United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MICHAEL L. LITTLE, et al., Plaintiffs
B. MOTTERN, et al., Defendants
Michael R. Little and Kareem H. Milhouse, inmates confined at
the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
(“USP-Lewisburg”), filed the instant civil rights
complaint pro se pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Currently pending before
the court is a motion entitled “Motion for
Injunction.” (Doc. No. 156.) Little requests that he be
transferred to a state prison, separated from District of
Columbia inmates and immediately be transferred to a
“holdover facility until arrangement [are] complete[d]
for state placement.” (Id. at 4.) Little
previously filed similar motions (Doc. Nos. 67, 82) which
were fully briefed by the parties and denied by the court.
(Doc. Nos. 124, 127.) For the reasons set forth below, the
motion for the issuance of an injunction directing that he be
transferred to a state facility will be denied.
injunctive relief is extraordinary in nature, and is
discretionary with the trial judge. Orson, Inc. v.
Miramax Film Corp., 836 F.Supp. 309, 311 (E.D. Pa. 1993)
(citing Skehan v. Board of Trustees of Bloomsburg State
College, 353 F.Supp. 542 (M.D. Pa. 1973)). In
determining whether to grant a motion seeking preliminary
injunctive relief, courts in the Third Circuit consider the
following four factors: (1) the likelihood that the applicant
will prevail on the merits; (2) the extent to which the
movant is being irreparably harmed by the conduct complained
of; (3) the extent to which the non-moving party will suffer
irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction is issued; and
(4) whether granting preliminary injunctive relief will be in
the public interest. S & R Corp. v. Jiffy Lube
Int'l, Inc., 968 F.2d 371, 374 (3d Cir. 1992)
(citing Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson & Co., 903
F.2d 186, 197-98 (3d Cir. 1990)); Instant Air Freight v.
C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797, 800 (3d Cir.
1989); Premier Dental Prods. Co. v. Darby Dental Supply
Co., 794 F.2d 850, 852 (3d Cir.), cert. denied,
479 U.S. 950 (1986). It is the moving party that bears the
burden of demonstrating these factors. See Dorfman v.
Moorhous, No. Civ. A. 93-6120, 1993 WL 483166 at *1
(E.D. Pa., Nov. 24, 1993).
the most important prerequisite for the issuance of a
preliminary injunction is a demonstration that if it is not
granted, the applicant is likely to suffer irreparable harm
before a decision on the merits can be rendered.
Continental Group, Inc. v. Amoco Chems. Corp., 614
F.2d 351, 356 (3d Cir. 1980); see Wright &
Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil Sec.
2948 at 431 (1973). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has
defined irreparable injury as "potential harm which
cannot be redressed by a legal or equitable remedy following
a trial." Instant Air Freight, 882 F.2d at 801.
A court may not grant preliminary injunctive relief unless
"[t]he preliminary injunction [is] the only way of
protecting the plaintiff from harm." Id. The
relevant inquiry is whether the party moving for the
injunctive relief is in danger of suffering the irreparable
harm at the time the preliminary injunction is to be issued.
SI Handling Sys., Inc. v. Heisley, 753 F.2d 1244,
1264 (3d Cir. 1985).
speculative injury does not constitute a showing of
irreparable harm. Continental, 614 F.2d at 359;
see also Public Serv. Co. v. West Newbury, 835 F.2d
380, 383 (1st Cir. 1987). "The possibility that adequate
compensatory or other corrective relief will be available at
a later date, in the ordinary course of litigation, weighs
heavily against a claim of irreparable harm."
Instant Air Freight, 882 F.2d at 801 (quoting
Sampson v. Murray, 415 U.S. 61, 90 (1964)).
abundantly clear that Little has not shown that he deserves
preliminary injunctive relief according to the pertinent
legal standards outlined above. Initially, Little has not
made a strong showing that he is likely to prevail on the
well-settled that a prisoner has no justifiable expectation
that he will be incarcerated in a particular prison. Olim
v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983). An inmate does
not have a constitutional right to choose his place of
confinement, security classification, any particular housing
assignment or cellmate. Id.; Montanye v.
Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976) Moody v.
Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 (1976); Meachum v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976); Murray v. Bledsoe, 650
F.3d 246, 247 (3d Cir. 2011); Burger v. U.S. Bureau of
Prisons, 65 F.3d 48 (5thCir. 1995). In
Murray, the Third Circuit in addressing whether the
Ninth Amendment established “a right to choose
one's cellmate” noted that “courts confronted
with the question . . . have held that no such right
exists.” 650 F.3d at 247.
respect to federal prisoners, the Bureau of Prisons has the
power, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), to
"transfer a prisoner from one facility to another at any
time." Prows v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 981
F.2d 466, 469 n.3 (10th Cir. 1992), cert. denied,
510 U.S. 830, 114 S.Ct. 98 (1993); Cardenas v.
Wigen, 921 F.Supp. 286, 291 (E.D. Pa. 1996). Section
3621(b) authorizes the Bureau "to designate the place of
confinement for purposes of serving federal sentences of
imprisonment." Barden v. Keohane, 921 F.2d 476
(3d Cir. 1991). "If the prisoner can be lawfully held in
the facility to which he has been transferred, he cannot
object to that transfer, even if the transfer results in his
being placed in a more restrictive or less accessible
facility". Ali v. Gibson, 631 F.2d 1126, 1135
(3d Cir. 1980). It is clear that decisions regarding
Little's designation are within the sound discretion of
the BOP. Since Little does not enjoy a constitutional right
to be housed in a particular correctional facility, the
denial of his request to be transferred to another prison
does not assert a cognizable claim.
a prisoner does not have a protected liberty interest in
matters of classification or particular custody status, and
none is provided by federal law. Hewitt v. Helms,
459 U.S. 460 (1983); Montanye, 427 U.S. at 242;
Stephany v. Wagner, 835 F.2d 497 (3d Cir. 1987). An
inquiry by this Court into matters of prison administration,
such as classification or custody status, would necessarily
interfere with the administration's right to police its
penal system. These administration determinations have
consistently and correctly been left to the prison
management's sound discretion. McNeil v. Latney,
382 F.Supp. 161, 162 (E.D. Va. 1974); Pope v.
Williams, 426 F.Supp. 279 (E.D. Pa. 1971). Thus,
"as long as the conditions or degree of confinement to
which the prisoner is subjected is within the sentence