UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
August 10, 2012
CHOKATOS, JOHN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jennifer L. Thurston United States Magistrate Judge
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF (Doc. 9)
Plaintiff Antiono Franco ("Plaintiff") is a California state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis with a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. Plaintiff filed his initial complaint on July 5, 2011. (Doc. 1). Before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief filed September 21, 2011. (Doc. 9). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief is DENIED.
In his motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiff does not state clearly the specific relief he seeks or identify the persons he asks this Court to enjoin. Plaintiff "affirmatively requests the return of [his] full ADA status of DPW and [his] ADA modification accommodation cell;" however, he does not identify any particular person who should be ordered to comply with his request. (Doc. 9 at 15). Plaintiff likewise expresses concern about the administration of his current medications and speaks about his fear that his wheelchair will be taken away from him, but, once again, does not indicate 2 against whom this relief, if any, is sought. (Doc. 9 at 19-20). 3
"A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter v. 5 Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 129 S. Ct. 365, 376 (2008) (citation omitted). "A plaintiff 6 seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is 7 likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in 8 his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Id. at 374 (citations omitted). An injunction 9 may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 376 (citation omitted). A stronger showing of one element, however, may offset a weaker showing of another. Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131-35 (9th Cir. 2011) (the sliding scale approach to balancing the elements for a preliminary injunction survives Winter).
Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, and in considering a request for preliminary injunctive relief, must have before it an actual case or controversy. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 102 (1983); Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 471 (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. "[The] triad of injury in fact, causation, and redressability constitutes the core of Article III's case-or-controversy requirement, and the party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing its existence." Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 103--04, 118 S.Ct. 1003 (1998). Requests for prospective relief are further limited by 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which requires the Court to narrowly draw any injunctive relief such that it "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."
Moreover, "[a] federal court may [only] 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).
Plaintiff has named the following individuals as defendants in this case: Dr. John Chokatos, J. Morgan, D. Freeman and L. Harton. (See Doc. 1.) However, at this stage of the proceedings, the 4 Court has not yet determined whether Plaintiff has stated any cognizable claim for relief under federal 5 law.*fn1 As a result, the Court lacks personal jurisdiction over any of the named defendants. "A federal 6 court may [only] issue an injunction if it has personal jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter 7 jurisdiction over the claim; it may not attempt to determine the rights of persons not before the court." 8 Zepeda v. United States Immigration Service, 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir.1985) (emphasis added). 9
It is not clear from Plaintiff's motion that the Court has personal jurisdiction to issue orders sought by Plaintiff. First, Plaintiff has failed to identify the person or persons against whom he seeks the injunctive relief. Second, it is clear that an injunction would not remedy the issued raised by Plaintiff's motion. For example, if Plaintiff was seeking any remedy against his current medical caregivers, the Court would not have jurisdiction to issue any order against these persons, because they are not named defendants in the action. Zenith, 395 U.S. at 112. Additionally, Plaintiff is not presently under the medical care of Dr. Chokatos (Doc. 9 at 10). Thus, an injunction against Dr. Chokatos (even if possible at this juncture) would not allow Plaintiff to regain his full ADA status of DPW, his ADA modification accommodation cell, change the administration of his medication, or assure use of his wheelchair.*fn2
IV. Conclusion and Order
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief be DENIED. *fn3
IT IS SO ORDERED. 6