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Merritt v. Minor

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 17, 2018

C/O MINOR, SGT QUALLS, and LT. PAYNE, Defendants.



         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel 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 on the “Motion for Injunctive Relieve/Restraining Order/Motion for Appointment of Counsel/Motion for Extension of Time” filed by Plaintiff on February 8, 2018 (Doc. 67) and the “Motion Continuance T.R.O.” filed by Plaintiff on April 2, 2018 (Doc. 77). For the reasons set forth below, it is RECOMMENDED that the motions be DENIED and that the Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         Findings of Fact

         This matter is proceeding on two claims related to Plaintiff's incarceration at the Menard Correctional Center in 2015:

Count 2: First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants Minor and Qualls for targeting Plaintiff for cell shakedowns and destroying his documents and property on January 30, 2015 because of Plaintiff's grievance and litigation activity.
Count 3: Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against defendant Minor for punching and slamming Plaintiff's body, and against Defendant Payne for directing Defendant Minor to escort Plaintiff to segregation.

(Doc. 6). Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment on April 23, 2018 (Doc. 79). Plaintiff's response to that motion is currently due on June 22, 2018 (Doc. 82).

         On January 23, 2018, this Court denied Plaintiff's (second) request for counsel and extended the discovery deadline to February 28, 2018 so that Plaintiff could respond to outstanding discovery. In order to address Plaintiff's concerns about law library access, this Court suggested that Menard CC permit Plaintiff 2 hours of access to the law library until February 16, 2018 so that Plaintiff could have sufficient time to respond to the discovery requests and file a motion to compel (if appropriate) (Doc. 65). This Court also suggested that Menard CC permit Plaintiff access to his excess legal storage. In response to the Order, Defendants represented to the Court that Menard CC permitted inmates 1.5 hours of law library time and that allowing Plaintiff an additional 30 minutes would “infringe on the entire facility's movement schedule and would create a safety and security concern” (Doc. 66). In addition, because of a flu quarantine, the inmates in Plaintiff's cell block were unable to go to the law library and were instead (apparently) permitted access to legal materials through “staff members [who] tour the cell house once a week.” Plaintiff responded to the outstanding discovery requests on February 20, 2018 (Doc. 69).

         Plaintiff states that he only was allowed an hour and 15 minutes of law library time and that the law librarian subsequently “took him off list” in retaliation for not reading his deposition fast enough.[1] He claims that, again as retaliation, he was scheduled to access his excess legal storage boxes at the same time as other inmates (so that he had limited time) and at the same time that he should have gone to yard. He also states that he did not have sufficient time to review his deposition, that three motions he attempted to file were not (for fabricated technical problems with the documents), that due to lockdowns he was not allowed access to the law library, that the officers who came onto the galleries could not help him with the legal material he needed, that he has medical issues that cause pain to his eye (he has one prosthetic eye), that the Court is failing to address his concerns about retaliation, that he cannot meet Court deadlines, and that he objects to the undersigned ruling on his motions. He seeks time to review his deposition, file motions to compel, appointment of counsel, and an “extension of time.”

         In his second motion, Plaintiff states that he was in an altercation on March 28, 2018 where he was “choked out and poked in eye, coughing up blood, has one prosthetic eye MACED!” (emphasis in original). He claims that he was denied medical care as retaliation for not cooperating with officials, that officers assaulted him, and that his “eye is bloodshot, blurry, pain, refusing treatment at Menard.” Plaintiff does not request any particular relief in this motion.

         Missing from Plaintiff's motions is any connection to the claims in this case or the Defendants herein: Miner, Qualls, and Payne. Plaintiff has not indicated that he has missed any deadlines (except that he did not have time to review his entire deposition), does not elaborate on the substance of the motions that he was not permitted to file, and otherwise does not indicate what specific prejudice he has suffered in this matter. While the Court is sympathetic to Plaintiff's plight, much of his claims are simply unrelated to this lawsuit and can be addressed without the necessity of injunctive relief.

         Conclusions of Law

         As set forth in this Court's previous report and recommendation (Doc. 28), a request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction are analyzed under the same standard. Because Defendants have had notice of the Motion, the Court construes the motions as seeking a preliminary injunction. 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 ...

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