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Glass v. Diaz

September 12, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anthony W. Ishii Chief United States District Judge


(Docs. 117, 119)

Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action is proceeding on plaintiff's amended complaint, filed December 22, 2004. Pending before the court is plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief and/or a temporary restraining order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1651 ("All Writs Act"), filed January 18, 2008, and resubmitted February 19, 2008. (Docs. 117, 119). Plaintiff also seeks unspecified sanctions.

Plaintiff requests that the court order defendant Diaz, his counsel, and non-parties Melo, Sgt. Martinez, Sgt. Sumaya, Sgt. Sztukowski, Correctional Officers Carlsen, Detson, Gonzalez and Phillips to return plaintiff's legal materials and personal property, which plaintiff contends were unlawfully confiscated in November and December 2007.

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).

"[I]njunctive relief under the All Writs Act is to be used 'sparingly and only in the most critical and exigent circumstances.'" Brown v. Gilmore, 533 U.S. 1301, 122 S.Ct. 1, 2 (2001) (quoting Ohio Citizens for Responsible Energy, Inc. v. NRC, 479 U.S. 1312, 1313, 107 S.Ct. 682 (1986) (internal quotations and citation omitted)). "Such an injunction is appropriate only if 'the legal rights at issue are indisputably clear.'" Id. (quoting Ohio Citizens for Responsible Enegery, 479 U.S. at 1313 (internal quotations and citation omitted)).

This action is proceeding against defendants A. Diaz, E. Lawton, G. Tracy, D. Beebe, Kraay (named incorrectly as Traay), D. Bailey, Bryant, D. Case, M. Botello and Dr. Dang. Plaintiff claims defendants used excessive, failed to protect him and were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff also claims defendants interfered with his access to the courts between April 17, 2002 and May 25, 2002 by withholding his legal mail.

Because an order mandating the return of plaintiff's legal and personal property confiscated in November and December 2007 would not remedy the claims upon which this action proceeds, the court lacks jurisdiction to issue the order sought by plaintiff.

Therefore, plaintiff's motions for preliminary injunctive relief, filed January 18, 2008 and resubmitted February 19, 2008, are HEREBY DENIED. Plaintiff's request for sanctions is also DENIED.



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