; state why the order was issued without
notice; and be promptly filed in the clerk's office and
entered in the record. The order expires at the time after
entry - not to exceed 14 days - that the court sets, unless
before that time the court, for good cause, extends it for a