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Brothers v. Corbett

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 15, 2014

WILLIAM B. BROTHERS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
TOM CORBETT, Governor of the State of Pennsylvania;BRENDA GOODALL, S.C.I. Mercer Record Officer; KIM PETERSON, S.C.I. Mercer Record Officer; SNYDER, (retired Parole Office Supervisor; LISA GRAVES, S.C.I. Mercer Unit Manager; GIDDINGS, Unit Manager; THOMPSON, was Superintendent at S.C.I. Mercer; CHERYL LABENNE, Hearing Examiner and or Board Member of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; MATTHEW MANGINO, Hearing Examiners and or Board Member of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; HOGUE, Hearing Examiner and or Board Member on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; MICHAEL C. POTTEIGER, Chairman, Board Member of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; RANDY P. FEATHERS, Board Member on the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; C. JAMES FOX, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; MICHAEL L. GREEN, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; JEFFREY R. IMBODEN, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; CRAIG R. McKAY, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation And Parole; JOHN TUTTLE, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation And Parole; JUDITH E. VIGLIONE, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; LLOYD A. WHITE, Board Member, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; ALAN M. ROBINSON, Attorney employed to represent the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; and JOHN WETZEL, Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION Re: ECF No. 16

MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

It is respectfully recommended that the Ex Parte Motion For Habeas Corpus Relief and/or to Vacate Sentences and for a TRO and a Preliminary Injunction, ("the Motion" be denied.

II. REPORT

William B. Brothers, Jr., ("Plaintiff") is currently incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution at Albion ("SCI-Albion"). Plaintiff has filed a civil rights complaint (the "Complaint") and an Amended Complaint (the "Amended Complaint"). The gist of both the Complaint and the Amended Complaint is that the Defendants are engaged in a conspiracy to deny Plaintiff and other African American prisoners parole on an equal basis with white prisoners and that Plaintiff's sentence is being illegally extended by the Defendants. In the instant Motion, Plaintiff seeks as relief for this "Honorable Court... grant the Habeas Corpus Relief and/or Vacate the sentences and release the Plaintiff...." ECF No. 16 at 4. For the reasons that follow, it is recommended that the Motion be denied.

A. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At the time of the initiation of this civil rights action, Plaintiff was a prisoner at the SCI-Albion. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (the "IFP Motion"), was granted. ECF No. 2. Thereafter, Plaintiff's Complaint was filed. ECF No. 3. The undersigned issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that all but one of the claims in the Complaint be dismissed with prejudice and that the sole remaining claim be dismissed without prejudice. ECF No. 6. Plaintiff filed Objections, ECF No. 9, and a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. ECF No. 8. Eventually, Plaintiff was granted leave to file the Amended Complaint, ECF No. 14. As a result, the Report and Recommendation as well as Plaintiff's Objections were terminated as moot. ECF No. 14. The Amended Complaint was formally docketed on March 12, 2014. ECF No. 15. Plaintiff then filed the present Motion and attached exhibits. ECF No. 16. Simultaneously, Plaintiff also filed a Declaration in Support of Plaintiff's Motion For a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, ECF No. 17, which also had exhibits attached thereto.

B. APPLICABLE LEGAL PRINCIPLES

Inmate pro se pleadings which seek extraordinary, or emergency relief, in the form of preliminary injunctions and/or temporary restraining orders are governed by Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure[1]and are judged against exacting legal standards.[2] As the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has explained:

Four factors govern a district court's decision whether to issue a preliminary injunction: (1) whether the movant has shown a reasonable probability of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant will be irreparably injured by denial of the relief, (3) whether granting preliminary relief will result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party; and (4) whether granting the preliminary relief will be in the public interest.

Gerardi v. Pelullo , 16 F.3d 1363 (3d Cir.1994) (quoting SI Handling Systems, Inc. v. Heisley , 753 F.2d 1244, 1254 (3d Cir.1985)).

A temporary restraining order is not granted as a matter of right. Kerschner v. Mazurkewicz , 670 F.2d 440, 443 (3d Cir. 1982). It is an extraordinary remedy. Given the extraordinary nature of this form of relief, a motion for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction places precise burdens on the moving party. As a threshold matter, "it is a movant's burden to show that the preliminary injunction must be the only way of protecting the plaintiff from harm.'" Emile v. SCI-Pittsburgh, No. 94-974 , 2006 WL 2773261 at *6 (W.D.Pa. Sept. 24, 2006) (quoting Campbell Soup Co. v. ConAgra, Inc. , 977 F.2d 86, 91 (3d Cir. 1992)). Thus, when considering such requests, courts are cautioned that:

[A] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972, 117 S.Ct. 1865, 138 L.Ed.2d 162 (1997) (emphasis deleted). Furthermore, the Court must recognize that an [i]njunction is an equitable remedy which should not be lightly indulged in, but used sparingly and only in a clear and plain case.' Plain Dealer Publishing Co. v. Cleveland Typographical Union # 53, 520 F.2d 1220, 1230 (6th Cir. 1975), cert. denied, 428 U.S. 909 , 96 S.Ct. 3221, 49 L.Ed.2d 1217 (1977). As a corollary to the principle that preliminary injunctions should issue only in a clear and plain case, the Court of ...

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