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Jones v. McCall

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

August 5, 2014

Donnie Joe Jones, a/k/a Donnie Jones, Plaintiff,
v.
David M. McCall, John B. Pate, John Tomarchio, Carol E. Mitchell-Hamilton, Virginia A. Dean, Robert M. Stephenson, III, Leroy Cartledge, Joseph Alewine, Edward Stahl, Franklin Richardson, Jr. and John B. Mcree, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

BRISTOW MARCHANT, Magistrate Judge.

This action has been filed by the Plaintiff, pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiff, an inmate with the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), alleges that he is not receiving proper medical care for a back condition.

In conjunction with the filing of his Complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking an order from this Court requiring the Defendants to provide him with "adequate medical care" so that his "degenerative disc disease" will not continue to get worse. Plaintiff asks for "adequate pain medication and treatment". See generally, Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief, with attached "declaration". The Defendants have not as yet made an appearance in this case, and therefore the issuance of a preliminary injunction would not be proper at this time. See Rule 65(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. [noting that the court may issue a preliminary injunction only on notice to the adverse party]. However, even if Plaintiff was seeking a temporary restraining order, Plaintiff would still not be entitled to relief, as he has failed to meet the requirements for the issuance of such an order. See Rule 65(b), Fed.R.Civ.P.

With respect to any claim for injunctive relief, such relief is an extraordinary remedy which will not be granted unless there is a clear showing of entitlement to relief. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Federal Election Commission , 575 F.3d 342, 346-347 (4th Cir. 2009), cert. granted, judgment vacated on other grounds by, Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. Federal Election Com'n , 130 S.Ct. 2371 (2010); see Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Counsel, Inc. , 555 U.S. 7, 19-20 (2008); Stuhlbarg Int'l Sales Co., Inc., v. John D. Brush & Co., Inc. , 240 F.3d 832, 839 n. 7 (9th Cir. 2001)). In order to obtain such relief, a Plaintiff must establish: 1) the likelihood that the Plaintiff will succeed on the merits; 2) the likelihood of irreparable harm to the Plaintiff if the injunction is not granted; 3) that the balance of equities tips in his favor; and 4) the injunction is in the public interest. Winter , 555 U.S. at 20. All four requirements must be satisfied. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. , 575 F.3d at 346. Further, to obtain relief Plaintiff must demonstrate more than the "possibility" of irreparable harm, because the Supreme Court has held that that standard is "inconsistent with our characterization of injunctive relief as an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the Plaintiff is entitled to such relief". The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. , 575 F.3d at 346, (citing Winter , 555 U.S. at 19-22).

Here, Plaintiff has failed to show entitlement to injunctive relief through his motion filed with this Court. Plaintiff will be able to fully litigate and have resolved in his underlying action his claim that he is not receiving adequate medical care; however, Plaintiff's general and conclusory assertion in his motion that he is not receiving adequate medical care does not in and of itself establish a likelihood that he will succeed on the merits of his claim, or a likelihood of irreparable harm to him if an injunction is not granted. The Real Truth About Obama, Inc. , 575 F.3d at 346-347. Additionally, it is not clear what form injunctive relief in this matter would even take, as the Court cannot issue an order providing simply that Plaintiff be provided with "adequate" medical care - a level of care that the Defendants no doubt will assert he is already receiving. Hence, such a general mandate would not serve to provide Plaintiff any more relief. Cf. Taylor v. Freeman , 34 F.3d 266, 269-270 (4th Cir. 1994)[Preliminary injunctive relief involving the management of prisons should be granted only under exceptional and compelling circumstances]; Joe v. Ozmint, No. 08-585 , 2008 WL 5076858, * 3-4 (D.S.C. 2008).

If the evidence presented to this Court through the prosecution of this action establishes that Plaintiff is entitled to relief, then an appropriate order and judgment can be entered at that time. However, as Plaintiff has failed to meet the standard for issuance of either a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order, it is recommended[1] that his motion be denied. Nicholas v. Ozmint, No. 05-3472 , 2006 WL 2711852, * 5 (D.S.C. Sept. 20, 2006); see Winter , 555 U.S. at 20 ["In exercising their sound discretion, courts of equity should pay particular regard for the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of injunction"].


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