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Angle v. Carter

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 13, 2017

BRYAN ANGLE, II, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPT. CARTER, LT. DAVIS, LT. STEED, C.O. JOHN DOE, U.M. PERRY, and COUNSELOR SNYDER, Defendants.

          Susan Paradise Baxter Magistrate Judge

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          Nora Barry Fischer United States District Judge

         Presently before the Court are the transcribed Report and Recommendation (Docket Nos. 14 and 15) of Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter from the March 17, 2017, hearing on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order (Docket No. 11), Plaintiff's Objections (Docket No. 16) thereto, and Defendants' Response (Docket No. 18). Magistrate Judge Baxter recommends denying Plaintiff's Motion due to his conflicting claims regarding sexual assault, his inability to abide by the rules of the prison's Special Needs Unit (“SNU”), his disciplinary record, and his failure to demonstrate the likelihood of irreparable harm. (Docket No. 15 at 8 - 9).

         The Court notes 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 Appeals for the Third Circuit has observed that “upon an application for a preliminary injunction to doubt is to deny.” Madison Square Garden Corp. v. Braddock, 90 F.2d 924, 927 (3d Cir.1937).

Hall v. Smith, 2015 WL 75042, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 6, 2015) (quoting Emile v. SCI-Pittsburgh, 2006 WL 2773261, at *6 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 24, 2006)).

         Plaintiff cites to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 15601, et seq. (“PREA”), generally, and Pennsylvania Department of Corrections policy, specifically, to support his request to be removed from the general population and be placed in the SNU. (Docket No. 16). According to DC-ADM 802 § 1(A)(3)(d), “Alternative Placements can include, but are not limited to, any one, or combination of, the following temporary options:

a. Moving to a different housing unit;
b. Placement in a cell closer to the Corrections Officer's desk within the unit;
c. Placement in a single cell (Z Code); and
d. Placement in the Special Needs Unit (SNU).”

         (Docket No. 18 at 2). Plaintiff argues that due to his youthful appearance, he is at risk for, and has been the victim of, sexual assault. (Docket No. 16). The sexual assault purportedly took place after Plaintiff was initially removed from the SNU. (Docket No. 15 at 2). Plaintiff filed a grievance through the PREA, but to no avail. (Id. at 3, 7).

         However, when questioned by Magistrate Judge Baxter, Plaintiff provided conflicting testimony regarding the time of his sexual assault, and could not identify the perpetrator. (Docket No. 3 - 4, 7). Additionally, Defendants indicated that when an investigation into the matter was attempted, Plaintiff was uncooperative and denied that an assault had occurred. (Id. at 4, 6). Plaintiff contested this account. (Id. at 7).

         Ryan Swanson, the SNU counselor, testified that while in SNU, Plaintiff exhibited behavioral issues, threatened other inmates in SNU, attempted to extort other inmates in SNU, and was not compliant with medications prescribed while in SNU. (Docket No. 15 at 5). Plaintiff also did not actively participate in mental health groups offered by the SNU. (Id.). Medication compliance and attendance at mental health sessions are both important criteria when ...


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