United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Alan Toaz (“Toaz” or “Plaintiff”), a
federal inmate incarcerated at the Allenwood Low Security
Correctional Institution (“LSCI-Allenwood”),
White Deer, Pennsylvania, filed this
Bivens action on August 11, 2017. (Doc. 1).
Presently before the Court is Toaz's Motion (Doc. 2) for
a Preliminary Injunction. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court will deny the motion.
Allegations of the Complaint
who suffers from ulcerative colitis, alleges that on June 26,
2017, he was “having a colitis flare-up.” (Doc.
1, ¶ 15). On June 28, 2017, prison staff conducted a
mass shakedown in Toaz's housing unit, during which
Defendant Snyder restricted bathroom access. (Id. at
17). He alleges that despite the fact that he informed
Defendant Snyder and another officer of his medical
condition, he was denied access to a bathroom for
approximately 2 ½ hours. (Id. at 18-20).
avers that Defendant Snyder and other unknown officers
confiscated his legal and personal property during the
shakedown. (Id. at 23). On June 28, 2017, June 29,
2017 and June 30, 2017, Defendants Rothermel and Brown
allegedly refused to provide him with administrative remedy
forms for the purpose of grieving the confiscation of his
property. (Id. at 26, 29, 32). He learned from
Defendant Brown on July 1, 2017, that release of his legal
property was delayed because other inmate's personal
property was found with his legal property. (Id. at
36). He alleges that Defendant Rothermel continued to deny
his requests for administrative remedy forms every day from
June 28, 2017, to July 14, 2017. (Id. at 43). On
July 14, 2017, Defendant Brown returned his personal
property. (Id. at 44).
Standard of Review
injunctive relief is “an extraordinary remedy”
that “should be granted only in limited
circumstances.” Kos Pharm., Inc. v. Andrx
Corp., 369 F.3d 700, 708 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing
AT&T v. Winback and Conserve Program, Inc., 42
F.3d 1421, 1426-27 (3d Cir. 1994)); see also
Fed.R.Civ.P. 65. “[T]o obtain a preliminary injunction
the moving party must show as a prerequisite (1) a reasonable
probability of eventual success in the litigation, and (2)
that it will be irreparably injured ... if relief is not
granted.... [In addition, ] the district court, in
considering whether to grant a preliminary injunction, should
take into account, when they are relevant, (3) the
possibility of harm to other interested persons from the
grant or denial of the injunction, and (4) the public
interest.” Reilly v. City of Harrisburg, 858
F.3d 173, 176 (3d Cir. 2017) (citing Del. River Port
Auth. v. Transamerican Trailer Transport, Inc., 501 F.2d
917, 919-20 (3d Cir. 1974). A movant must “meet the
threshold for the first two ‘most critical'
factors: it must demonstrate that it can win on the merits
(which requires a showing significantly better than
negligible but not necessarily more likely than not) and that
it is more likely than not to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of preliminary relief.” Reilly, 858
F.3d at 179. Only if these “gateway factors” are
met is the court required to consider the third and fourth
factors. Id. at 176, 179. The court must then
balance all four factors to determine, in its discretion,
whether the circumstances favor injunctive relief.
Id. at 179.
seeks to enjoin prison staff from depriving medically
impaired inmates use of bathroom facilities during security
operations, mandate that prison officials provide him with
administrative remedy forms, order prison officials to take
various actions related to access to legal property, grant
inmates unlimited access to legal documents to assist in
preparation of post-conviction motions, and order prison
staff to provide him with a detailed list of all personal
property seized and not yet returned. (Doc. 2, pp. 4, 5).
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
argues that that he is entitled to injunctive relief because
there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of
several of his claims. He first cites to his Eighth Amendment
claim arising out of the denial of access to the bathroom.
(Doc. 2, p. 4).
Eighth Amendment protects prison inmates from cruel and
unusual punishment. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 832 (1994). However, not all deficiencies and
inadequacies in prison conditions amount to a violation of a
prisoner's constitutional rights. Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981). To assert an Eighth
Amendment conditions of confinement claim, a prisoner must
satisfy both an objective and subjective test. See Wilson
v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). Specifically, a
prisoner must show that the alleged deprivation is
“sufficiently serious” and that he has been
deprived of the “minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. A prisoner must also demonstrate that he has suffered
“extreme deprivations” that posed a
“substantial risk of serious harm” and that
prison officials possessed a “sufficiently culpable
state of mind” and demonstrated “deliberate
indifference” to his health or safety. Id.;
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1992). Mere
negligence or inadvertence will not satisfy the deliberate
indifference standard and cannot constitute a violation of
the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 105-06 (1976).
general matter, the denial of access to a lavatory has been
held to offend the Eighth Amendment only where it is
unconscionably long or where it constitutes an ongoing
feature of an inmate's confinement. See,
e.g., Young v. Quinlan, 960 F.2d 351 (3d
Cir. 1992), superseded by statute, Title VIII of Pub.L. No.
104-134, 100 Stat. 1321 (1996), as recognized in Siluk v.
Merwin, 783 F.3d 421, 434 n. 77 (3d Cir. 2015)
(abrogated on other grounds). Because Toaz raises a single
deprivation that was limited in time to 2 ½ hours, it
cannot be said that there is a reasonable probability of
eventual success on the merits of this claim.
asserts that he has a substantial likelihood of success on
the merits of his claim that Defendants Brown and Rothermel
violated his due process rights in refusing to supply him
with forms necessary to initiate the administrative remedy
procedure. (Doc. 2, p. 4). However, because prison inmates do
not have a constitutional right to a prison grievance system,
see Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners' Labor
Union, 433 U.S. 119, 137-138 ...