United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Michael E. Wolfe, Plaintiff,
Nfn. Rynolds, et al., Defendants.
Bryan Harwell United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court for consideration of
Plaintiff's objections to the Report and Recommendation
(“R & R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Thomas E. Rogers, III, who recommends denying Plaintiff's
motion for a preliminary injunction. See ECF No. 102.
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); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b).
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).
a state prisoner proceeding pro se, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous prison
officials asserting various constitutional claims. He has
filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, see ECF
No. 79, and the Magistrate Judge has entered an R & R
recommending denying the motion. See ECF No. 102.
Plaintiff has filed objections to the R & R, as well as a
renewed motion for a preliminary injunction. See ECF
Nos. 125, 146, & 163. Defendants have filed a response to
Plaintiff's objections. See ECF No. 139.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy intended to
protect the status quo and prevent irreparable harm during
the pendency of a lawsuit, ” Di Biase v. SPX
Corp., 872 F.3d 224, 230 (4th Cir. 2017), and one
“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, 20 (2008);
see generally Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a). “A
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest.”
Winter, 555 U.S. at 20. A court need not address all
four Winter factors if one is not satisfied.
Henderson for Nat'l Labor Relations Bd. v. Bluefield
Hosp. Co., LLC, 902 F.3d 432, 439 (4th Cir. 2018).
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.
Magistrate Judge explains, Plaintiff is incarcerated at Perry
Correctional Institution and alleges officials at the South
Carolina Department of Corrections are administering a
“communications program” via a “black
circular filmy substance” in the food given him.
See ECF Nos 79 & 163. Plaintiff apparently
believes this “program” allows prison officials
to obtain nonverbal information from him. Id. He
seeks an injunction preventing prison officials from feeding
him this “program, ” states he will eat white
rice and bread until his release, and asks to be placed on
“statewide protective custody.” ECF No. 79 at p.
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 his alleged conditions at
Perry Correctional Institution. Having reviewed the record,
the Court concludes 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); see also
Cantley v. W. Virginia Reg'l Jail & Corr. Facility
Auth., 771 F.3d 201, 207 (4th Cir. 2014) (“A court
should not impose an injunction lightly, as it is an
extraordinary remedy involving the exercise of a very
far-reaching power, which is to be applied only in the
limited circumstances which clearly demand it.”
(internal quotation marks omitted)). This case does not
present an extraordinary circumstance warranting immediate
injunctive relief, and therefore the Court cannot issue a
foregoing reasons, the Court ADOPTS the R
& R [ECF No. 102] and DENIES
Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction [ECF No.
79] and renewed ...