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Rodrigues v. Ryan

United States District Court, D. Arizona

September 6, 2016

Anthony L. Rodrigues, Plaintiff,
Charles L. Ryan, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Anthony L. Rodrigues, who is currently confined in the Red Rock Correctional Center (RRCC) in Eloy, Arizona, has filed a pro se civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court is "Plaintiffs Motion for Emergency Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction" (Doc. 129). The Court will construe Plaintiffs filing as a motion for preliminary injunction, and deny it.[1]

         I. Background

         This action arises from alleged constitutional and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations that occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Arizona State Prison (ASP)-Kingman. (Doc. 15.) On screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that Plaintiff stated Eighth Amendment and ADA claims against Defendants Charles L. Ryan, Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC); R. Scott Marquardt, President and CEO of Management Training Corporation; Tara R. Diaz, ADC Contract Beds Bureau Director; and Pamela Rider, Warden at ASP-Kingman's Hualapai Unit, and directed these Defendants to answer the claims against them. (Doc. 16.) The Court dismissed the remaining claims and Defendants. Id.

         The Court subsequently dismissed all of Plaintiffs ADA claims and his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Marquardt. (Doc. 104.) The remaining claims are Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment deliberate-indifference claims against Ryan, Diaz, and Rider based on Plaintiffs assignment to a two-man bunk near where inmates smoked, despite ADC policies prohibiting indoor smoking, resulting in Plaintiffs hospitalization at least twice due to the effects of second-hand smoke.

         After filing this action, Plaintiff was transferred to his current location at RRCC. While at this new location, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Emergency Temporary Restraining Order" in which he sought a bunk reassignment due to alleged exposure to second-hand smoke at RRCC. (Doc. 21.) He also sought restrictions on transfer to another prison and access to legal materials. (Id.) The Court denied that Motion for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that, while some of Plaintiffs alleged issues were factually similar to those alleged in his complaint, "mere similarity of potential future claims does not authorize the Court to order relief outside the scope of the current action." (Doc. 104.)

         II. Motion for Injunctive Relief

         Plaintiff asks the Court "to enjoin and restrain" Defendant Ryan "to cure Defendants' immediate abuses of Plaintiff s federally-protected right to due process and equal protection of the law guaranteed to the Plaintiff by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." (Doc. 129 at 1.) Plaintiff alleges that on May 24, 2016, he began an ADC-mandated Cognitive Restructuring Personal Development Program at RRCC. (Id. at 2.) As a result, he is required "to actively participate and complete a variety of in and out of classroom assignments for a period of six weeks, " and failure to do so will subject him to sanctions, including loss of earned incentive privileges. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that this program is "disrupting ever[y] facet of [his] time sensitive discovery and trial preparation, prejudicing the Plaintiff in this action. (Id.) On May 27, 2016, Plaintiff advised Correctional Officer (CO) III Bolding that he did not want to have to pursue an emergency protective order to obtain a "temporary waiver" from the class, and Bolding responded by saying: "You'll just be moved from this facility." (Id.)[2] Bolding's response caused Plaintiff to experience an acute attack of angina, prompting Bolding to tell him to take a seat and causing Plaintiff to have to take a nitroglycerin tablet in addition to the nitroglycerin patch he already wears to manage his cardiac issues. (Id. at 2-3.) That same day, Bolding delivered more than 800 pages of discovery documents to Plaintiff and advised him that she had spoken to her immediate supervisor, CO IV Hendricks, who reaffirmed that Plaintiffs participation in the Program was mandatory. (Id.) CO III Westmoreland, who was also present, told Plaintiff his medical problems were self-inflicted and he should take up his programming issues with Medical by filing a health needs request (HNR). (Id.) Westmoreland offered to deliver an HNR to Medical personally to expedite the process. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asks the Court to "immediately enjoin and restrain" Ryan and his employees (1) "from mandating Plaintiffs participation in any and all ADC personal development programming and activities during the pendency of the instant action, " (2) "from transferring or removing the Plaintiff from [his] present place of incarceration without first seeking District Court consent, " (3) from taking what could be inferred as retaliatory actions against him and anyone providing him material or testimonial support in this action, and (4) from interfering with Plaintiffs right to compulsory discovery by "seizing Plaintiffs trial preparation material or in any manner frustrating or impeding" his constitutionally protected due process and equal protection rights. (Id. at 3-4.)

         III. Legal Standard

         "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.'" Lopez v. Brewer, 680 F.3d 1068, 1072 (9th Cir. 2012) (quoting Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (per curiam); see also Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must show that (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without an injunction, (3) the balance of equities tips in his favor, and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. Winter, 555 U.S. at 20. "But if a plaintiff can only show that there are 'serious questions going to the merits'-a lesser showing than likelihood of success on the merits-then a preliminary injunction may still issue if the 'balance of hardships tips sharply in the plaintiffs favor, ' and the other two Winter factors are satisfied." Shell Offshore, Inc. v. Greenpeace, Inc., 709 F.3d 1281, 1291 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Cottrell, 632 F.3d 1127, 1135 (9th Cir. 2011)). Under this variant of the Winter test, "[t]he elements . . . must be balanced, so that a stronger showing of one element may offset a weaker showing of another." Lopez, 680 F.3d at 1072.

         Regardless of which standard applies, the movant "has the burden of proof on each element of the test." See Envtl. Council of Sacramento v. Slater, 184 F.Supp.2d 1016, 1027 (E.D. Cal. 2000). Further, there is a heightened burden where a plaintiff seeks a mandatory preliminary injunction, which should not be granted "unless the facts and law clearly favor the plaintiff." Comm. of Cent. Am. Refugees v. INS, 795 F.2d 1434, 1441 (9th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted). The Prison Litigation Reform Act imposes additional requirements on prisoner litigants who seek preliminary injunctive relief against prison officials and requires that any injunctive relief be narrowly drawn and the least intrusive means necessary to correct the harm. 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2); see Gilmore v. People of the State of Cal, 220 F.3d 987, 999 (9th Cir. 2000).

         IV. Discussion

         Defendants argue that, to the extent Plaintiffs Motion addresses events that allegedly occurred at RRCC, not ASP-Kingman, it should be denied because the relief he seeks as to mandatory programming, restrictions on transfers, and access to his legal materials is outside the scope of the operative complaint. (Doc. 142 at 5-6.)[3] They further argue that Plaintiff fails to make the necessary showings for injunctive relief because he fails to show that (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits in this action, (2) he is likely to suffer ...

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