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Hamilton v. Lara

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA


June 11, 2010

EUGENE HAMILTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LARA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gary S. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BE DENIED OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN 30 DAYS (Doc. 10.)

I. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Eugene Hamilton ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the original complaint commencing this action on December 29, 2008. (Doc. 1.) On April 30, 2010, Plaintiff filed an "Emergency" Motion for Injunction. (Doc. 10.)

II. PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

"A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 129 S.Ct. 365, 376 (2008) (citation omitted). "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." Id. at 374 (citations omitted). An injunction may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 376 (citation omitted) (emphasis added).

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and in considering a request for preliminary injunctive relief, the Court is bound by the requirement that as a preliminary matter, it 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. Id. Requests for prospective relief are further limited by 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which requires that the Court find the "relief [sought] 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."

The events at issue in this action occurred in 2007 and 2008 while Plaintiff was housed at Corcoran State Prison ("CSP") in Corcoran, California. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff is now housed at Salinas Valley State Prison ("SVSP") in Soledad, California, and Plaintiff seeks an order transferring him from SVSP to another facility. The case or controversy requirement cannot be met in light of the fact that the issue Plaintiff seeks to remedy in his motion bears no relation, jurisdictionally, to the past events at CSP giving rise to this suit. Lyons, 461 U.S. at 102; 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A); also Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 129 S.Ct. 1142, 1148-49 (2009); Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 102-04, 118 S.Ct. 1003 (1998). Because the case-or-controversy requirement cannot be met, the pendency of this action provides no basis upon which to award Plaintiff injunctive relief. Id. The only relief available to Plaintiff in this action, should he prevail, is money damages for the past violation of his constitutional rights while housed at CSP.

III. RECOMMENDATION

Based on the foregoing, the court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief, filed April 30, 2010, be DENIED on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction in this action to issue the order sought.

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 thirty (30) 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.

20100611

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