United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan Chief Judge
se Plaintiff Kenneth Smith, an inmate formerly housed at
the Menard Correctional Center, brought the present lawsuit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on the denial of
protective custody placement by a number of officials at
Menard. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed a number of motions for
preliminary injunctive relief related to protective custody,
and those motions are now before the Court for review (Doc.
38; Doc. 49; Doc. 63). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court DENIES all three injunction motions.
and Procedural Background
November 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present suit, alleging
violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Doc. 1; Doc. 3,
p. 4). In sum, Plaintiff alleges he has received death
threats from members of a rival gang and that Defendants have
denied his requests to be placed in protective custody
related to those threats. (Doc. 1, p. 3 - 11). In its
threshold review order, this Court found that Plaintiff had
stated “a colorable Eighth Amendment claim that
[certain] Defendants . . . have failed to protect him from
danger of an impending attack by one of the fellow inmates
who have issued threats against him, or by an affiliated
inmate who may carry out the threats.” (Doc. 3, p. 4).
course of this suit, Plaintiff has filed four motions seeking
injunctive relief (Docs. 4, 38, 49, 63). A hearing was held
on the first motion (Doc. 4), dated November, 18, 2015, and
that motion will be ruled on by separate order today-the
Court does not address the November 18, 2015 motion (Doc. 4)
by way of this order. This order will rule on Plaintiff's
three other motions for injunctive relief, filed on January
25, 2016 (Doc. 38), February 22, 2016 (Doc. 49), and June 13,
2016 (Doc. 63), respectively.
January 25, 2016 & February 22, 2016 Motions
January 25th (Doc. 38) and February 22nd (Doc. 49) motions,
Plaintiff seeks to be transferred out of Menard. After being
kicked out of protective custody on January 5, 2016,
Plaintiff admits that he refused housing in order to avoid
going to the East Cell House where Level E inmates like
Plaintiff are housed. (Doc. 38, p. 1). According to the
Plaintiff, Defendant Cowan asked him if he was going to East
House, to which he responded he was not. (Id.). He
alleges Cowan then told him that he could not go into
protective custody. (Id.). Plaintiff claims that
after Cowan left, another correctional officer, who is not a
defendant, started “making threats” directed at
Plaintiff and tried to take Plaintiff's property.
(Id.). He alleges another non-defendant officer took
his legal property, and he claims that his property will be
taken each time he refuses housing at Menard. (Doc. 49, p.
2). Plaintiff also claims that he has been denied medical
care for a particular injury. (Doc. 38, p. 2). However, he
acknowledges seeing medical staff every month in the cell
house, and says that he sees a physician every six weeks.
(Id.). In addition, Plaintiff makes allegations of
threats from Menard staff. These allegations consist of
unspecified threats from defendants and non-defendants.
(See Doc. 38, p. 2; Doc. 49, p. 2). In one of these
allegations, Plaintiff states that he “sees the start
of Menard Administration starting to harass him due to the
filings [sic] of this suit.” (Doc. 38, p. 2). Given
these problems, Plaintiff asks to be transferred from Menard
to another Illinois facility. (Doc. 38, p. 3; Doc. 49, p. 3;
Doc. 50, p. 4).
response to these motions, Defendants point to a prison
Adjustment Committee Final Report regarding a proceeding
pertaining to Plaintiff for the offenses of
“Intimidation or Threats” and “Disobeying a
Direct Order.” (Doc. 45-1, p. 1). The witnesses who
came before the Committee for that matter testified that
Plaintiff did not want to be housed in East House, but
instead wanted to be placed in protective custody.
(Id.). The Committee found Plaintiff guilty of those
offenses, specifically observing that Plaintiff improperly
refused housing at the East House and said he would kill
someone if sent there. (Id.). Defendants assert that
Plaintiff has a history of manipulating prison regulations to
obtain a transfer to a prison he desires. (Doc. 45, p. 2;
Doc. 51, p. 3).
June 13, 2016 Motion
latest in Plaintiff's series of preliminary injunction
requests was filed on June 13, 2016. In addition to repeating
most of the other allegations in his past motions, Plaintiff
again alleges generalized threats by staff and claims that
staff are threatening to kill him. (Doc. 63, p. 2-3). He
claims he is in imminent danger due to those threats.
(Id. at p. 3). As always, Plaintiff again seeks a
transfer out of Menard. (Id. at 3-4). However,
Plaintiff also claims he was involved in a sexual
relationship with a female correctional officer at Menard
(Doc. 63, p. 2), which he previously detailed at length in a
filing with the Court. (See Doc. 61). In addition to
retaliation for filing the underlying suit, Plaintiff now
claims that Menard officials are threatening him in
retaliation for his relationship with the female officer.
(Doc. 63, p. 2).
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 (1997). To
obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must show (1)
that he is likely to succeed on the merits of this case, (2)
that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without the
preliminary injunction, (3) that the harm he would suffer
without a preliminary injunction is greater than the harm the
injunction would inflict on the defendants, and (4) that the
injunction is in the public interest. Judge v.
Quinn, 612 F.3d 537, 546 (7th Cir. 2010). The
“considerations are interdependent: the greater the
likelihood of success on the merits, the less net harm the
injunction must prevent in order for preliminary relief to be
warranted.” Id. at 546.
context of prisoner civil rights litigation, there are
further restrictions on the scope of the Court's
injunctive power. The scope of the Court's authority to
enter an injunction in the corrections context is
circumscribed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act.
Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012).
Under that Act, preliminary injunctive relief “must be
narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct
the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be
the least intrusive means necessary to correct that
harm.” See 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2);
see also Westefer, 682 F.3d at 683 (the ...