BRENDA EVERETT, Plaintiff.
HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF SHAMOKIN, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
THOMAS M. BLEWITT, Magistrate Judge.
On June 6, 2013, Plaintiff, Brenda Everett, a resident of Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, filed, through counsel, the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in order to enforce her rights under the United States Housing Act of 1937 ("USHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§1437, et seq. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff raises a due process claim under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also raises a claim under the Housing Act. Plaintiff attached Exhibits to her Complaint. Defendants are the Housing Authority of the City of Shamokin ("SHA") and Ronald A. Miller, Executive Director of the SHA, in his official capacity. Further, Plaintiff filed an In Forma Pauperis Motion. (Doc. 2). Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 3). On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed her brief in support of her injunction motion. (Doc. 6).
This Court has jurisdiction over this action based on 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and §1341(a).
On June 10, 2013, the Court issued an Order granting Plaintiff's In Forma Pauperis Motion and directing service of Plaintiff s Complaint on Defendants. (Doc. 4). The Summons was issued and Defendants were served with Plaintiff's Complaint.
After being granted an extension of time, Defendants filed their brief in opposition to Plaintiff's injunction motion on July 24, 2013, with attached Exhibits. (Doc. 13).
On July 29, 2013, Defendants filed their Answer and Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiffs Complaint. (Doc. 14).
On August 4, 2013, Plaintiff filed her reply brief in support of her injunction motion with attached Exhibits. (Doc. 16).
This case was then ordered to mediation. (Doc. 18).
On August 21, 2013, Defendants filed a Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings and a support brief. (Docs. 21 & 22). Defendants move to dismiss with prejudice Count I of Plaintiff's Complaint, i.e., her claim under the USHA, and to dismiss with prejudice all claims against Defendant Miller. On September 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed her opposition brief to Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. (Doc. 25).
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings are both ripe for disposition. (Docs. 3 & 21).
The parties consented to proceed before a U.S. Magistrate Judge for all matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c). (Docs. 23 & 24).
Subsequently, the Court scheduled oral argument, on the record, with respect to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings, and it was continued to and held on October 23, 2013. (Docs. 27-29).
The Court now considers both Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Defendants' Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings. (Docs. 3 & 21).
II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW.
A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983
In a § 1983 civil rights action, the Plaintiff must prove the following two essential elements: (1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law; and (2) that the conduct complained of deprived the Plaintiff of rights, privileges or immunities secured by the law or the Constitution of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981); Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 184 (3d Cir. 1993). Further, Section 1983 is not a source of substantive rights. Rather, it is a means to redress violations of federal law by state actors. Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 284-85 (2002); s ee also Holocheck v. Luzerne County Head Start, Inc., 385 F.Supp.2d 491, 498-499 (M. D. Pa. 2005); Slater v.Susquehanna County, 613 F.Supp.2d 653, 660 (M.D. Pa. 2009) (citations omitted); Stankowski v. Farley, 487 F.Supp.2d 543, 550 (M.D. Pa. 2007) ("only those who act under color of state law are liable to suit under section 1983."). "In order to satisfy the second prong [of a §1983 civil rights action], a Defendant does not have to be a state official, but can also be held liable as a state actor." Slater v. Susquehanna County, 613 F.Supp.2d at 660(citations omitted).
It is well-established that personal liability under section 1983 cannot be imposed upon a state official based on a theory of respondeat superior. See, e.g., Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362 (1976); Hampton v. Holmesburg Prison Officials, 1546 F.2d 1077, 1082 (3d Cir. 1976); Parratt, supra . It is also well-settled in the Third Circuit that personal involvement of defendants in alleged constitutional deprivations is a requirement in a § 1983 case and that a complaint must allege such personal involvement. Id. Each named defendant must be shown, through the complaint's allegations, to have been personally involved in the events or occurrences upon which Plaintiff's claims are based. Id. As the Court stated in Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1998):
A defendant in a civil rights action must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongs.... [P]ersonal involvement can be shown through allegations of personal direction or of actual knowledge and acquiescence. Allegations of participation or actual knowledge and acquiescence, however, must be made with appropriate particularity. (Citations omitted).
A civil rights complaint must state time, place, and responsible persons. Id. Courts have also held that an allegation seeking to impose liability on a defendant based on supervisory status, without more, will not subject the official to section 1983 liability. See Rode, 845 F.2d at 1208.
B. Motion for Preliminary Injunction
As the Third Circuit Court stated in Hartmann v. Maybee-Freud, 279 Fed.Appx. 142, 144 (3d Cir. 2008), the Plaintiff in a civil rights action who filed a motion for preliminary injunction "was required to show that he was likely to succeed on the merits of his claims, that the denial of relief would result in irreparable harm, and that granting the injunction would not result in irreparable harm to the Defendants and was in the public interest."(citation omitted). See also Ball v. SCI-Muncy, 2010 WL 4352929, *4 (M.D. Pa. 10-27-10).
In Ball, the Court stated:
A preliminary injunction is not granted as a matter of right. Kershner v. Mazurkewicz, 670 F.2d 440, 443 (3d Cir.1982) (affirming denial of prisoner motion for preliminary injunction seeking greater access to legal materials). It is an extraordinary remedy that places precise burdens on the moving party. As a threshold matter, it is a movant's burden to show that the preliminary injunction is the only way of protecting the plaintiff from harm. Campbell Soup Co. v. ConAgra, Inc., 977 F.2d 86, 91 (3d Cir.1992). For [a Plaintiff] to sustain his burden of proof under Fed.R.Civ.P. 65, he must demonstrate both a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, and that he will be irreparably harmed if the requested relief is not granted. Abu-Jamal v. Price, 154 F.3d 128, 133 (3d Cir.1998); Kershner, 670 F.2d at 443. If the movant fails to carry this burden on either of these elements, the motion should be denied. Hohe v. Casey, 868 F.3d 69, 72 (3d Cir.1989).
Irreparable injury is established by showing that Plaintiff will suffer harm that "cannot be redressed by a legal or an equitable remedy following trial." Instant Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797, 801 (3d Cir.1989) ("The preliminary injunction must be the only way of protecting the plaintiff from harm.") Further, immediate irreparable injury is more than merely serious or substantial harm. ECRI v. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 809 F.2d 223, 226 (3d Cir.1987). "The word irreparable connotes that which cannot be repaired, retrieved, put down again, atoned for...'." Acierno v. New Castle County, 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir.1994) (citations omitted). Additionally, "the claimed injury cannot merely be possible, speculative or remote." Dice v. Clinicorp, Inc., 887 F.Supp. 803, 809 (W.D.Pa.1995). An injunction is not issued "simply to eliminate the possibility of a remote future injury...." Acierno, 40 F.3d at 655 (citation omitted).
Other considerations in assessing a motion for preliminary injunctive relief is the possible harm to other interested parties if the relief is granted, see Kershner, 670 F.2d at 443, and whether the issuance of relief would be adverse to the public interest. Dominion Video ...