United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KAROLINE MEHALCHICK, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
before the Court is a document filed by pro se
prisoner-Plaintiff Demetrius Bailey (“Bailey”),
entitled “Motion for Relief / Motion for Court Order /
Injunction Hearing.” (Doc. 9). For the reasons stated
herein, it is recommended that Bailey's motion be denied.
Background and Procedural History
along with three-other co-Plaintiffs,  filed the
original complaint in this matter in the Luzerne County Court
of Common Pleas on June 14, 2018. (Doc. 1-1). In the
complaint, Bailey brought claims against several DOC
employees (“Defendants”) for alleged violations
of his rights under the 1st, 8th, and
14th Amendments to the United States Constitution.
(Doc. 1-1). On July 19, 2018, Defendants filed a Notice of
Removal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1446. (Doc. 1).
Thereafter, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the original
complaint on June 24, 2018. (Doc. 2). While Defendants'
motion to dismiss was pending, Bailey filed the present
motion, liberally construed by the Court as a motion for
preliminary injunction,  along with a supporting brief on
October 15, 2018. (Doc. 9; Doc. 10).
first ground for which Bailey seeks injunctive relief relates
to the Defendants' alleged denial of his special
diet. (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey asserts that a
gastroenterologist recommended his placement on a special
diet, which calls for “no red sauce, onion, peppers,
etc ..... ” (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey further claims that
he cannot eat the food prepared “in the regular
kitchen, ” as it causes him to experience stomach pain,
vomiting, rectal bleeding, irritated bowels, and general
digestion difficulties. (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey alleges,
however, that a clinical dietician refused to provide him
with his special diet on August 9, 2018 in retaliation for
filing the instant lawsuit. (Doc. 9, at 1; Doc. 10, at 1).
According to Bailey, Defendants' refusal to accommodate
his dietary needs, despite knowing of the health consequences
it would cause, violates his Eighth Amendment rights. (Doc.
10, at 1). Bailey additionally states that he grieved the
denial of his special diet on August 11, 2018, which
purportedly went unanswered. (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey also
filed a “Motion for Court Order” on May 16, 2019,
which, when liberally construed, indicates that he still has
not received his special GERD diet. (Doc. 30, at 1).
second ground for which Bailey seeks relief relates to prison
officials tampering with, and generally frustrating his
ability to receive, legal mail at SCI-Dallas. (Doc. 9, at
1-2). Specifically, Bailey asserts that he must pass through
a “security control room” to obtain his legal
mail. (Doc. 9, at 1). During this process, prison officials
place him and other inmates in restraints and allegedly
subject them to harassment, abuse, and excessive physical
force. (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey further alleges that prison
officials read and make copies of his legal mail, which
constitutes a violation of several state and federal laws, as
well as the attorney-client privilege. (Doc. 9, at 1). Bailey
asserts that the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain” while in the security control room constitutes an
Eighth Amendment violation. (Doc. 10, at 1-2). Bailey also
contends that prison officials opening and reading his legal
mail violates the First Amendment right of access to the
courts. (Doc. 10, at 1-2).
date, Defendants have not responded to Bailey's motion.
As the time for filing responsive briefs has passed, this
motion is ripe for review.
Preliminary Injunction Standard
injunctive relief is extraordinary in nature and should issue
in only limited circumstances. See Am. Tel.
& Tel. Co. v. Winback & Conserve Program, Inc.,
42 F.3d 1421, 1426- 27 (3d Cir. 1994); see also
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)
(“[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.”) (citation omitted). “[T]he Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit has observed that ‘upon
an application for a preliminary injunction to doubt is to
deny.'” Susquehanna Commercial Fin., Inc. v.
Vascular Res., Inc., No. 1:09-CV-2012, 2010 WL 95127, at
*4 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 6, 2010) (quoting Madison Square Garden
Corp. v. Braddock, 90 F.2d 924, 927 (3d Cir. 1937)).
Moreover, issuance of such relief is at the discretion of the
trial judge. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith
Inc. v. Chamberlain, 145 F.Supp.2d 621, 625 (M.D. Pa.
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
the relief; (3) the harm to the non-moving party if relief is
granted; and (4) the public interest.” United
States v. Bell, 238 F.Supp.2d 696, 699 (M.D. Pa. 2003);
see also Bieros v. Nicola, 857 F.Supp. 445,
446 (E.D. Pa. 1994) (“The standards for a temporary
restraining order are the same as those for a preliminary
injunction.”). It is the moving party who bears the
burden of satisfying these factors. Bell, 238
F.Supp.2d at 699. “Only if the movant produces evidence
sufficient to convince the trial judge that all four factors
favor preliminary relief should the injunction issue.”
Opticians Ass'n of Am. v. Indep. Opticians of
Am., 920 F.2d 187, 192 (3d Cir. 1990).
essential prerequisite to the grant of a preliminary
injunction is a showing by the movant of irreparable injury
pendente lite if the relief is not
granted.” United States v. Pennsylvania,
533 F.2d 107, 110 (3d Cir. 1976). A preliminary injunction
“may not be used simply to eliminate a possibility of a
remote future injury.” Holiday Inns of Am., Inc. v.
B&B Corp., 409 F.2d 614, 618 (3d Cir. 1969).
“[T]he irreparable harm must be actual and imminent,
not merely speculative.” Angstadt ex rel. Angstadt
v. Midd-West Sch., 182 F.Supp.2d 435, 437 (M.D. Pa.
2002). “[M]ore than a risk of irreparable harm must be
demonstrated. The requisite for injunctive relief has been
characterized as a ‘clear showing of immediate
irreparable injury,' or a ‘presently existing
actual threat ....'” Continental Grp., Inc. v.
Amoco Chems. Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 359 (3d Cir. 1980)
(citations omitted). “A preliminary injunction cannot
be issued based on past harm. The purpose of a preliminary
injunction is to prevent future irreparable
harm.” Fisher v. Goord, 981 F.Supp. 140, 168
(W.D.N.Y. 1997) (emphasis in original).
“[t]he ‘requisite feared injury or harm must be
irreparable - not merely serious or substantial,' and it
‘must be of a peculiar nature, so that compensation in
money cannot atone for it.'” ECRI v.
McGraw-Hill, Inc., 809 F.2d 223, 226 (3d Cir. 1987)
(quoting Glasco v. Hills, 558 F.2d 179, 181 (3d Cir.
1977)). “In order to demonstrate irreparable harm the
plaintiff must demonstrate potential harm which cannot be
redressed by a legal or an equitable remedy following a
trial. The preliminary injunction must be the only
way of protecting the plaintiff from harm.” Instant
Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797,
801 (3d Cir. 1989) (emphasis added). “The key word in
this consideration is
irreparable.... 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.” Sampson v. Murray, 415 U.S. 61, 90
(1974) (emphasis in original).
“[a] party seeking a mandatory preliminary injunction
that will alter the status quo bears a particularly heavy
burden in demonstrating its necessity.” Acierno v.
New Castle Cnty., 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir. 1994)
(citing Punnett v. Carter,621 F.2d 578, 582 (3d
Cir. 1980)). It follows that “[m]andatory injunctions
should be used sparingly.” Robertson v.
Samuels, 2014 WL 347007, at *5 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 30, 2014)
(citing United States v. Price,688 F.2d 204, 212
(3d Cir. 1982)). “Thus, a request for some form of
mandatory proactive injunctive relief in the prison context
‘must always be viewed with great caution because
judicial restraint is especially called ...