United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MAURICE L. WALLACE, #R10764, Plaintiff,
JOHN BALDWIN, KIMBERLY BUTLER, MIKE ATCHISON, JOHN/JANE DOE, and ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
R. HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE:
action is before the Court to address Plaintiff's Motion
for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary
Injunction (Doc. 8) and Motion for Leave to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis (“IFP”) (Doc. 6).
for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary
seeks issuance of a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) and/or preliminary injunction. A TRO is
an order issued without notice to the party to be enjoined
that may last no more than fourteen days. A TRO may issue
only if (A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified
complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury,
loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse
party can be heard in opposition; and (B) the movant's
attorney certifies in writing any efforts made to give notice
and the reasons why it should not be required.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(b). “The essence of a temporary
restraining order is its brevity, its ex parte character, and
. . . its informality.” Geneva Assur. Syndicate,
Inc. v. Medical Emergency Servs. Assocs. S.C., 964 F.2d
599, 600 (7th Cir. 1992). In addition to the immediate and
irreparable damage requirement for a TRO, to justify issuance
of preliminary injunctive relief, the plaintiff must first
demonstrate that 1) he has a reasonable likelihood of success
on the merits, 2) he has no adequate remedy at law, and 3) he
will suffer irreparable harm if preliminary injunctive relief
is denied. See Stifel, Nicholaus & Company, Inc. v.
Godfre & Kahn, 807 F.3d 184, 193 (7th Cir. 2015).
expressing any opinion on the merits of any of
Plaintiff's other claims for relief, the Court concludes
that a TRO should not issue in this matter. Plaintiff's
allegations do not set forth specific facts demonstrating the
likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm before
Defendants can be heard. Plaintiff alleges that he has
been confined in disciplinary segregation for more than ten
years. (Doc. 5, p. 23). He claims that this confinement has
intensified the symptoms he experiences in conjunction with
his post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).
(Doc. 5, p. 18). He notes that these symptoms may include
nightmares, severe anxiety, and suicidal ideations, among
other things. Id. Plaintiff has provided the Court
with his recent mental health records to support his claim,
and though they seem to confirm that Plaintiff has been
diagnosed with PTSD and suffers from anxiety and depression,
they also repeatedly signal that Plaintiff has not recently
demonstrated or reported suicidal ideations from which he may
be suffering currently. (See Doc. 7, p. 81, 83, 85,
Amended Complaint (Doc. 5), Plaintiff also provides the Court
with studies and findings concerning the potential negative
effects of prolonged segregation on an individual, seemingly
in an attempt to support his claim that he will suffer
irreparable injury if he is not removed from segregation, but
what studies and statistics indicate might happen to
individuals in situations similar to Plaintiff is not of
interest to this Court when considering Plaintiff's
motion for preliminary injunctive relief. All that concerns
this Court is what harm to Plaintiff is occurring or
imminent. Plaintiff has not alleged to this Court's
satisfaction any risk of immediate and irreparable injury,
loss, or damage that will befall him before any of the
defendants can be heard in opposition to his motion. Further,
he readily admits that he “will certainly require years
of professional therapy before [he] can confidently reclaim
his status as a ‘civilized human being'”
after being subjected to such extreme isolation, so it
appears unlikely that ordering immediate action will benefit
Plaintiff in any significant way. (Doc. 5, p. 26).
federal courts must exercise equitable restraint when asked
to take over the administration of a prison, something that
is best left to correctional officials and their staff.
See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 482 (1995);
Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 379 (1976) (noting
that where a plaintiff requests an award of remedial relief
that would require a federal court to interfere with the
administration of a state prison, "appropriate
consideration must be given to principles of federalism in
determining the availability and scope of [such]
relief."). Particularly because of Plaintiff's
previous prison staff assault and weapons violations, and
admitted violent, asocial, and aggressive tendencies, this
Court is extremely hesitant to direct Plaintiff's
transfer from disciplinary segregation without at least
allowing the defendants an opportunity to defend their
decision to continue to hold Plaintiff. (Doc. 5, pp. 24, 27).
request for issuance of a temporary restraining order will
therefore be denied. This Court will reserve a decision on
the Motion (Doc. 8) to the extent it requests a preliminary
for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
to Section 1915(g), a prisoner may not bring a civil action
or appeal a civil judgment in forma pauperis
“if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions,
while incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an
action or appeal in a court of the United States that was
dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious
physical injury.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
has received strikes in at least three cases in this
District. See Wallace v. Powers, Case No.
09-cv-224-DRH (S.D. Ill. November 19, 2009) (dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted);
Wallace v. Hallam, Case No. 09-cv-418-DRH (S.D. Ill.
Feb. 23, 2010) (same); Westefer v. Snyder, et al.,
Case No. 00-cv-162-GPM (S.D. Ill. Feb. 25, 2011) (denying
Plaintiff's motion to intervene and assessing strike for
filing frivolous action). In fact, because of his voluminous
frivolous filings, Plaintiff has been given at least one
warning about filing frivolous papers or actions in this
District. See, Wallace v. Taylor, Case No.
11-cv-332-MJR (S.D. Ill. June 6, 2012) (Doc. 29, p. 2).
Because Plaintiff has incurred at least three
“strikes” for purposes of Section 1915(g), he may
not proceed IFP in this case unless he is under imminent
danger of serious physical injury.
has failed to satisfy this requirement. The United States
Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has explained that
“imminent danger” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(g) requires a “real and proximate”
threat of serious physical injury to a prisoner.
Ciarpaglini v. Saini, 352 F.3d 328, 330 (7th Cir.
2003) (citing Lewis v. Sullivan, 279 F.3d 526, 529
(7th Cir. 2002)). In general, courts “deny leave to
proceed IFP when a prisoner's claims of imminent danger
are conclusory or ridiculous.” Id. at 331
(citing Heimermann v. Litscher, 337 F.3d 781, 782
(7th Cir. 2003)). Additionally, “[a]llegations of past
harm do not suffice” to show imminent danger; rather,
“the harm must be imminent or occurring at the time the
complaint is filed, ” and when prisoners “allege
only a past injury that has not recurred, courts deny them
leave to proceed IFP.” Id. at 330 (citing
Abdul-Wadood v. Nathan, 91 F.3d 1023 (7th Cir.
1996)). Further, “[t]his Court has previously observed
that a prisoner cannot ‘create the “imminent
danger” required by § 1915(g).'” See
Widmer v. Butler, Case No. 14-cv-874-NJR, 2014 WL
3932519 (S.D. Ill. August 12, 2014) (citing Taylor v.