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Singleton v. Fortune

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 19, 2017

LAMAR SINGLETON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
DR. FORTUNE, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, RECOMMENDING THAT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF BE DENIED (ECF No. 38.) OBJECTIONS, IF ANY, DUE IN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS

          GARY S. AUSTIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Lamar Singleton, Jr., (“Plaintiff”) is a state prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case now proceeds with the First Amended Complaint filed on February 19, 2016, against defendant Fortune (“Defendant”) on Plaintiff's medical claim pursuant to the Eighth Amendment. (ECF No. 25.) On January 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for the court to notify Mule Creek State Prison that he is being retaliated against and that his legal mail is being unnecessarily held and opened, and that this conduct is illegal and will not be tolerated.

         The court construes Plaintiff's motion as a motion for preliminary injunctive relief.

         II. PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

         “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.”

         Discussion

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at California State Prison-Los Angeles County (LAC) in Lancaster, California. Plaintiff seeks a court order notifying Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) that he is being retaliated against and that his legal mail is being unnecessarily held and opened. Plaintiff also requests the court to notify MCSP that this conduct is illegal and will not be tolerated.

         The court lacks jurisdiction to grant Plaintiff's motion. “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). Here, the case or controversy requirement cannot be met because the retaliation and mail issues Plaintiff seeks to remedy in his motion bear no relation, jurisdictionally, to the past events 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., 555 U.S. 488, 491-92, 129 S.Ct. 1142, 1148-49, 173 L.Ed.2d 1 (2009); Steel Co. v. Citizens for a Better Env't, 523 U.S. 83, 102-04, 118 S.Ct. 1003, 140 L.Ed.2d 210 (1998). Indeed, it appears that the conduct complained of in this motion concerns events outside of those alleged in his complaint. 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.

         Additionally, Plaintiff's requests related to events at MCSP are now moot based on his transfer from MCSP to LAC as of April 3, 2017. See Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 519 (9th Cir. 1991) (per curiam) (stating that transfer to another prison renders request for injunctive relief concerning prison conditions moot absent some evidence of an expectation of being transferred back).

         Therefore, the court lacks jurisdiction to issue the order sought by Plaintiff, and Plaintiff's motion must be denied.

         III. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

         Accordingly, based on the foregoing, IT IS HEREBY RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief, filed on January ...


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