United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.
It is respectfully recommended that Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction [ECF No. 37] be denied.
A. Relevant Procedural History
Plaintiff, acting pro se , originally filed his complaint in this civil action on July 16, 2013. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff filed two separate motions for preliminary injunctions, as well as a motion seeking the appointment of counsel. ECF Nos. 12, 13, 14. This Court held a telephonic hearing on those pending motions on September 9, 2013. At the hearing, Plaintiff represented that he had been adjudicated mentally ill in the criminal context and had been incarcerated at a psychiatric facility. ECF No. 27.
In light of the Third Circuit's pronouncement in Powell v. Symons , 680 F.3d 301 (3d Cir. 2012), and because this Court is on notice of Plaintiff's potential, counsel was appointed. See ECF No. 20. At the hearing, Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew his motions for injunctive relief without prejudice. ECF No. 27.
Thereafter, counsel was appointed and a First Amended Complaint was filed. Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from serious mental disorders, Hepatitis C, cardiovascular disease, and kidney injuries and that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to those serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Named as Defendants are: Maxine Overton, Dr. Robert Maxa, Melinda Adams, Nancy Giroux, Michael Clark, David Zetwo, John Skindell and Alexander-Gottesman Jill.
In the present motion for preliminary injunction, Plaintiff seeks preliminary injunctive relief inviting this Court to issue an order that directs Defendants to "immediately provide Mr. Pettaway with adequate medical and psychiatric screening, testing, monitoring and treatment of Mr. Pettaway[s] medical needs and mental disorders." See ECF No. 37-2.
B. Preliminary Injunction Standard
Preliminary or temporary injunctive relief is "a drastic and extraordinary remedy that is not to be routinely granted." Intel Corp. v. ULSI Sys. Tech., Inc. , 995 F.2d 1566, 1568 (Fed.Cir.1993); see also Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Company. Inc. , 903 F.2d 186, 189 (3d Cir. 1990). In determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction, a court must consider whether the party seeking the injunction has satisfied four factors: "1) a likelihood of success on the merits; 2) he or she will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is denied; 3) granting relief will not result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party; and 4) the public interest favors such relief." Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Botticella , 613 F.3d 102, 109 (3d Cir. 2010) quoting Miller v. Mitchell , 598 F.3d 139, 145 (3d Cir. 2010). See also Fed.R.Civ.P. 65. Because a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, the party seeking it must show, at a minimum, a likelihood of success on the merits and that they likely face irreparable harm in the absence of the injunction. See Adams v. Freedom Forge Corp. , 204 F.3d 475, 484 (3d Cir. 2000).
If the record does not at least support a finding of both irreparable injury and a likelihood of success on the merits, then preliminary injunctive relief cannot be granted. Marxe v. Jackson , 833 F.2d 1121 (3d Cir. 1987). Courts have "placed particular weight on the probability of irreparable harm and the likelihood of success on the merits." Ortho Biotech Products, L.P. v. Amgen Inc., 2006 WL 3392939, at *5 (D.N.J.) quoting Apollo Tech Corp. v. Centrosphere Indus. Corp. , 805 F.Supp. 1157, 1205 (D.N.J. 1992). In fact, irreparable injury is the key: "a failure to demonstrate irreparable injury must necessarily result in the denial of a preliminary injunction." Ace American Ins. Co. v. Wachovia Ins. Agency Inc. , 306 Fed.App'x 727, 732 (3d Cir. 2009) quoting Instant Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc. , 882 F.2d 797, 800 (3d Cir. 1989).
These limitations on the power of courts to enter injunctions in a correctional context are further underscored by statute. Specifically, 18 U.S.C. § 3626 limits the authority of courts to enjoin the exercise of discretion by prison officials, and provides that:
Prospective relief in any civil action with respect to prison conditions shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs. The court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right. The court shall ...