United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division
John Ervin Wilson, Jr., a/k/a John Wilson, a/k/a John E. Wilson, # 295493 Plaintiff,
Warden Williams, Defendant.
Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge
the Court is the Report and Recommendation ("R &
R") of the Magistrate Judge (Dkt. No. 17.) recommending
the Court deny Plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction.
(Dkt. No. 15.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court
adopts the R & R as the order of the Court to deny
Plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction.
John Ervin Wilson, Jr., filed a motion for preliminary
injunction on August 16, 2019. (Dkt. No. 15.) Plaintiff
asserts that Defendant, Warden Williams, retaliated against
him by confiscating Plaintiffs medical shoes upon Plaintiffs
arrival at McCormick Correctional Institution on February 27,
2019. (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff seeks an injunction
ordering the return of his medical shoes. (Dkt. No. 15.)
Defendant filed a motion in opposition to Plaintiffs motion
for preliminary injunction, to which Plaintiff responded.
(Dkt. Nos. 16, 20.) On September 11, 2019, the Magistrate
Judge issued an R & R denying Plaintiffs motion for
preliminary injunction. (Dkt. No. 17.)
Report and Recommendation
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court
that has no presumptive weight. The responsibility to make a
final determination remains with the Court. See Mathews
v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). The Court may
"accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court must make
a de novo determination of those portions of the R
& R Plaintiff specifically objects. Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). Where Plaintiff fails to file any specific
objections, "a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that
there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to
accept the recommendation." Diamond v. Colonial Life
& Accident Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir.
2005) (internal quotation omitted). "Moreover, in the
absence of specific objections to the R & R, the Court
need not give any explanation for adopting the
recommendation." Wilson v. S. C. Dept of Corr.,
No. 9:14-CV-4365-RMG, 2015 WL 1124701, at *1 (D.S.C. Mar. 12,
2015). See also Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 200
(4th Cir. 1983). Plaintiff did not file objections in this
case, and the R & R is reviewed for clear error.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the
"court may issue a preliminary injunction only on notice
to the adverse party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a). A preliminary
injunction is warranted when the movant demonstrates four
factors: (1) the movant's likelihood of success on the
merits, (2) whether the movant will face irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief, (3) whether the balance of
equities favors preliminary relief, and (4) whether
injunctive relief is in the public interest. Winter v.
Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
review of the R & R and the parties' arguments, the
Court finds the Magistrate Judge ably addressed the issues
and correctly concluded that Plaintiffs motion should be
denied. The Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's
findings that Plaintiffs motion does not satisfy the
Winter standard. With regard to element one,
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant retaliated against him and
confiscated his medical shoes. (Dkt. No. 15 at pg. 3.)
Defendant filed a declaration in support of its opposition to
Plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction. (Dkt. No.
16-2.) In his declaration, Defendant avers that Plaintiff was
in possession of "black New Balance tennis shoes"
during a property inventory upon Plaintiffs transfer to
McCormick Correctional Institution on February 27, 2019.
(Dkt. No. 16-2 at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff was approved in 2015
to receive a pair of prosthetic shoes. (Dkt. No. 15-1 at 15.)
Yet, the approval form specifically notes that the approval
does not include tennis shoes. (Id.) During the
property inventory, Defendant did not allow Plaintiff to keep
the New Balance tennis shoes as they were not
orthopedic/prosthetic shoes, but regular tennis shoes.
(Id. at ¶ 6.) Defendant characterized the
tennis shoes as a "safety and security issue" as
inmates will rob other inmates for any type of tennis shoes
that are not issued by SCDC. (Id. at. ¶ 7.) The
Court agrees with the ruling of the Magistrate Judge that
Plaintiff fails to satisfy element one, a likelihood of
success on the merits.
does not demonstrate that he is likely to suffer irreparable
harm in the absence of preliminary relief. Plaintiff asserts
that he would suffer irreparable harm if his medical shoes
are not returned to him because his spinal disc is damaged
and his remaining "(L/S Disc) could be damage[d] along
with his (Right hip) as his left hip evolved [sic]
damage." (Dkt. No. 15 at pg. 3.) This statement does not
clearly show that he will suffer irreparable injury without
the issuance of a preliminary injunction. There is no
indication that the injury is "actual and
imminent," rather the statement demonstrates a risk of
harm, which is insufficient to prove irreparable harm.
Direx Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough Med.
Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 812 (4th Cir. 1991). The Magistrate
Judge correctly characterized Plaintiffs allegations as
"conclusory statements of harm." (Dkt. No. 17 at
2.) "A preliminary injunction will not issue without a
showing of irreparable injury." Direx Israel,
Ltd.., 952 F.2d at 812 (noting that the basis of
injunctive relief in the federal courts has always been
irreparable harm and inadequacy of legal remedies.)
Plaintiff fails to establish irreparable injury, the
Magistrate Judge discussed elements three and four. The
Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that Plaintiff fails to
demonstrate that the balance of equities tip in his favor.
Plaintiff generally asserts that the balance of equities tip
in his favor because the doctors recommended and approved his
use of medical shoes. (Dkt. No. 15 at pg. 3.) Yet, Defendant
avers that SCDC categorizes tennis shoes as a security threat
and inmates cannot be issued such items unless approved by
SCDC. (Dkt. No. 16-2 at ¶ 7-11.) SCDC protocol should be
adhered to when obtaining medical shoes or other shoes
requiring SCDC approval to minimize safety risks. In
addition, with regard to element four, the Magistrate Judge
determined that, Plaintiff fails to establish that a
preliminary injunction is within the public interest. This