Burnett v. Jones, No. 11-6093 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Pro se prisoner Plaintiff Stephen Burnett appealed a district court’s order dismissing his civil-rights complaint and denying his motion to add a defendant. Plaitiff's case arose from a six-week lockdown at the Cimmaron facility in which Plaitiff was incarcerated. "The linchpin of [Plaintiff's] suit was not whether prison officials had the authority to impose a lockdown, but instead whether the restrictions imposed during the lockdown so altered the conditions of his confinement as to violate his constitutional rights." The magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation which concluded that Plaintiff's claims against Warden Joseph Taylor were moot and should have been dismissed without prejudice. As to the director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Justin Jones, the magistrate found that even if the claims against him were not moot, those claims should have been dismissed with prejudice because the complaint failed to state any claims upon which relief could be granted and would have been futile to amend. The magistrate also denied Plaintiff's motion to add Warden Robert Ezell as a defendant. The district court adopted the report and recommendation, effectively ending Plaintiff's case. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit partly affirmed, partly reversed the district court (and magistrate judge's) decision. Because the Court's conclusion that the claims against Mr. Jones were moot but for different reasons than the district court, it reversed the decision for dismissal without prejudice. The Court affirmed the district court in all other respects.