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(PC) Williams v. Bell

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 23, 2019

C. BELL, et al., Defendants.


         Plaintiff John Wesley Williams is appearing pro se in this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for an order to show cause and return of property, filed November 18, 2019. Defendants filed a response on December 10, 2019. Plaintiff did not file a reply.



         The purpose of a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo if the balance of equities so heavily favors the moving party that justice requires the court to intervene to secure the positions until the merits of the action are ultimately determined. University of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction [or temporary restraining order] 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.” Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).

         “[A] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (quotations and citations omitted) (emphasis in original). A party seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction simply cannot prevail when that motion is unsupported by evidence.

         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 (1983); Valley Forge Christian Coll. V. Ams. United for Separation of Church and 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.” Plaintiff is not entitled to any relief that is not narrowly drawn to correct the violation of his rights at issue in this action. Plaintiff contends that his property is being “unlawfully withheld” at California State Prison-Corcoran. Plaintiff seeks an “order to show cause and return of all legal case files properties associated with this action that are being unlawfully withheld at California State Prison Corcoran (CSPC) where defendants work or reside.” (ECF No. 112 at 1.) Plaintiff declares, in pertinent part, the following:

About April 2018, I was transfer[r]ed from California State Prison Corcoran (CSPC) to Richard J. Donovan (RJD) where I was recorded to have and maintain four box of legal property which consist of legal case files, exhibits, and evidence in pending civil case no. 1:16-cv-01584-LJO-SAB; 1:17-cv-01310-AWI-JLT; 2:16-cv-03002-JAM-DMC; as well as records related to my current criminal conviction and other miscellaneous legal and personal papers, all meticulously stored in individualized plastic bags recycled from prison lunch meals, then placed in recycled court manilla envelopes for safe keep and storage. Each envelope is labeled by case number and/or brief inscription. In addition to the four legal boxes I am recorded with two box of personal property items which total six (6) boxes.
On or about July 10, 2018, I was summoned from RJD to CSPC to participate in a settlement conference in the instant action before Judge Barbara A. McAuliffe, as well as appear on a criminal case no. 18cm4292 matter in the Kings County Superior Court, and RJD property officials inadvertently forwarded the four legal boxes to CSPC. See Exhibit “A” herein; however, none of such legal property was ever issued to me at CSPC, and upon return to RJD, on August 8, 2018, only three legal boxes had returned from CSPC, see also Exhibit “A”; the fourth arriving a week or so later before returned to me at RJD.
On January 23, 2019, RJD property officer Cowart updated my RJD property card to reflect the six boxes referenced above. See Exhibit “B” herein.
Between January and February 2019, I was heavily engaged in civil discovery in this action, including case no. 2:16-03002-JAM-DMC, which caused an increase in legal property. On February 5, 2019, I was again temporarily transfer[r]ed from RJD to CSPC for court appearance in Kings County Superior Court while the six boxes of legal and personal property referenced was held at RJD.
On about February 15, 2019, CSPC officials manufactured an indecent exposure charge which remanded me to the CSPC indecent exposure program for 90 days, during which time I made countless effort to retrieve the six boxes from RJD while too prosecuting and defending this action, and those referenced, without case file records.
On April 5, 2019, CSPC officer Zapata generated a CDCR 1083, purporting to have inventoried and issued property from RJD, to me on 4-5-19, however, I was held captive in CSPC indecent exposure program from about February 15, 2019, to May 14, 2019, and was “never” issued such property was “never” informed that CSPC had received said property from RJD, and had absolutely no knowledge of such. See Exhibit “C” herein.
In fact, if the Court were to conduct an evidentiary hearing it would be undisputed by mental health progress notes by licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) Edmonds that the unlawful placement and retention in CSPC indecent exposure program without property provoked a series of self injurious behaviors from cutting which prompt referral to ...

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