UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
August 11, 2008
LATWAHN MCELROY, PLAINTIFF,
EMBERY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BE DENIED AS MOOT (Doc. 7).
Plaintiff Latwahn McElroy ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On November 26, 2007, Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunctive relief. (Doc. 7) Plaintiff seeks an order requiring defendants at Kern Valley State Prison provide him with a variety of medical therapies and treatments, an order transferring him to a different facility, and declaratory relief.
The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo if the balance of equities so heavily favors the moving party that justice requires the court to intervene to secure the positions until the merits of the action are ultimately determined. University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981). A preliminary injunction is available to a plaintiff who "demonstrates either (1) a combination of probable success and the possibility of irreparable harm, or (2) that serious questions are raised and the balance of hardship tips in its favor." Arcamuzi v. Continental Air Lines, Inc., 819 F. 2d 935, 937 (9th Cir. 1987). Under either approach the plaintiff "must demonstrate a significant threat of irreparable injury." Id. Also, an injunction should not issue if the plaintiff "shows no chance of success on the merits." Id. At a bare minimum, the plaintiff "must demonstrate a fair chance of success of the merits, or questions serious enough to require litigation." Id.
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and as a preliminary matter, the court must have before it an actual case or controversy. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 102, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 1665 (1983); Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471, 102 S.Ct. 752, 757-58 (1982); Jones v. City of Los Angeles, 444 F.3d 1118, 1126 (9th Cir. 2006). If the court does not have an actual case or controversy before it, it has no power to hear the matter in question. Id. "A federal court may issue an injunction if it has personal jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter jurisdiction over the claim; it may not attempt to determine the rights of persons not before the court." Zepeda v. United States Immigration Service, 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir. 1985) (emphasis added).
When an inmate seeks injunctive or declaratory relief concerning the prison where he is incarcerated, his claims for such relief become moot when he is no longer subjected to those conditions. Nelson v. Heiss, 271 F.3d 891, 897 (9th Cir. 2001); Dilley v. Gunn, 64 F.3d 1365, 1368 (9th Cir. 1995); Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 519 (9th Cir. 1991). In this instance, plaintiff was recently transferred to California State Prison - Sacramento ("CSP-Sac"). Plaintiff's transfer from Kern Valley State Prison rendered any claim for equitable relief against the defendants moot. However, plaintiff may still proceed with his claim against defendants for damages.*fn1
The court does not know whether the medical concerns underlying plaintiff's instant request for equitable relief persist at CSP-Sac. Even if that is the case, plaintiff is advised that the court has no personal jurisdiction over the individuals at CSP-Sac, since the court may not determine the rights of persons not before the court. Zepeda.
Accordingly, the court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief, filed November 26, 2007, be DENIED as moot.
These Findings and Recommendations will be submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l). Within fifteen (15) days after being served with these Findings and Recommendations, plaintiff may file written objections with the court. The document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendations." Plaintiff is advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to appeal the District Court's order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991).
IT IS SO ORDERED.