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Scarbrough v. Evans

April 20, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norman A. Mordue, Chief U.S. District Judge


I. Introduction

Plaintiff Lester Lee Scarbrough, Jr. commenced this action by filing a pro se civil rights complaint setting forth numerous claims arising out of his confinement at Upstate Correctional Facility. Dkt. No. 1. After an initial review conducted in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, by Decision and Order filed on August 24, 2009 this Court dismissed, sua sponte, several of plaintiff's claims and defendants. Dkt. No. 6. Remaining are plaintiff's claims against defendants Evans, Smith, Lapage, and Bellnier that plaintiff was denied mental health treatment in deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and subjected to improper conditions of confinement in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Dkt. No. 1.

Currently before the Court is plaintiff's second motion for injunctive relief.*fn1 Dkt. No. 30; see also Dkt. Nos. 31, 34. Defendants oppose plaintiff's motion. Dkt. No. 33.

II. Discussion

A preliminary injunction is an "extraordinary remedy that should not be granted as a routine matter." Patton v. Dole, 806 F.2d 24, 28 (2d Cir. 1986). In most cases, to warrant the issuance of a preliminary injunction, a movant must show (a) irreparable harm and (b) either (1) a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim or (2) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits, and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in favor of the moving party. See D.D. ex rel. V.D. v. New York City Bd. of Educ., 465 F.3d 503, 510 (2d Cir. 2006) (quotation omitted). "The purpose of issuing a preliminary injunction is to 'preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until the court has an opportunity to rule on the ... merits.'" Candelaria v. Baker, No. 00-CV-0912E, 2006 WL 618576, at *3 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 10, 2006) (quoting Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir.1994) (per curiam)).

In some circumstances, an even higher standard applies. The moving party must make a "clear" or "substantial" showing of a likelihood of success where (1) the injunction sought "will alter, rather than maintain, the status quo"- i.e., is properly characterized as a "mandatory" rather than "prohibitory" injunction; or (2) the injunction sought "will provide the movant with substantially all the relief sought, and that relief cannot be undone even if the defendant prevails at a trial on the merits."

Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468, 473 (2d Cir. 1996) (citing Tom Doherty Assocs., Inc. v. Saban Entertainment, Inc., 60 F.3d 27, 33-34 (2d Cir. 1995)). The same standards govern consideration of an application for a temporary restraining order. Perri v. Bloomberg, No. 06-CV-403, 2008 WL 2944642, at * 2 (E.D.N.Y. Jul. 31, 2008) (citing Therrien v. Martin, No. 3:07-cv-1285 (JCH), 2007 WL 3102181, at *5 (D.Conn. Oct. 19, 2007)).

"The Second Circuit has defined 'irreparable harm' as 'certain and imminent harm for which a monetary award does not adequately compensate,' noting that 'only harm shown to be non-compensable in terms of money damages provides the basis for awarding injunctive relief.'" Perri, 2008 WL 2944642, at * 2 (citing Wisdom Import Sales Co., L.L.C. v. Labatt Brewing Co., Ltd., 339 F.3d 101, 113-14 (2d Cir. 2003)); see also Kamerling v. Massanari, 295 F.3d 206, 214 (2d Cir. 2002) ("To establish irreparable harm, a party seeking preliminary injunctive relief must show that there is a continuing harm which cannot be adequately redressed by final relief on the merits and for which money damages cannot provide adequate compensation." (internal quotation omitted)). Speculative, remote or future injury is not the province of injunctive relief. Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111-12 (1983); see also Hooks v. Howard, No. 9:07-CV-0724, 2008 WL 2705371, at *2 (N.D.N.Y. Jul. 3, 2008)(citation omitted) ("Irreparable harm must be shown to be imminent, not remote or speculative, and the injury must be such that it cannot be fully remedied by monetary damages.").

A. Unrelated Claims Against Non-Parties

Plaintiff alleges that Department of Correctional Services ("DOCS") employees Nurse Travers, Sgt. Thompson, Captain Quinn, Lieutenant Ranieri, correctional officer Gettmann, and Mr. Nocera were all involved in conduct that has put plaintiff in fear for his life at Upstate. Dkt. No. 30 at 3-7. Specifically, plaintiff claims that these persons were involved in either assaulting plaintiff on December 31, 2009, without justification, or denying plaintiff medical care or due process following the alleged assault. Id.

"To prevail on a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, the moving party must establish a relationship between the injury claimed in the motion and the conduct giving rise to the complaint." McKinnon v. Tresman, 2004 WL 78091, at *1 (2004 D. Conn.) (citing Devose, at 471 (denying the inmate plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction when the inmate's complaint alleged denial of adequate medical treatment and his motion for preliminary injunction sought relief for alleged retaliation based on filing the instant lawsuit)); see also Omega World Travel, Inc. v. Trans World Airlines, 111 F.3d 14, 16 (4th Cir.1997) ( "[A] preliminary injunction may never issue to prevent an injury or harm which not even the moving party contends was caused by the wrong claimed in the underlying action." ).

Candelaria, 2006 WL 618576, at *3.

Plaintiff's claim that he fears for his life at Upstate because he was assaulted and thereafter denied medical care and due process by DOCS employees - none of whom are parties to this action -does not relate to the claims in his complaint that defendants Evans, Smith, Lapage, and Bellnier denied plaintiff mental ...

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