IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
February 23, 2009
RODNEY GRAVES-BEY, PLAINTIFF,
WARDEN A. HEDGEPETH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lawrence J. O'Neill United States District Judge
ORDER DISREGARDING MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
(Docs. 21 and 22)
Plaintiff Rodney Graves-Bey ("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 January 28, 2009, and on February 4, 2009, Plaintiff filed motions seeking temporary restraining orders against Correctional Officer K. Mathney.*fn1
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 addition, any award of equitable relief is governed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which provides in relevant part, "Prospective relief in any civil action with respect to prison conditions shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs. The court shall not grant or approve any prospective relief unless the court finds that such relief is narrowly drawn, extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right, and is the least intrusive means necessary to correct the violation of the Federal right." 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A).
In an order filed on February 13, 2009, the Magistrate Judge screened Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and found that it does not state any claims upon which relief may be granted under section 1983. Plaintiff was granted thirty days within which to file an amended complaint. At this stage in the litigation, there is not yet an actual case or controversy before the Court relating to Officer Matheny's conduct, and the Court does not have jurisdiction over Officer Matheny.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is DISREGARDED, and Plaintiff's motions for a temporary restraining order are DENIED because the Court lacks the jurisdiction to issue the orders sought by Plaintiff.
IT IS SO ORDERED.