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Shehee v. Redding

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 7, 2017

GREGORY ELL SHEHEE, Plaintiff,
v.
REDDING, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR COPIES AND GRANTING PLAINTIFF EXTENSION OF TIME TO COMPLY WITH THE COURT'S MAY 10, 2017, ORDER [ECF NOS. 92, 93, 94]

         At the time this action was filed, Plaintiff Gregory Ell Shehee was a civil detainee proceeding pro se in a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         On June 2, 2017 and June 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed three separate motions for copies. Although it is difficult to decipher, in his motions Plaintiff contends that prison officials are retaliating against him by failing to provide him copying services, access to his legal documents, failure to process grievances, and placement in administrative segregation, denying him access to the court. The Court construes Plaintiff's motions as requests for preliminary injunctive relief.

         I. DISCUSSION

         A preliminary injunction should not issue unless necessary to prevent threatened injury that would impair the court's ability to grant effective relief in a pending action. “A preliminary injunction … is not a preliminary adjudication on the merits but rather a device for preserving the status quo and preventing the irreparable loss of right before judgment.” Sierra On-Line, Inc. v. Phoenix Software, Inc., 739 F.2d 1415, 1422 (9th Cir. 1984). A preliminary injunction represents the exercise of a far reaching power not to be indulged except in a case clearly warranting it. Dymo Indus. V. Tapeprinter, Inc., 326 F.2d 141, 143 (9th Cir. 1964). “The proper legal standard for preliminary injunctive relief requires a party to demonstrate ‘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.'” Stormans, Inc., v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1127 (9th Cir. 2009), quoting Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7 (2008). In cases brought by prisoners involving conditions of confinement, any preliminary injunction “must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct the harm.” 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2).

         Inmates have a fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 346 (1996); Silva v. Di Vittorio, 658 F.3d 1090, 1101 (9th Cir. 2011); Phillips v. Hust, 588 F.3d 652, 655 (9th Cir. 2009). However, to state a viable claim for relief, Plaintiff must show that he suffered an actual injury, which requires “actual prejudice to contemplated or existing litigation.” Nevada Dep't of Corr. v. Greene, 648 F.3d 1014, 1018 (9th Cir. 2011) (citing Lewis, 518 U.S. at 348) (internal quotation marks omitted); Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002); Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351; Phillips, 588 F.3d at 655.

         A prisoner cannot submit conclusory declarations of injury by claiming his access to the courts has been impeded. Thus, it is not enough for an inmate to show some sort of denial of access without further elaboration. Plaintiff must demonstrate “actual injury” from the denial and/or delay of access.

         The Supreme Court has described the “actual injury” requirement:

[T]he inmate … must go one step further and demonstrate that the alleged shortcomings in the library or legal assistance program hindered his efforts to pursue a legal claim. He might show, for example, that a complaint he prepared was dismissed for failure to satisfy some technical requirement which, because of deficiencies in the prison's legal assistance facilities, he could not have known. Or that he suffered arguably actionable harm that he wished to bring before the courts, but was so stymied by inadequacies of the law library that he was unable even to file a complaint.

Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351.

         In this instance, Plaintiff has failed to allege or demonstrate “actual injury” by the alleged misconduct by prison officials. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that in the absence of preliminary injunctive relief he is likely to suffer actual injury in prosecuting his case. “Speculative injury does not constitute irreparable injury sufficient to warrant granting a preliminary injunction.” Caribbean Marine Servs. Co. v. Baldridge, 844 F.2d 668, 674 (9th Cir. 1988), citing Goldies Bookstore, Inc. v. Superior Court, 739 F.2d 466, 472 (9th Cir. 1984). Plaintiff has provided no basis for this court to interfere with the jail's administration of its access to photocopy services.

         Moreover, this action is proceeding against Defendants for Plaintiff's claim of excessive force, not denial of access to the courts and/or retaliation. Plaintiff seeks to enjoin prison officials, including some named Defendants for alleged actions outside of the scope of his excessive force claim, and Plaintiff has neither demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits nor the threat of irreparable injury as to any Defendant. Plaintiff also seeks injunctive relief against individuals who are not named Defendants in this action. This Court is unable to issue an order against individuals who are not parties to a suit pending before it. See Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 112 (1969). Accordingly, Plaintiff's requests for a preliminary injunction must be denied.

         II. RECOMMENDATION

         Based on the foregoing, it is HEREBY RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's motions for a preliminary injunction be DENIED.

         This Findings and Recommendation will be submitted to the United States District Judge assigned to the case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Within twenty-one (21) days after being served with this Findings and Recommendation, the parties may file written objections with the Court. The document should be captioned “Objections to Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation.” The parties are advised that failure to file objections within the specified time may result in the waiver of ...


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