United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Reona J. Daly, recommending that Plaintiff's motion for
preliminary injunctive relief (Doc. 9) be denied (Doc. 34).
Plaintiff filed a timely objection (Doc. 36). For the
following reasons, the Court ADOPTS Judge
Daly's R&R in its entirety.
Robert Minerly, an inmate currently incarcerated at Big Muddy
River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”), was
admitted into the Volunteer Sex Offender Program
(“VSOP”) on May 20, 2011. He spent five years in
the Program and achieved Phase IV which is the highest
attainable treatment phase. Minerly also joined the aftercare
group on June 29, 2016. The aftercare group is offered to
individuals who have transitioned out of VSOP and demonstrate
a desire to continue work on their sexual offending issues.
Minerly was removed from VSOP on July 1, 2016 and was also
terminated from the aftercare program for behavioral reasons
on August 22, 2016. The aftercare program was eventually
terminated at Big Muddy.
filed this action alleging that his removal from VSOP and the
aftercare program was in direct retaliation for filing his
grievance against the orange crush tactical team. He seeks
monetary and injunctive relief prohibiting the Defendants
from retaliating against him, or alternatively, in the form
of a transfer to another prison facility.
September 27, 2017, Judge Daly held a hearing on
Minerly's motion for preliminary injunction. The R&R
details the nature of the evidence presented by the parties
as well as the applicable law. Judge Daly considered the
evidence and concluded that Minerly failed to establish the
elements required to obtain a preliminary injunction
(see Doc. 34). Specifically, Judge Daly was not
persuaded that Minerly will suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of participating in the VSOP and aftercare programs.
She credited the testimony of Dr. Holt who testified that
Minerly had already received the maximum benefit from VSOP,
that he was removed from the aftercare program due to
behavioral reasons, and that Big Muddy no longer offers the
aftercare program. Judge Daly also found that Plaintiff did
not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits or that
traditional legal remedies would be inadequate to compensate
him for any alleged wrongdoing by the Defendants.
Minerly filed a timely objection, the undersigned must
undertake a de novo review of Judge Daly's
recommendation to deny his motion for preliminary injunction.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b);
SDIL-LR 73.1(b); see also Govas v. Chalmers, 965
F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). De novo review
requires the district judge to “give fresh
consideration to those issues to which specific objections
have been made” and make a decision “based on an
independent review of the evidence and arguments without
giving any presumptive weight to the magistrate judge's
conclusion.” Mendez v. Republic Bank, 725 F.3d
651, 661 (7th Cir. 2013). The Court “may accept, reject
or modify the magistrate judge's recommended
decision.” Id. Consistent with these
standards, the Court has reviewed Judge Daly's R&R
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). The
purpose of such an injunction is to minimize the hardship to
the parties pending the ultimate resolution of the
lawsuit.” Fahenm-El v. Klincar, 841 F.2d 712,
717 (7th Cir. 1988). In order to obtain a preliminary
injunction, Minerly has the burden of establishing that: (1)
he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim; (2) he
has no adequate remedy at law; and (3) he is likely to suffer
irreparable harm without the injunction. Planned
Parenthood of Indiana, Inc. v. Comm'r of Indiana State
Dep't Health, 699 F.3d 962, 972 (7th Cir. 2012),
citing Am. Civil Liberties Unions of Ill. v.
Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 589-90 (7th Cir. 2012).
context of prisoner litigation, the scope of the Court's
authority to issue an injunction is circumscribed by the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”).
Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012).
Under the PLRA, 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.” 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2); see also
Westefer, 682 F.3d at 683 (noting the PLRA
“enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme Court
in cases challenging prison conditions: prisons officials
have broad administrative and discretionary authority over
the institutions they manage”) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted).
initial matter, Minerly generally objects to the R&R and
Judge Daly's previous denial of his Motion for
Appointment of Counsel. However, the Court will not consider
non- specific objections or those outside the scope of the
R&R. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985).
also objects to and refutes the testimony of Dr. Holt.
Specifically, Minerly objects to Dr. Holt's testimony
regarding why he was removed from the aftercare and VSOP
programs. He requests that the Court, instead, rely on the
declaration of Hozy Whitehead, a fellow inmate at Big Muddy
who also participated in VSOP and aftercare programs. Minerly
attached Whitehead's Declaration to his objection (Doc.
hearings over which they preside, judges, including
magistrate judges, are obviously in a position to assess a
witness's credibility because they have the opportunity
“to observe the verbal and nonverbal behavior of the
witnesses . . . [including their] reactions and responses to
the interrogatories, their facial expressions, attitudes,
tone of voice, eye contact, posture and body
movements.” Kraushaar v. Flanigan, 45 F.3d
1040, 1052-53 (7th Cir. 1995). Here, Judge Daly credited the
in-person testimony of Dr. Holt who testified that the
Minerly was removed from the VSOP because he had obtained the
maximum benefit from the program and that he was removed from
the aftercare program because he was improperly using the
program to engage in legal work with other prisoners. The
Court finds no reason in the record to second-guess Judge
Daly's credibility determinations. Goffman v.
Gross, 59 F.3d 668, 671 (7th Cir. 1995) (“The
district court is not required to conduct another hearing to
review the magistrate judge's findings or credibility
determinations”). Furthermore, a review of
Whitehead's Declaration corroborates that Minerly was
removed from the aftercare program for the reasons stated by
Minerly objects to Judge Daly's finding that he will not
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of the treatment
programs. He asserts that he benefitted from the VSOP and
aftercare programs, that the reason he was removed from the
programs was retaliatory, and that the purpose of an
injunction is to return him to the exact status prior to the
adverse actions of the Defendants. As Judge Daly noted, in
order to obtain a preliminary injunction, Minerly must
demonstrate that he will suffer irreparable harm before a
final resolution of his claims. The testimony elicited at the
hearing was that Minerly had already received maximum benefit
from VSOP and that Big Muddy no longer offered the aftercare
program. Minerely does not disagree. It is well-established