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Meekins v. Beard

February 20, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Kosik


I. Background

This civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by William Meekins, an inmate confined in the Special Management Unit ("SMU") at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI-Camp Hill"), proceeds on an amended complaint submitted on March 23, 2006 (Doc. 7). Named as Defendants are Department of Corrections ("DOC") officials Jeffery A. Beard and John Shaffer, as well as DOC employees at SCI-Camp Hill and SCI-Waymart. Plaintiff alleges he was arbitrarily transferred from SCI-Waymart to the SMU at SCI-Camp Hill on November 16, 2005, without due process and in retaliation for separate litigation he previously filed in this court. He further contends that he is being denied adequate medical care with regard to a "severe condition" he got while at SCI-Waymart, as well as adequate dental care for seven (7) carious lesions.

On March 1, 2007, the court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint. The motion was granted with respect to all claims set forth against Defendants in their official capacities for monetary damages. The motion was denied in all other respects. (Doc. 45.) Presently pending in the case are cross motions for summary judgment (Docs. 59, 96), which will be addressed in a separate Memorandum and Order. Also pending are the following motions filed by Plaintiff which will be addressed herein: Plaintiff's motions for injunctive relief (Docs. 69, 93), motion for sanctions (Doc. 70) and motion for judgment hearing (Doc. 84).*fn1

II. Discussion

A. Motion for Sanctions

Plaintiff requests "Rule 11 sanctions" against Defendants and their counsel based upon the alleged perjury Defendants committed in responding to Plaintiff's discovery requests. Plaintiff claims that in responding to his First Request for Admissions, and then later to his Second Request for Production of Documents, Defendants gave two conflicting responses. He claims that they first maintain that a "Policy No. 2.1.2 does exist" and then later respond that such a policy does not exist. In reviewing the discovery inquiries made by Plaintiff, and the responses provided thereto by Defendants, it is clear that Plaintiff had misread the responses given by Defendants. In the Request for Admissions, Plaintiff inquires as to whether the SMU has a manual/policy titled "2.1.2 Research Activities" which is currently applied to SMU prisoners. Defendants respond that a Department policy 2.1.2 entitled "Research Activities" does exist, but that it has no application to SMU inmates. (Emphasis added.) In the Request for Production of Documents, Plaintiff requests the "D.O.C. 2.1.2 Research Activities Manual. Defendants respond that no Procedures Manual associated with Department policy No. 2.1.2 entitled "Research Activity Policy" exists. (Emphasis added.)

In analyzing this information, it is clear that there is no inconsistency between the two answers. In responding to the first request, while Defendants admit there exists a Department policy 2.1.2, they never state that there is a Procedures Manual associated with that policy. Accordingly, the motion for sanctions (Doc. 70) will be denied.

B. Motions for Injunctive Relief

Also pending are two motions filed by Plaintiff seeking preliminary injunctive relief. In both motions, Plaintiff requests his transfer from SCI-Camp Hill. In the first motion which was filed on June 7, 2007 (Doc. 69), Plaintiff claims that he was recently approved for transfer to the regular institutional population to initiate the "probationary" period of the last SMU phase, but contends that Defendants Southers and Kelchner keep "retaliating" to move him back to Stage 5 to keep him in the SMU program. He mentions the issuance of false rules violations/misconducts against him and threats of assault.

In the second motion for preliminary injunctive relief filed on August 7, 2007 (Doc. 93), Plaintiff again seeks his transfer from SCI-Camp Hill and the SMU there, and also requests that Defendants be arrested and that he be provided with copies of the pleadings in his actions pending in this court. In the motion, Plaintiff complains about the SMU conditions, including the failure to receive medical and dental care, as well as his thwarted efforts in attempting to advance through the SMU program and Defendants' adverse actions of taking his personal property and issuing misconducts.

Preliminary injunctive relief is extraordinary in nature and should issue in only limited circumstances. See American Tel. and Tel. Co. v. Winback and Conserve Program, Inc., 42 F.3d 1421, 1426-27 (3d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1103 (1995). Moreover, issuance of such relief is at the discretion of the trial judge. Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film, Corp., 836 F. Supp. 309, 311 (E.D. Pa. 1993). In determining whether to grant a motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief, courts in the Third Circuit consider the following four factors:

(1) likelihood of success on the merits;

(2) irreparable harm resulting from a ...

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