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Ploof v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

July 28, 2014

Jonathan Ploof,
Charles Ryan, et al., Defendants.


DAVID G. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jonathan Ploof, an inmate in the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) in Florence, Arizona, filed this pro se civil rights action. (Doc. 61, Second Amend. Compl. (SAC).) He raises claims regarding alleged failure to provide him with adequate healthcare and deliberate indifference to the fact that the failure to do so has resulted in significant injury to his heart. On screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that Plaintiff adequately stated an Eighth Amendment claim against Director Charles L. Ryan, Facility Health Administrator and Contract Monitor Matthew A. Musson, and Division Director and Health Services Program Evaluation Administrator Richard Pratt and directed them to answer the Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 76.)

Plaintiff has filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction seeking a cardiac diet; Defendants oppose the motion. (Docs. 30, 70.) Plaintiff has also filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order, claiming that prison officials are improperly opening, seizing, and delaying delivery of mail marked confidential legal materials.[1] (Doc. 62, 67.) Again, Defendants oppose the Motion. (Doc. 69.)

The Court will deny the motions.

I. Governing Standards and Analysis

A. Legal Standard

A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy and "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) (per curiam) (quoting 11A C. Wright, A. Miller, & M. Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2948, pp. 129-130 (2d ed. 1995)). An injunction may be granted only where the movant shows 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 Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); Am. Trucking Ass'n, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, 559 F.3d 1046, 1052 (9th Cir. 2009). The movant has the burden of proof on each element of the test. Environmental Council of Sacramento v. Slater, 184 F.Supp.2d 1016, 1027 (E.D. Cal. 2000).

Under the "serious questions" version of the sliding-scale test, a preliminary injunction is appropriate when a plaintiff demonstrates that "serious questions going to the merits were raised and the balance of hardships tips sharply in [plaintiff's] favor." Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1134-35 (9th Cir. 2011), citing Lands Council v. McNair, 537 F.3d 981, 987 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc). This approach requires that the elements of the preliminary injunction test be balanced, so that a stronger showing of one element may offset a weaker showing of another. "[S]erious questions going to the merits' and a balance of hardships that tips sharply towards the plaintiff can support issuance of a preliminary injunction, so long as the plaintiff also shows that there is a likelihood of irreparable injury and that the injunction is in the public interest." Alliance for the Wild Rockies, 632 F.3d at 1135.

A Request for a Temporary Restraining Order is governed by the same general standards that govern the issuance of a preliminary injunction. See New Motor Vehicle Bd. v. Orrin W. Fox. Co., 434 U.S. 1345, 1347 n. 2 (1977); Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist. v. U.S. Dist. Court, 650 F.2d 1004, 1008 (9th Cir. 1982).

In addition, because the function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo pending a determination on the merits, Chalk v. U.S. Dist. Court, 840 F.2d 701, 704 (9th Cir. 1988), there is heightened scrutiny where the movant seeks to alter rather than maintain the status quo. Dahl v. HEM Pharms. Corp., 7 F.3d 1399, 1403 (9th Cir. 1993) (holding that mandatory, as opposed to prohibitory, injunctions are "subject to a heightened scrutiny and should not be issued unless the facts and law clearly favor the moving party").

The Prison Litigation Reform Act also imposes requirements on prisoner litigants who seek preliminary injunctive relief against prison officials. "Preliminary injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm." 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2). Thus, § 3626(a)(2) limits the court's power to grant preliminary injunctive relief to inmates; "no longer may courts grant or approve relief that binds prison administrators to do more than the constitutional minimum." Gilmore v. People of the State of Cal., 220 F.3d 987, 999 (9th Cir. 2000).

B. Motion for a Cardiac Diet

1. Parties' contentions

Plaintiff seeks a cardiac diet, which he asserts has been ordered by an outside cardiac consultant. (Doc. 30.) In January 2014, prison officials proposed a diet that they argue is consistent with Plaintiff's needs; Plaintiff declined the diet. (Doc. 70 at 7.) In his reply to his Motion, Plaintiff claims that the diet was not in fact offered, and he asks the Court to order the approved cardiac diet served at the prison lockdown ward at St. Luke's ...

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