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Applewhite v. McGinnis

March 31, 2007

CHRIS APPLEWHITE 99-A-6852 , PLAINTIFF
v.
MICHAEL MCGINNIS, ET AL ., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles J. Siragusa United States District Judge

DECISION AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

This is an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in which the plaintiff, a prison inmate at Southport Correctional Facility ("Southport"), has alleged that Michael McGinnis ("McGinnis"), the former superintendent of Southport, John Morton ("Morton"), a Corrections Sergeant at Southport, Randy Banks ("Banks") a Corrections Officer at Southport, and Douglas W estervelt ("W estervelt"), also a Corrections Officer at Southport, violated his constitutional rights. Specifically, he alleges that Morton, Banks, and W estervelt physically assaulted him, and that McGinnis failed to prevent the attack. On February 21, 2007, some two years after commencing this action, plaintiff filed the subject application [#39] for a temporary restraining order, alleging that certain corrections staff, who are not parties to this lawsuit, are harassing him in retaliation for him bringing this lawsuit. For the reasons discussed below, the application is denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges in his application for injunctive relief that on February 6, 2007, Corrections Officers Ayers verbally harassed him for complaining to this Court in January 2007 about alleged mistreatment at Southport, and then tore a piece of his legal mail in half. He also alleges that on February 10, 2007, Corrections Sergeant McKeon yelled at him, again for complaining to this Court about conditions at Southport in January 2007. Additionally, plaintiff alleges that on February 11, 2007, Corrections Officer Cece tried to provoke a confrontation by standing too close to him, and then verbally harassed him. Plaintiff requests that this Court issue a temporary restraining order, directing officials at Southport to ensure that Ayers, McKeon, and Cece are not allowed to work near him or to have access to his property.

Upon receiving plaintiff's application, the Court scheduled a video conference, which was held on March 8, 2007. At the video conference, plaintiff expanded upon his allegations, claiming that there was actually a facility-wide conspiracy against him at Southport, as there was against all inmates who complained or filed lawsuits. In that regard, plaintiff explained that it would not help to simply order Ayers, McKeon, and Cece to leave him alone, because they are merely part of the larger conspiracy of persons at Southport who are intent on harassing him. Instead, plaintiff asked the Court to order all corrections staff at Southport to obey the law and leave him alone.

Defendants oppose plaintiff's application, arguing, inter alia, that injunctive relief would be inappropriate since Ayers, McKeon, and Cece are not parties to this action, the alleged harassment is not related to this lawsuit, and plaintiff has not met the standard for granting injunctive relief in any event.

ANALYSIS

The standard for considering an application for a preliminary injunction is well settled:

In most cases, a party seeking to obtain a preliminary injunction must establish that it will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and demonstrate either (1) a likelihood of success on the merits or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of the hardships tipping decidedly in the movant's favor.

Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468, 473 (2d Cir. 1996) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

Plaintiff is suing pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the legal principles applicable to such claims are well settled:

In order to establish individual liability under § 1983, a plaintiff must show (a) that the defendant is a "person" acting "under the color of state law," and (b) that the defendant caused the plaintiff to be deprived of a federal right. See, e.g., Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d 492 (1961). Additionally, "[i]n this Circuit personal involvement of defendants in alleged constitutional deprivations is a ...


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