UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
July 16, 2012
ROBIN GILLEN STARR, PLAINTIFF,
A. TREVINO, M.D., 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 (Doc. 4.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN THIRTY DAYS
Robin Gillen Starr ("Plaintiff") is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff filed the Complaint commencing this action on December 22, 2011. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a motion for preliminary injunctive relief on December 22, 2011. (Doc. 4.) Plaintiff's motion is now before the court.
II. PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
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. 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).
On January 19, 2012, February 15, 2012, and April 6, 2012, Plaintiff requested leave to file an amended complaint. (Docs. 10, 14, 18.) On January 23, 2012, February 16, 2012, and April 19, 2012, the Court informed Plaintiff that under Rule 15(a), he may amend the complaint once, without leave of court, at any time before a responsive pleading is served. (Docs. 11, 15, 23.) On June 26, 2012, Plaintiff was granted thirty days in which to amend the complaint, and to date Plaintiff has not filed an amended complaint. (Doc. 23.) Therefore, at this juncture, the Court does not yet have before it an actual case or controversy.
Moreover, the injunctive relief requested by Plaintiff is not available in this § 1983 action. Plaintiff requests a temporary restraining order releasing him or correcting sentencing errors. When a prisoner challenges the legality or duration of his custody, or raises a constitutional challenge which could entitle him to an earlier release, his sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1973); Young v. Kenny, 907 F.2d 874 (9th Cir. 1990), cert. denied 11 S.Ct. 1090 (1991). Since Plaintiff's motion plainly challenges his conviction and sentence, Plaintiff's sole federal remedy is a writ of habeas corpus, not a § 1983 action, and therefore his motion must be denied.
III. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Based on the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief, filed on December 22, 2011, be DENIED.
These findings and recommendation are 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 days after being served with these findings and recommendation, Plaintiff may file written objections with the court. Such a document should be captioned "Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation." 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.
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