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Colbourn v. Done

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 11, 2019

ORRIN TYLER COLBOURN, Plaintiff,
v.
DONE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          KENDALL J. NEWMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff is a prisoner in the Butte County Jail. In his civil rights complaint, plaintiff claims that kitchen staff are poisoning his food and food trays with snake venom. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff claims he is “pissing blood and throwing up poison, ” and despite submitting medical forms and using the emergency button, jail staff refuses to respond. (ECF No. 1 at 3.) The court has not screened plaintiff's complaint because he has not yet complied with this court's November 25, 2019 order.

         II. Plaintiff's Motion

         On December 2, 2019, plaintiff filed a request for temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, again claiming he is being poisoned with snake venom, and asking for unidentified “emergency action to be taken asap.” (ECF No. 7 at 1.) Plaintiff attaches documents stating he has notified various agencies about the alleged violations, including Internal Affairs. Plaintiff also provided a copy of his December 21, 2018 jail grievance in which plaintiff claimed that the State of California had bugged and chipped plaintiff without his permission. (ECF No. 7 at 11.)

         III. Motion for Injunctive Relief

         A. Applicable Law

         A temporary restraining order may issue upon a showing “that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)(1)(A). The purpose of such an order is to preserve the status quo and to prevent irreparable harm “just so long as is necessary to hold a hearing, and no longer.” Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Brotherhood of Teamsters, 415 U.S. 423, 439 (1974). In ruling on a motion for temporary restraining order, district courts apply the same factors used to evaluate a request for preliminary injunctive relief: whether plaintiff “is likely to succeed on the merits, . . . likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, . . . the balance of equities tips in his favor, and . . . an injunction is in the public interest.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); see Stuhlbarg Int'l. Sales Co. v. John D. Brush & Co., 240 F.3d 832, 839 n.7 (9th Cir. 2001) (“Because our analysis is substantially identical for the injunction and the TRO, we do not address the TRO separately.”).

         “A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.” Winter, 555 U.S. at 24 (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. Further, requests for prospective relief are limited by 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(1)(A) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 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.”

         Finally, the pendency of an 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

         Federal Rule 65(b)(1) permits issuance of a temporary restraining order without notice to the adverse party only if:

(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse ...

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