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Miller v. Holt

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 24, 2017

C.O. S.L. HOLT, et al ., Defendants


          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge

         This civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 proceeds on an amended complaint filed by Plaintiff B. Miller on October 7, 2016. (Doc. 25.) Miller is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Frackville (SCI-Frackville), Pennsylvania. Named as defendants in the amended complaint are the following correctional officers at SCI-Frackville: S.L. Holt, R.E. Lynn, S.P. Allen, and S.M. Holezman. Plaintiff appears to allege that Defendants Lynn, Allen and Holezman took his tablet from him for no reason when he was coming in from the exercise yard on September 20, 2016. He claims that this was done pursuant to the order of Defendant Holt in retaliation for suing Holt.

         I. Background

         On October 27, 2016, Defendant Holt filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment with respect to the claims set forth against him in the amended complaint. (Doc. 26.) The motion is based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust the claims set forth in the complaint. In support of the motion, Holt has also filed a brief and the unsworn declaration of Jennifer Newberry, Assistant to the Superintendent at SCI-Frackville. (Docs. 31, 32.) Plaintiff has failed to oppose this motion. In addition, although waiver of service documents and the amended complaint were mailed to the other three (3) defendants, they have not acknowledged service or responded to the amended complaint.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Injunctive Relief. (Doc. 35.) Plaintiff's filing has been construed to be both his motion and his brief. (Doc. 38.) Plaintiff requests that he immediately be placed in the general population because Officers Downs and Reese are denying him privileges in retaliation for exercising his constitutional rights. In support of his argument, he cites generally to Smith v. Mensinger, 293 F.3d 641 (3d Cir. 1999) and Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523 (3d Cir. 2003). Plaintiff further alleges that his allegations are proven by a misconduct that was issued against him.

         II. Injunctive Relief Standard

         It is clear that Plaintiff fails to qualify for injunctive relief. It is well established that preliminary injunctive relief is extraordinary in nature and is granted only in the most limited of circumstances. 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 denial of relief;
(3) the harm to the non-moving party if relief is granted; and
(4) the public interest.

Meekins v. Beard, No. 3:06-CV-290, 2008 WL 474250 *2 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 20, 2008) citing United States v. Bell, 238 F.Supp.2d 696, 699 (M.D. Pa. 2003). It is the moving party that bears the burden of satisfying these factors. (Id.)

         Perhaps 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. See Continental Group, Inc., v. Amoco Chems. Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 356 (3d Cir. 1980). Irreparable injury is “potential harm which cannot be redressed by a legal or equitable remedy following a trial.” Instant Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797, 801 (3d Cir. 1989). 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 injunctive relief is to be issued. Id. 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, weights 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)). “[A] failure to show a likelihood of success or a failure to demonstrate irreparable injury must necessarily result in the denial of a preliminary injunction.” In Re Arthur Treacher's Franchise Litigation, 689 F.2d 1137, 1143 (3d Cir. 1982).

         III. ...

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