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Jordan v. Weber

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 4, 2018

C/O WEBER, Defendant.


          Hon. Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Pierre Jordan filed his complaint against C/O Weber for harassing and retaliating against Plaintiff. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Weber violated his rights under the First and/or Eighth Amendments by verbally and sexually harassing him, intimidating him, and making retaliatory threats toward him after he filed grievances complaining about Weber's actions. Plaintiff's claims against Weber were severed from Plaintiff's original claims in Jordan v. Lamb, et al., Case No. 17-cv-207-SMY.

         Following the filing of his complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (Doc. 16). The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge David R. Herndon pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation. It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and DENY Plaintiff's Motion.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff's current motion for preliminary relief alleges that Warden Lamb, Assistant Warden Brookhart, and Law Librarian Dunlap are retaliating against him and denying him access to the Courts at Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). He also alleges that ARB Chairperson Sherri Benton has denied him due process. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that once he transferred to Lawrence, Brookhart allowed law clerks to look at his confidential legal materials, instructed the law library to not put him on the legal deadline list in order to visit the law library, and closed the library for three weeks. Plaintiff sent a request to Sherri Benton at the ARB regarding the closure of the library, and it was later opened. Despite the library re-opening, Plaintiff was deemed to have too many legal materials in his legal box during a shakedown.

         Plaintiff was subsequently transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”), where he is currently incarcerated. It appears that he has been unable to review materials from his legal storage box while at Pontiac. Plaintiff argues that Sherri Benton is biased against him and he seeks an order against numerous individual officers and wardens at Lawrence and Pontiac preventing them from denying his access to the courts, using excessive force against him, and violating his due process rights.

         Legal Standards

         A Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) may issue without notice only if: (1) specific facts in an affidavit or 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 (2) 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).

         A preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary and drastic remedy” for which there must be a “clear showing” that Plaintiff is entitled to relief. Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (quoting 11A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R Miller, & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §2948 (5th ed. 1995)). The purpose of such an injunction is “to minimize the hardship to the parties pending the ultimate resolution of the lawsuit.” Faheem-El v. Klincar, 841 F.2d 712, 717 (7th Cir. 1988). Plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating: (1) a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits; (2) no adequate remedy at law; and (3) irreparable harm absent the injunction. Planned Parenthood v. Commissioner of Indiana State Dept. Health, 699 F.3d 962, 972 (7th Cir. 2012). As to the first hurdle, the Court must determine whether “plaintiff has any likelihood of success - in other words, a greater than negligible chance of winning.” AM General Corp. v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 311 F.3d 796, 804 (7th Cir. 2002). If Plaintiff meets his burden, the Court must then weigh “the balance of harm to the parties if the injunction is granted or denied and also evaluate the effect of an injunction on the public interest.” Id. In addition, the Prison Litigation Reform Act provides that a preliminary injunction must be “narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm . . ., ” and “be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm.” 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2). Finally, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d)(2), a preliminary injunction would bind only the parties, their officers or agents, or persons in active concert with the parties or their agents.

         Conclusions of Law

         The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that a TRO and/or preliminary injunction is warranted in this case. Notably, there is no apparent relationship between the facts and allegations contained in Plaintiff's motion and those in the Complaint. Indeed, the only defendant in this case is Correctional Officer Weber, who is not mentioned in Plaintiff's motion. As the main purpose of a preliminary injunction is “to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held, ” University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981), it is not clear how the relief Plaintiff seeks would accomplish such purpose.

         Further, in order to demonstrate entitlement to preliminary relief, Plaintiff would need to establish that irreparable harm will result if injunctive relief does not issue. Because he does not allege in ways specific to this case that his lack of access to the law library or legal materials has prevented him from pursuing his claims against Weber, he has failed to meet his burden. To the contrary, his ability to file his request for injunctive relief, as well as his ability to maintain seven pending cases in this District tends to suggest that his lack of access to materials is not impeding his access to the courts at this juncture. The Court also notes that Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at Lawrence. Therefore, an injunction directed at employees of Lawrence would be ineffective to accomplish Plaintiff's goals.


         For the foregoing reasons, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. 16) be DENIED, and that the Court adopt ...

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