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Petersen v. Fresno County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 23, 2018

KYLE PETERSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
FRESNO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DIRECTING CLERK OF COURT TO RANDOMLY ASSIGN DISTRICT JUDGE TO ACTION FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE (ECF NO. 9) FOURTEEN (14) DAY DEADLINE

          BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Kyle Petersen (“Plaintiff”) is a county jail inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's complaint has not yet been screened.

         I. Motion for Preliminary Injunction

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for order to show cause, filed May 22, 2018. (ECF No. 9.) In his motion, Plaintiff states that he has been denied access to the Lexis Nexis kiosk at the Fresno County Jail because, pursuant to jail policy, there has been no ruling in this action that would require him to have access. Plaintiff therefore requests an order to show cause or other ruling from this Court that would grant him access to the legal research kiosk to research any applicable case law, statutes, constitutional provisions, and/or government codes that will assist him in his case. (Id.)

         The Court construes Plaintiff's motion, to the extent he seeks an order allowing him access to the legal research kiosk, as a request for a preliminary injunction against the jail officials at the Fresno County Jail.

         A. Legal Standard

         “A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (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 20 (citations omitted). An injunction may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 22 (citation omitted).

         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 L.A. v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 102 (1983); Valley Forge Christian Coll. v. Ams. United for Separation of Church & 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. 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.”

         Furthermore, the pendency of this action does not give the Court jurisdiction over prison officials in general. Summers v. Earth Island Inst., 555 U.S. 488, 491-93 (2009); Mayfield v. United States, 599 F.3d 964, 969 (9th Cir. 2010). The Court's jurisdiction is limited to the parties in this action and to the viable legal claims upon which this action is proceeding. Summers, 555 U.S. at 491-93; Mayfield, 599 F.3d at 969.

         B. Discussion

         Plaintiff has not met the requirements for the injunctive relief he seeks in this motion. The Court is required to screen complaints brought by prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Plaintiff's complaint, or any portion thereof, is subject to dismissal if it is frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1), (2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         As Plaintiff's complaint has not yet been screened, the Court cannot find that Plaintiff has shown a likelihood of success on the merits. In addition, no defendant has been ordered served, and no defendant has yet made an appearance. Thus, the Court at this time lacks personal jurisdiction over any officials at Fresno County Jail, and it cannot issue an order requiring them to take any action.

         Further, Plaintiff's motion makes no showing that he will suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, or that an injunction is in the public interest. The Court notes that at this time, there are no pending orders requiring Plaintiff to file any responses or to conduct any research in this case. Plaintiff's complaint will be screened in due course, and the Court will provide Plaintiff with the relevant legal standards for any deficiencies identified in the complaint.

         II. Conclusion ...


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