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Thompson v. Mike

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

May 9, 2018

THAD THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NURSE MIKE, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR EMERGENCY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

          Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Thompson is an inmate at Halawa Correctional Facility (“HCF”). His “Motion for an Emergency Immediate Telephonic Status Conference to Discuss Plaintiff's Safety Options” requests “Temporary Restraining Orders for a few separatees and an Order . . . to have [HCF's] [Warden] transfer Plaintiff to the federal facility to ensure reasonable safety pursuant to statute 18 U.S.C. § 5003(a).” Dkt. No. 41 at 2. Thompson seeks this relief based upon “previous and the highly likely future occurrences of ‘Retaliation, '” which he contends are “the allegations per this action itself regarding Defendant Nurse Mike.” Id. at 1. Because he is not entitled to the relief he seeks, Thompson's Motion is denied.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         Thompson's Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) alleges that Nurse Mike violated his rights under the First Amendment by serving him a “finger food” diet in the HCF High Security Unit (“HSU”) when Thompson had requested a “chopped food” diet.[2] The SAC alleges that Nurse Mike ordered finger food rather than a chopped diet several days after Thompson told him he had filed grievances and civil litigation against others and that Nurse Mike “snidely” told him to file a grievance when Thompson requested a dietary change. SAC, Dkt. No. 18. Thompson's current Motion seeks emergency injunctive relief, including a transfer to the Federal Detention Center (“FDC”), based upon new retaliation by non-parties, unrelated to this litigation.[3]

         I. Legal Standard

         To obtain preliminary injunctive relief, a plaintiff “must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). Generally, as long as the other parts of the Winter test are met, a preliminary injunction may issue where the plaintiff demonstrates the existence of “serious questions going to the merits . . . and the balance of hardships tips sharply in the plaintiff's favor.” Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1135 (9th Cir. 2011) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         A mandatory injunction, however, requiring the defendant to take affirmative action-such as ordering Thompson transferred to another facility-is “particularly disfavored.” Marlyn Nutraceuticals, Inc. v. Mucos Pharma GmbH & Co., 571 F.3d 873, 879 (9th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). A mandatory injunction is “not granted unless extreme or very serious damage will result and [is] not issued in doubtful cases or where the injury complained of is capable of compensation in damages.” Id. (quoting Anderson v. United States, 612 F.2d 1112, 1115 (9th Cir. 1980); Park Vill. Apartment Tenants Ass'n v. Mortimer Howard Tr., 636 F.3d 1150, 1160 (9th Cir. 2011)). That is, a court “should deny such relief ‘unless the facts and law clearly favor the moving party.'” Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733, 740 (9th Cir. 2015) (quoting Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 13 F.3d 1313, 1320 (9th Cir. 1994)).

         Further, a preliminary injunction may not be issued absent a “relationship between the injury claimed in the motion for injunctive relief and the conduct asserted in the underlying complaint.” Pac. Radiation Oncology, LLC v. Queen's Med. Ctr., 810 F.3d 631, 636 (9th Cir. 2015). Such a relationship is “sufficiently strong where the preliminary injunction would grant ‘relief of the same character as that which may be granted finally.'” Id. (quoting De Beers Consol. Mines v. United States, 325 U.S. 212, 220 (1945)). “Absent that relationship or nexus, the district court lacks authority to grant the relief requested.” Id.

         Finally, in cases involving prison conditions, a preliminary injunction “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 the harm.” 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2).

         II. Thompson Is Not Entitled to Injunctive Relief

         Whether styled as a request for a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) or emergency injunctive relief, Thompson has not met the requirements for the requested orders, including a “protective transfer to the federal facility.” Even if Thompson were to ultimately prevail on the underlying claim against Nurse Mike, he would still not be entitled to restraining orders against persons that are not parties, nor would he be entitled to a transfer to FDC.

         First, under settled law, a prisoner has no constitutional right to be housed in a particular prison facility. Montayne v. Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242-43 (1978); see also Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224 (1976) (holding that due process protections are not required for discretionary transfers to a less agreeable prison); Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983); Rizzo v. Dawson, 778 F.2d 527, 530 (9th Cir. 1985) (recognizing that prison officials “may change [a prisoner's] place of confinement even though the degree of confinement may be different and prison life may be more disagreeable in one institution than in another” without violating a prisoner's due process rights).

         Moreover, even if Thompson succeeded on the merits of his case against Nurse Mike, he has no legal right to be transferred to FDC, or any other prison facility, and granting such relief would alter the status quo. Because neither the FDC (a federal facility) nor its administrators are parties to this action, the Court is without authority to issue an injunction that would compel the FDC to accept Thompson. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d)(2) (providing that an injunction binds only the parties, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and other persons actively in concert or participation with them); see also Zepeda v. United States Immigration & Naturalization Serv., 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir. 1985) (recognizing that a court may issue an injunction only “if it has personal jurisdiction over the parties”); Walker v. Varela, 2013 WL 816177, at *2 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 1, 2013) (denying injunctive relief for lack of jurisdiction where only individual prison officials were parties and plaintiff sought an order compelling the state department ...


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