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PLAYER v. WOODFORD

October 19, 2005.

MARCUS PLAYER, Plaintiff,
v.
JEANNE WOODFORD, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM McCURINE, JR., Magistrate Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE (1) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION; AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
I. INTRODUCTION
On July 17, 2005, Marcus Player ("Plaintiff" or "Player"), a state prisoner at Calipatria State Prison proceeding pro se, filed two motions against various employees of the California Department of Corrections (collectively, "Defendants"): (1) a Motion for Protective Order ("Mot. for Protective Order"); and (2) a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction ("Mot. for TRO"). Defendant K.W. Prunty filed an answer to Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("Prunty's Answer"), and an Opposition to Plaintiff's motions ("Prunty's Opposition") on August 9, 2005. No other defendants have filed responses.*fn1 This Report and Recommendation is submitted to United Stated District Judge Larry A. Burns pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). After reviewing Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, declarations, and the exhibits attached therewith, and Prunty's Answer and Opposition, for the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction be DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on August 31, 2004. (Doc. No. 1.) The Complaint was amended on December 14, 2004 to cure the deficiencies in the original complaint. (Doc. No. 5) The First Amended Complaint, summonses, and waiver of service forms were mailed to each Defendant on March 28, 2005. (Prunty's Opp'n at 2-3.) However, only Prunty has been served, and the 120-day time limit for serving Defendants has expired. FED. R. CIV. P. 4(m).

  The First Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff's civil rights were violated when, as a result of filing an administrative grievance in 1995, he was moved to the CAL-IV Administrative Segregation Unit and received a false Rules Violation Report ("RVR"). (First Amend. Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff contends that Defendants collectively conspired to find him guilty of a false rules violation which was later dismissed by the California Court of Appeals. (Mot. for TRO at 2.) In granting Plaintiff's petition for writ of habeas corpus, the appellate court ordered the confidential documents related to the RVR be removed from Plaintiff's file. (Decl. in Support of Temp. Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (hereinafter "Decl. in Support of TRO"), Ex. G at 18.)

  In the instant motions related to the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff contends that the Department of Corrections has violated his rights by the insertion and retention of false confidential reports in his file. (Decl. in Support of TRO at 5.) Plaintiff now moves for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent Defendants from using confidential information contrary to the policies of the California Department of Corrections ("CDC"). (Mot. for TRO at 1-2.) On August 9, 2005, Prunty filed an answer to the First Amended Complaint and an opposition to Plaintiff's motions. (Prunty's Answer at 1; Prunty's Opp'n at 1.) III. ARGUMENTS

  A. Plaintiff's Arguments

  Plaintiff states that the court must consider four factors in determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order: (1) whether the party will suffer irreparable injury, (2) the balance of hardships between the parties, (3) the likelihood of success on the merits, and (4) the public interest. (Mot. for TRO at 3.) Plaintiff contends that he meets all four factors, and, therefore, is entitled to relief. (Id. at 3-4.)

  B. Defendants' Arguments

  Prunty opposes Plaintiff's motions on several grounds. Prunty first claims that personal jurisdiction has not been established over all Defendants because Prunty is the only defendant who has been served, the time within which Defendants must be served has expired, and key documents were omitted from the motion served on Prunty. (Prunty's Opp'n at 3-4.) As personal jurisdiction has not been established over Defendants, Prunty argues that under Zepeda v. U.S.I.N.S., 753 F.2d 719 (9th Cir. 1983), Plaintiff's motion must be denied regardless of whether Plaintiff can establish the requirements for his requested relief. (Id. at 4.)

  Additionally, Prunty argues that Plaintiff's motion fails on the merits and does not establish the required elements for a grant of equitable relief. (Id. at 4-9.) Plaintiff should be limited to the legal remedy of damages because such relief is sufficient to address the claims he presents. (Id. at 10.) Therefore, Prunty contends that Plaintiff's motion should be denied. (Id.)

  IV. LEGAL STANDARDS

  A. Jurisdiction

  A federal court may only issue injunctions when it has personal jurisdiction over the parties, and subject matter jurisdiction over the claims. Zepeda, 753 F.2d at 727. Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the classes of cases that fall under the court's authority, while personal jurisdiction deals with the persons over whom the court has adjudicatory authority. Kontrick v. Ryan, 540 U.S. 443, 455 (2004).

  Federal question jurisdiction provides federal courts with subject matter jurisdiction over civil claims based on the Constitution, laws, or treatises of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (West 2005). As provided in California Rules of Civil Procedure § 410.5(a) a court has jurisdiction over a party from the time the summons is served on him. CAL.R.CIV.P. § 410.5(a).*fn2 A general appearance by a party is akin to personal service of summons. Id.

  Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure discusses the summons process. Specifically, Rule 4(m) states if the summons and complaint are not served on a defendant within 120 days of filing the complaint, the court may dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant. FED. R. CIV. P. 4(m). The court may extend the time for service if the plaintiff shows good cause for failure to serve defendants within the set time period. Id.

  B. Injunctions

  Injunctions are covered by Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. FED. R. CIV. P. 65. Specifically, preliminary injunctions are discussed in Rule 65(a), while Rule 65(b) governs the use of temporary restraining orders, detailing the circumstances under which such relief may be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 65(a), (b). Subsection (d) indicates the necessary form and scope for an injunction or restraining order. FED. R. CIV. P. 65(d). Injunctions should be issued only to protect against irreparable injury: "the basis for injunctive relief in federal courts has always been irreparable injury and the inadequacy of legal remedies." Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305, 311-12 (1982). However, preliminary ...


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