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White v. Uhler

United States District Court, N.D. New York

March 8, 2017

JOHN H. WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD UHLER, et al., Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          LAWRENCE E. KAHN U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se plaintiff John H. White commenced this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 1 (“Complaint”). Presently before the Court are Plaintiff's third motion for preliminary injunctive relief and Plaintiff's motion for contempt. Dkt. Nos. 173, 174, 175, 181. Defendants oppose the motions. Dkt. No. 182 (“Response”).

         II. BACKGROUND

         In November 2014, Plaintiff commenced this action seeking relief for an alleged violation of his constitutional rights during his confinement at Upstate Correctional Facility (“Upstate C.F.”). Compl. at 3. Plaintiff's allegations involve incidents that occurred at Upstate C.F. from June 12, 2013 through November 4, 2014. Id. In January 2015, Plaintiff filed a motion for injunctive relief seeking an order directing defendants to “stop ongoing harms related to double cell housing” and for an order protecting him from physical injury and attacks by guards and inmates. Dkt. Nos. 6, 7, 8, 9. In a Decision and Order filed in April 2015, after review of the Complaint in accordance with 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, the Court found that Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims and supervisory claims against nineteen defendants survived review and required a response. Dkt. No. 14 (“April Order”) at 45. In the April Order, the Court also denied Plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief. Id. at 41.

         In February 2016, Plaintiff was transferred to Southport Correctional Facility (“Southport C.F.”). Dkt. No. 86. In March 2016, Plaintiff filed a second motion for injunctive relief, this time related to incidents that occurred at Southport C.F. Dkt. Nos. 95, 107. Plaintiff claimed that various individuals, who are not parties to this action, refused to allow Plaintiff to send copies of his documents to the Court and to defense counsel, prevented him from mailing exhibits to defense counsel, and failed to process his legal mail. Dkt. No. 95 at 1-2. Plaintiff also claimed that he was not provided with equipment, adequate nutrition, or physical therapy. Id. And Plaintiff asserted that he was deprived of his freedom of speech and confined to a “feces infested” and “hostile” environment. Dkt. No. 107 at 2.

         On June 5, 2016, the Court issued a Decision and Order denying Plaintiff's motion, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief against nonparties was improper. Dkt. No. 119 (“June Order”) at 3. The Court also concluded that Plaintiff failed to substantiate any allegations of irreparable harm with evidence in admissible form or to demonstrate, with evidence, a likelihood of success on the merits of his underlying claims, or sufficiently serious questions going to the merits and a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in his favor. Id. at 4. The Court reasoned that Plaintiff sought relief for incidents that were unrelated to his underlying causes of action. Id. at 5.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Preliminary Injunction

         The law of preliminary injunctions was discussed in the June Order and will not be restated herein. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff is presently confined at Southport C.F. Dkt. No. 86. In his third motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiff claims that staff at Southport C.F. are not providing sufficient legal supplies, including pens. Dkt. No. 181 at 1, 3, 7. Plaintiff claims that it is difficult for him to provide the Court and opposing counsel with copies of his submissions. Id. at 1, 5. Plaintiff seeks an order directing the staff at Southport C.F. to provide Plaintiff with legal supplies and access to a photocopy machine. Id. at 1. Plaintiff wants a mandatory injunction, so the Court will use the “clear and substantial” showing of a likelihood of success standard.

         Defendants oppose the motion arguing that (1) Plaintiff's motion is frivolous, (2) Plaintiff fails to explain what he has been prevented from copying or mailing or how that has impaired his ability to prosecute any lawsuit, and (3) Plaintiff is capable of filing multiple documents in his various cases. Resp. at 4-5.

         Currently, Plaintiff has multiple additional actions pending in the Northern District of New York in which he has requested the same relief. In November 2016, Plaintiff filed a similar motion for injunctive relief in White v. Tatro, No. 15-CV-1489, 2016 WL 7735757 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 28, 2016). In a Report-Recommendation filed on November 28, 2016, Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter denied Plaintiff's request because he sought “speculative relief against individuals who are not defendants in this action.”[1] Id. at *8.

         In White v. Allen, No. 14-CV-1105 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 10, 2016), Plaintiff filed a motion for injunctive relief raising the same arguments set forth here with the same documentary evidence annexed to the motion papers. In a Decision and Order filed in January 2017, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion because he sought relief against employees of Southport C.F. who were not parties to the action. Id. at 4.

         Here, the Court, consistent with the orders in Plaintiff's other actions, denies Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief because the staff at Southport C.F. are not defendants in this action. See In re Rationis Enter., Inc. of Pan., 261 F.3d 264, 270 (2d Cir. 2001) (“A court may not grant a final, or even an interlocutory, injunction over a party over whom it does not have personal jurisdiction.”); Doctor's Assocs., Inc. v. Reinert & ...


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