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Williams v. Wetzel

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 18, 2017

MARK-ALONZO WILLIAMS, Plaintiff
v.
JOHN WETZEL, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          SYLVIA H. RAMBO United States District Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff Mark-Alonzo Williams is currently confined at State Correctional Institution Forest, Marienville, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Forest”). The case, raising claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, is proceeding on the basis of an amended complaint filed on January 3, 2017. (Doc. No. 7.) Plaintiff names as Defendants several employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”), and alleges, inter alia, that while confined at SCI-Dallas, the Defendants failed to protect him from an assault in violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment.

         On May 19, 2017, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Doc. No. 23) and filed a brief in support. (Doc. No. 28.) On June 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order. (Doc. No. 29). In the instant motion, Plaintiff claims that his property and papers were seized and that he has been put into a special management unit (“SMU”). He requests that he be released from SMU and placed back into general population. Notably, Plaintiff has not filed a brief in support of his motion as required by Local Rule 7.5. Defendants have filed a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's instant motion. (Doc. No. 30.)

         Discussion

         Local Rule 7.5 requires that a party file a brief in support of any motion. Moreover, if “the motion seeks a protective order, a supporting brief shall be filed with the motion.” Local Rule 7.5. “If a supporting brief is not filed within the time period provided in this rule the motion shall be deemed to be withdrawn.” Id. Because Plaintiff has not filed a brief in support of his motion in accordance with the Local Rules of Court, his motion will be deemed withdrawn.[1] Nevertheless, even if this Court were to address the merits of Plaintiff's claims, it finds that Plaintiff has not demonstrated an entitlement to such extraordinary relief.

         Preliminary 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. Bd. of Tr. of Bloomsburg State Coll., 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 complaint; (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)). It is the moving party that bears the burden of demonstrating these factors. See Dorfman v. Moorhous, No. 93-CV-6120, 1993 WL 483166, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 24, 1993). “The relevant inquiry is whether the movant is in danger of suffering 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).

         Here, Plaintiff has not made the demanding showing for this extraordinary form of relief. First, while inmates frequently invite federal courts to entertain preliminary injunctions directing their jailers to allow them greater access to legal materials, these requests have rarely been embraced by the courts. See, e.g., Edmonds v. Sobina, 296 F. App'x 214, 216 n.3 (3d Cir. 2008); Wesley v. Vaughn, No. 99-1228, 2001 WL 1391254 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 7, 2001); see Kelly v. Karnes, 2011 WL 703556, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 10, 2011) (stating that granting such a preliminary injunction would effectively have federal courts making ad hoc, and individual decisions concerning access to legal materials for a single prisoner, which could harm Defendants' and public's interest in penological order); Monroe v. Beard, 536 F.3d 198, 210 (3d Cir. 2008) (affirming denial of preliminary injunction and providing that grievance system is available to prisoners to challenge seizure of property).

         Second, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that his placement in SMU was improper, nor are there any facts to suggest that his placement in SMU subjected him to “atypical or significant hardship.” See Sandin v. Conner, 414 U.S. 472, 484 (1995) (holding that in a prison setting, protected liberty interests are generally limited to freedom from restraint that “impose [] atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.”); Torres v. Fauver, 292 F.3d 141, 150-51 (3d Cir. 2002) (providing that placement in the SMU is within “the ordinary incidents of prison life” and, thus, not a violation of constitutional rights); Griffin v. Vaughn, 112 F.3d 703, 707 (3d Cir. 1997) (holding that exposure to the conditions of administrative custody, even for periods as long as 15 months, “falls within the expected parameters of the sentence imposed [on a prisoner] by a court of law.”).

         Conclusion

         Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction and restraining order will be denied. An appropriate order follows.

         ORDER

         AND NOW, this 18th day of July, 2017, in accordance with the accompanying Memorandum, IT IS ORDERED THAT Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (Doc. No. 29), is DENIED.

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