United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Matthias Scott, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) currently incarcerated at
Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), commenced
this action by filing a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging Defendants violated his rights under
the Eighth Amendment by subjecting him to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement and failing to protect him from his
cellmate who violently attacked him (Doc. 1). Along with his
Complaint, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining
Order and Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 2), claiming his
safety was still threatened and asking the Court to transfer
him from Menard to another facility.
Merit Review Order issued pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A,
the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order, but directed Defendants to respond to his
request for a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 9, p. 9).
Defendants filed a response (Doc. 18) and Plaintiff filed a
Motion for Rebuttal to Defendants' Response (Doc. 20) and
a Motion to Supplement his Response (Doc. 24), which the
Court GRANTS. Plaintiff's Motion for
Preliminary Injunction is now before the Court. For the
following reasons, the Motion is DENIED without
Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction, Plaintiff
alleges that that he was attacked by his cellmate in March
2019 after notifying prison officials for months that his
cellmate was threatening his safety. Although he is no longer
housed in the same cell or on the same gallery as his former
cellmate, Plaintiff claims that Defendants are still failing
to protect him by allowing his previous cellmate to be housed
in the same building as him, putting his life in jeopardy; he
fears for his safety since he could cross paths with his
attacker at any time. (Doc. 2, pp. 1, 4).
maintain Plaintiff has not established that he will suffer
irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 18,
p. 4). They point out that while Plaintiff alleges his former
cellmate is an inmate to keep separate from Plaintiff
(“KSF”), pursuant to Menard Placement Policy, the
two inmates have been appropriately placed. Id. at
p. 5; see also (Doc. 18-3, p. 2). They assert that
because Plaintiff and his former cellmate are housed in
separate galleries, there is no potential for them to
interact during line movement for meals or various
programming. Id. Defendants also dispute
Plaintiff's allegations that he filed numerous grievances
regarding his safety concerns prior to the attack. According
to Defendants, Plaintiff's grievance history does not
indicate the filing of any grievances related to safety
concerns. They also note that Plaintiff does not allege he
ever requested protective custody or that such a request was
denied. Id. at p. 6.
Motion for Rebuttal to Defendants' Response, Plaintiff
reiterates his contention that there are occasions when he
and his former cellmate could interact. (Doc. 20, p. 2). He
claims there is one holding area for the cell house and that
the whole cell house is placed into this holding area
regardless of an inmate's designated gallery.
Id. As such, they could be placed in the same
holding area prior to going to the library or health care
unit, or cross paths while waiting to see a health care
professional in the cell house's one medical area.
Id. at pp. 2, 3. In the Supplement to his Response,
Plaintiff asserts that a similar situation has happened to
another inmate at Menard and attaches the grievance of that
inmate. This inmate claims that his request for a cell change
has been denied despite reporting that feels his safety is
threatened by his cellmate (Doc. 24). Plaintiff claims that
this demonstrates a continual disregard on the part of Menard
officials to ensure the safety of the inmates, including
himself. Id. at p. 3.
preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary and drastic
remedy” for which there must be a “clear
showing” that a 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). To obtain injunctive relief through a
preliminary injunction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
65(a), Plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) his underlying
case has some likelihood of success on the merits; (2) no
adequate remedy at law exists; and (3) he will suffer
irreparable harm without the relief. Merritte v.
Kessel, 561 Fed.Appx. 546, 548 (7th Cir. 2014)
(citing Woods v. Buss, 496 F.3d 620, 622 (7th Cir.
2007)). Relatedly, the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) requires that any grant of prospective
relief “shall extend no further than necessary to
correct the violation of the Federal right of a particular
plaintiff or plaintiffs” and cannot issue “unless
the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends
no further than necessary to correct the violation of the
Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to
correct the violation of the Federal right.” 18 U.S.C.
fears of being attacked again is a serious concern, but there
is no indication that he has seen his former cellmate, has
had actual contact with him, or has received any threats from
him since returning to his cell following the attack.
According to Defendants, the two inmates are currently
separated pursuant to Menard Placement Policy and at
Plaintiff's request, and because they are in different
galleries, Plaintiff and his former cellmate would not cross
paths when moving to different locations in the facility.
Although Plaintiff refutes this, he does not point to any
specific imminent threats - he provides only hypothetical
scenarios. (Doc. 2, p. 4; Doc. 20, p. 9). “A
speculative fear of injury is not a ground for an injunction,
” Wright v. Miller, 561 Fed.Appx. 551, 554
(7th Cir. 2014). Therefore, Plaintiff has not established
that he faces a specific threat of immediate and irreparable
injury or loss warranting preliminary injunctive relief, and
his Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 2) is
DENIED without prejudice.