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Meador v. Kernan

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 30, 2018

GORDON DALE MEADOR, Plaintiff,
v.
SCOTT KERNAN, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          ALLISON CLAIRE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff is a state prisoner proceeding pro se. Plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 on April 27, 2018. See ECF No. 7. This proceeding was referred to this court by Local Rule 302 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on March 27, 2018. ECF No. 1. On April 19, 2018, plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. ECF No. 6. For the reasons stated herein the court will recommend that the motion be denied.

         I. RELEVANT FACTS

         Plaintiff requests that a preliminary injunction issue in order to: (1) prevent “Scott Kernan or his office” from illegally blocking plaintiff's mail, and (2) require Scott Kernan “to protect [him] from the fall out [sic] of the initial order to have him killed.” ECF No. 6 at 1-3 (brackets added).

         In sum, plaintiff requests that the court “issue an injunction to protect [his] life, [sic] and rights [sic] to access to the courts.” ECF No. 6 at 5 (brackets added).

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         When evaluating the merits of a motion for preliminary injunctive relief, the court considers whether the movant has shown 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.” Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1127 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Winter). The propriety of a request for injunctive relief hinges on a significant threat of irreparable injury that must be imminent in nature. Caribbean Marine Servs. Co. v. Baldrige, 844 F.2d 668, 674 (9th Cir. 1988); see also Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1131-32 (9th Cir. 2011).

         A district court may not issue preliminary injunctive relief without primary jurisdiction over the underlying cause of action. Sires v. State of Washington, 314 F.2d 883, 884 (9th Cir. 1963). Additionally, an injunction against individuals who are not parties to the action is strongly disfavored. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 112 (1969).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Neither Scott Kernan nor anyone else has been formally named as a party to this action. See Zenith Radio Corp., 395 U.S. at 112. Moreover, plaintiff fails to demonstrate either that he is likely to succeed on the merits or that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief in these situations. See Winter, 555 U.S. at 20; Stormans, Inc., 586 F.3d at 1127. Thus, as detailed below, injunctive relief cannot be granted.

         A. Denial of Access to Legal Mail

         In response to plaintiff's allegations that his legal mail was neither being sent nor received (see ECF No. 6 at 1-2), the court directed the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) to contact the appropriate officials at California State Prison-Corcoran (“CSP-Corcoran”) to assess and ensure plaintiff's health and safety as well as to ensure that plaintiff had received his legal mail since March of 2018. See ECF No. 7 (order filed April 27, 2018). On May 7, 2018, the OAG filed a response stating (1) that plaintiff was, in fact, receiving his legal mail, and (2) that his efforts to send legal mail had not been blocked. See ECF No. 10 at 2-3 (stating plaintiff had received fourteen pieces of legal mail and had sent four pieces of legal mail between March 5, 2018 and May 1, 2018); see also ECF No. 10-1 at 2-3, 9-10. In addition, a declaration filed under penalty of perjury by the litigation coordinator at CSP-Corcoran indicates that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (“CDCR”) policy requires that only correspondence with the courts and with the victim compensation board are logged as legal mail. See ECF No. 10-1 at 2; see also ECF No. 11 at 7. Other confidential mail, such as mail to attorneys, mail to elected officials, or mail to legal services organizations, though confidential, is not logged as legal mail. See ECF No. 10-1 at 2-3. As a result, an inmate could review his legal mail log maintained by the prison and mistakenly believe that such confidential mail had not been forwarded to the inmate or sent by prison staff. See id. The log that CSP-Corcoran maintains of plaintiff's legal mail was attached in support of this declaration. See id. at 10. In light of these facts, plaintiff's claims that his mail is being tampered with and/or that as a result, his access to the courts is being affected, appear to be unfounded.

         B. Failu ...


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