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Miller v. Scribner

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


December 17, 2008

ERNEST MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
A.K. SCRIBNER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS RECOMMENDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BE DENIED

(Doc. 31)

OBJECTION DUE WITHIN FIFTEEN DAYS

Plaintiff Ernest Miller ("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 was filed on September 17, 2007, and transferred to his District from the Northern District of California on September 27, 2008.

On August 22, 2008, Plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunctive relief. Plaintiff requests that the Court advance him $1000.00 so that he may purchase stamps, reading glasses, writing paper, envelopes and prison appliances (radio, television, etc). Plaintiff states that all his legal property has been confiscated.

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).

In this instance, the events at issue in this action arose while plaintiff was incarcerated at the California Substance Abuse and Treatment Facility ("CSATF"). (Docs. 27.) Plaintiff is currently housed at High Desert State Prison and the orders sought are aimed at remedying his current conditions of confinement at that prison. The court does not jurisdiction in this action to issue the orders sought, as the case or controversy requirement cannot be met in light of the fact that the issues plaintiff seeks to remedy in his motions bear no relation to the past events at CSATF giving rise to this suit.

Further, the expenditure of public funds on behalf of an indigent litigant is proper only when authorized by Congress. See Tedder v. Odel, 890 F.2d 210 (9th Cir. 1989) (citations omitted).

Plaintiff's motion is entirely without merit. Therefore, the court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief, filed August 22, 2008 be DENIED. 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.

20081217

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