United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Darrell J. Mickell, Plaintiff,
Bryan Stirling, C. Reynolds, Mr. Davis, Mr. Sharpe, Mr. Graham, Mr. Nolan, Mr. Williams, Ms. Shaw, and Ms. Smith, Defendants.
Harwell, United States District Judge
Darrell J. Mickell, a state prisoner proceeding pro se,
commenced this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the above-named Defendants
alleging violations of his constitutional rights.
See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion
seeking preliminary injunctive relief. See ECF No.
27. The matter is now before the Court for review of the
Report and Recommendation (R & R) of United States
Magistrate Judge Kevin F. McDonald, who recommends denying
Plaintiff’s motion for injunctive relief. See R
& R, ECF No. 35. Plaintiff has filed objections to the R
& R. See Pl.’s Objs., ECF No. 37.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to the Court.
The Magistrate Judge’s recommendation has no
presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final
determination remains with the Court. Mathews v.
Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court must
conduct a de novo review of those portions of the R & R
to which specific objections are made, and it may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of
the Magistrate Judge or recommit the matter with
instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Court must engage in a de novo review of every portion of the
Magistrate Judge’s report to which objections have been
filed. Id. However, the Court need not conduct a de
novo review when a party makes only “general and
conclusory objections that do not direct the [C]ourt to a
specific error in the [M]agistrate [Judge]’s proposed
findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of specific objections to the R & R, the Court reviews
only for clear error, Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc.
Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005), and the
Court need not give any explanation for adopting the
Magistrate Judge’s recommendation. Camby v.
Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199-200 (4th Cir. 1983).
complaint, motion for preliminary injunctive relief, and
objections to the R & R, Plaintiff alleges he is confined
in the Restricted Housing Unit at Lee Correctional
Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina, has been forced
to live in a cell with no lighting or table, has been forced
to eat cold meals, has been forced to go without showering
for long periods of time, and has no means of securing his
personal property in his cell. See ECF Nos. 1, 27,
& 37. Plaintiff seeks an order requiring prison officials
to remedy these allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. See ECF No. 27-2. The Magistrate
Judge recommends denying injunctive relief because Plaintiff
has failed to make a clear showing that he is likely to
succeed on the merits of his claims or that he is likely to
be irreparably harmed absent injunctive relief. R & R at
4. Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge’s findings
and recommendation. Pl.’s Objs. at 1-2.
Rule of Civil Procedure 65 establishes the procedure for
issuing preliminary injunctions. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
65. Because of the extraordinary nature of injunctive relief,
the Supreme Court has admonished that preliminary injunctions
“may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the
plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter v.
Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008).
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish all
four of the following elements: (1) that the plaintiff is
likely to succeed on the merits, (2) that the plaintiff is
likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief, (3) that the balance of equities tips in
the plaintiff’s favor, and (4) that an injunction is in
the public interest. League of Women Voters of N.
Carolina v. N. Carolina, 769 F.3d 224, 236 (4th Cir.
2014) (citing Winter, 555 U.S. at 20). A plaintiff
must make a clear showing that he is likely to
succeed on the merits of its claim. Winter, 555 U.S.
at 20-22. Likewise, a plaintiff must make a clear
showing that he is likely to be irreparably harmed absent
injunctive relief. Id. Only then may the court
consider whether the balance of equities tips in the
plaintiff’s favor. Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v.
Fed. Election Comm’n, 575 F.3d 342, 346-47 (4th
Cir. 2009), vacated on other grounds, 559 U.S. 1089
(2010), reissued in part, 607 F.3d 355 (4th Cir.
2010), overruling Blackwelder Furniture Co. of
Statesville v. Seilig Mfg. Co., 550 F.2d 189 (4th Cir.
1977). Finally, the court must pay particular regard to the
public consequences of employing the extraordinary relief of
injunction. Id. at 347.
Prison Litigation Reform Act grants federal courts the
authority to order preliminary injunctive relief in civil
actions concerning prison conditions. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 3626(a)(2). However, “[p]reliminary injunctive
relief 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 that harm.” Id.
“The [C]ourt shall give substantial weight to any
adverse impact on public safety or the operation of a
criminal justice system caused by the preliminary relief and
shall respect the principles of comity [with state and local
law] in tailoring any preliminary relief.” Id.
preliminary injunctions are prohibitory in nature and
designed “to protect the status quo and to prevent
irreparable harm during the pendency of a lawsuit ultimately
to preserve the court’s ability to render a meaningful
judgment on the merits.” In re Microsoft Corp.
Antitrust Litig., 333 F.3d 517, 525 (4th Cir. 2003);
see Pashby v. Delia, 709 F.3d 307, 319 (4th Cir.
2013). In contrast, a mandatory preliminary injunction-which
Plaintiff seeks in this case-compels immediate action, does
not preserve the status quo, and should only be granted in
“circumstances when the exigencies of the situation
demand such relief.” Wetzel v. Edwards, 635
F.2d 283, 286 (4th Cir. 1980) (prison conditions case).
“The authority of the district court judge to issue a
preliminary injunction, especially a mandatory one[, ] should
be sparingly exercised.” Id.
Court finds Plaintiff is not entitled to mandatory
preliminary injunctive relief compelling prison officials to
immediately alter the status quo of Plaintiff’s living
conditions at Lee Correctional Institution. After reviewing
the record in this case, the Court agrees with the Magistrate
Judge that Plaintiff has not made a clear showing that he is
likely to succeed on the merits or suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief. In so finding, the Court
adheres to the well-established principle “that absent
the most extraordinary circumstances, federal courts are not
to immerse themselves in the management of state prisons or
substitute their judgment for that of the trained penological
authorities charged with the administration of such
facilities.” Taylor v. Freeman, 34 F.3d 266,
268 (4th Cir. 1994). This case does not present such an
extraordinary circumstance warranting immediate injunctive
relief. Because Plaintiff has failed to establish the
threshold elements necessary to demonstrate the need for a
preliminary injunction, the Court must deny preliminary
Court has reviewed the entire record, including the
Magistrate Judge’s R & R and Plaintiff’s
objections, and applied the relevant law. The Court has
conducted a de novo review of the R & R and finds no
merit in Plaintiff’s objections. For the reasons stated
in this Order and in the Magistrate Judge’s R & R,
the Court overrules Plaintiff’s ...