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Rhoden v. Mayberg

May 6, 2010

LAWTIS DONALD RHODEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEPHEN W. MAYBERG, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER DISREGARDING MOTION (DOC. 2) AS MOOT

ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS (DOCS. 22, 25) TO FILE REPLY AND ADDENDUM

ORDER DENYING MOTION (DOC. 15) FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Order

I. Background

Plaintiff Lawtis Donald Rhoden ("Plaintiff") is a civil detainee 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 against Defendants Stephen W. Mayberg, director of the Department of Mental Health, Cynthia Radavsky, and Pam Ahlin, director of Coalinga State Hospital, for violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction, filed March 8, 2010.*fn1 On April 12, 2010, Defendants filed their opposition. On April 26, 2010, Plaintiff filed his reply, and on April 29, 2010, Plaintiff filed an addendum to his reply. (Docs. 23, 26.)*fn2 This matter is submitted pursuant to Local Rule 230(l).

II. Motion For Preliminary Injunction

A. Legal Standard

"A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 129 S.Ct. 365, 374 (2008) (citations omitted). The purpose of preliminary injunctive relief is to preserve the status quo or to prevent irreparable injury pending the resolution of the underlying claim. Sierra On-line, Inc. v. Phoenix Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1422 (9th Cir. 1984). "A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter, 129 S.Ct. at 376. An injunction may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the movant is entitled to relief. Id.

B. Analysis

Plaintiff is currently detained at Coalinga State Hospital ("CSH") pursuant to California Welfare and Institution Code section 6600, et seq., also known as the Sexually Violent Predator Act. Plaintiff is in the custody of the California Department of Mental Health ("DMH") pending his Sexually Violent Predator hearing. Plaintiff's action concerns a prospective deprivation of property. Plaintiff contends that he was granted the right to own and use a personal laptop computer. Plaintiff contends that a new department regulation would deprive Plaintiff of possession of his laptop computer. Plaintiff contends that this will be done no later than May 30, 2010, and seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the deprivation of his laptop. Defendants oppose.*fn3

1. Likelihood of Success On The Merits

Plaintiff contends that once he was granted the privilege of purchasing and owning a laptop, Defendants cannot arbitrarily deny him his laptop later. (Reply 10.) Plaintiff contends that such deprivation violates the Fourteenth Amendment due process right of owning property. Plaintiff and Defendants submit as exhibit a Memorandum authored by Defendant Ahlin, dated February 25, 2010. (Doc. 21, Exh. A, DMH Memorandum.)*fn4 Defendants contend that this motion is not ripe for adjudication, and that Plaintiff lacks standing. (Opp'n 4:19-5:12.)

Standing is an "essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III." Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1992). Standing contains three elements: (1) plaintiff must have suffered an injury in fact, an invasion of a legally protected interest which is concrete and particularized, and actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) a causal connection must exist between the injury and the conduct complained of; and (3) it must be likely, as ...


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