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Ellington v. Clark

June 4, 2010


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


Plaintiff Marcus Reuben Ellington ("Plaintiff") is a prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"). Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action. Pending before the Court is (1) Plaintiff's motion to transfer his settlement agreement claims, filed April 16, 2010; (2) motion for preliminary injunction pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Rehabilitation Act, filed April 29, 2010; and (3) motion for temporary restraining order, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 12101-34, which appears to be another motion for preliminary injunction pursuant to the ADA.

I. Motion To Transfer Settlement Agreement Claims

Plaintiff's request that the Court transfer Plaintiff's claims under the Armstrong*fn1 Remedial Plan should be denied. The Court is not in a position to intercede on Plaintiff's behalf in another court case. Plaintiff should consult the Armstrong Remedial Plan located in the prison law library if he seeks enforcement of his claims under the plan. The Armstrong court has also appointed lawyers for prisoners under the Armstrong Remedial Plan. They can be reached at:

Prison Law Office, General Delivery, San Quentin, CA 94964, or Rosen, Bien & Galvan, LLP, P.O. Box 390, San Francisco, CA 94104.

II. Motion For Injunctive Relief

Plaintiff moves for injunctive relief. (Doc. 22.) "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).

In Plaintiff's April 29, 2010 motion, Plaintiff cites to violation of the Armstrong Remedial Plan ("ARP"). Plaintiff seeks (1) reinstatement of wheelchair, walker, knee braces, grab braces in cell and shower, double mattresses, waistchair chrono, and cotton blanket; (2) reinstatement of cancelled CDC 1845, 128-C and 7410, and health chronos; (3) reinstatement of state court case in Lasser County Court; (4) rescheduling of classification hearings; (5) court costs and attorney's fees; (6) declaratory relief; and (7) transfer of Plaintiff to the California Medical Facility, or the Kern Valley State Prison central treatment center, permanently. (Doc 22, Mot. 16-17.)

In the Court's March 2, 2010 Findings and Recommendations, the Court explained that "[a] plaintiff who is a member of a class action for equitable relief from prison conditions may not maintain a separate, individual suit for equitable relief within the same subject matter of the class action." Doc. 15, Findings and Recommendations, filed March 2, 2010; see McNeil v. Guthrie, 945 F.2d 1163, 1165-66 (10th Cir. 1991) ("Individual suits for injunctive and equitable relief from unconstitutional prison conditions cannot be brought where there is an existing class action"); Gillespie v. Crawford, 858 F.2d 1101, 1103 (5th Cir. 1988) (en banc) ("To allow individual suits would interfere with the orderly administration of the class action and risk inconsistent adjudications."); Crawford v. Bell, 599 F.2d 890, 892-93 (9th Cir. 1979) (district court may dismiss individual plaintiff's claims where plaintiff is member of pending class action raising same claims); see also Stringham v. Lee, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56031, * 19-20, 2008 WL 2880406 *7, 10 (E.D. Cal. 2008); cf. McNeil, 945 F.2d at 1166 (recognizing two exceptions to class action comity rule: claims for monetary damages and claims "not being litigated within the boundaries of the class action"). The Court denied Plaintiff's previous request for enforcement of the ARP. The ARP encompasses current and future prisoners with mobility, sight, hearing, learning, or kidney disabilities. See Armstrong, 942 F. Supp. at 1254. Here, Plaintiff's requests 1 and 2 appear to be encompassed under the ARP, as Plaintiff is a prisoner with a mobility impairment. Plaintiff's request should be denied.

Plaintiff's request for reinstatement of a case in Lassen County Court should be denied. 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). If the court does not have an actual case or controversy before it, it has no power to hear the matter in question. Lyons, 461 U.S. at 102. Thus, "[a] federal court may issue an injunction [only] 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). The Court lacks jurisdiction over Lasser County Court and thus cannot determine the rights of the Lasser County court to dismiss Plaintiff's case.

The Court also lacks jurisdiction to reinstate classification hearings that Plaintiff has missed. Plaintiff's amended complaint concerns denial of rights under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, and the Eighth Amendment. Classification hearings are not related to this action. This request for injunctive relief should be denied.

Plaintiff's requests for court costs, attorney fees, and declaratory relief should be denied. Plaintiff has yet to prove that he will prevail in this action. Furthermore, attorney fees are not granted to pro se litigants. Friedman v. Arizona, 912 F.2d 328, 333 n.2 (9th Cir. 1990).

Plaintiff's request for a transfer to another prison should be denied. Plaintiff has not sufficiently established that he is likely to prevail on the merits. While Plaintiff's claims are serious, Plaintiff has not demonstrated how transfer to the California Medical Facility ...

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