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Hines v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 23, 2017

Fredrick Dewayne Hines, Plaintiff,
v.
Michelle Smith, Tammy Wherely, David Rhesuis, Shar Mike, Sherilinda Wheeler, Unknown Magadanz, and Dan Meyer, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEVEN E. RAU, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Fredrick Dewayne Hines's (“Hines”) First Motion for Preliminary Injunction [Doc. No. 18];[1] Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 49], Hines's Motions to Amend [Doc. No. 68, 80, 97], [2] and Hines's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (“Second Motion for Preliminary Injunction”) [Doc. No. 99]. This matter was referred for the resolution of pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends denying the Motions for Preliminary Injunction, denying as moot the Motion to Dismiss, and granting Hines's Motions to Amend.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Hines is a prisoner confined in Minnesota Correctional Facility - Oak Park Heights (“MCF-OPH”). (Compl.) [Doc. No. 1 ¶ 3]. He alleges that the Minnesota Department of Corrections (the “DOC”) transferred him from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Stillwater (“MCF-Stillwater”) to MCF-OPH allegedly because of “bed space.” (Id. ¶¶ 11, 13). Hines nevertheless alleges the real reason he was transferred was in retaliation for his filing of federal lawsuits.[3] See (id. ¶¶ 11, 41, 60, 105).

         Hines alleges inmates assigned to cells near him are located there in order to intimidate or kill him. See (id. ¶¶ 18-28, 31, 38, 42, 51, 56, 58, 60, 62-63, 77, 80, 134, 136, 137). Hines alleges that he informed various MCF-OPH employees about the threats on his life, but they took no action. (Compl. ¶¶ 29-30, 39, 45, 48-49, 55-56, 92, 121, 131-32). Instead, Hines alleges that they took further action that endangered his life, such as trying to move him to various areas within MCF-OPH and conspiring with each other and with other inmates to kill him in retaliation for filing a lawsuit. (Id. ¶¶ 31, 34, 37-39, 41-42, 56-57, 60, 63, 65, 68, 106, 108, 141, 147).

         As a result of the actions described above, Hines alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Id. ¶¶ 151-57). Hines seeks (1) declaratory judgment; (2) an injunction ordering him to be transferred to one of three specific facilities, that Defendants and other DOC employees be prohibited from harassing him, filing false reports, opening his mail, and retaliating against him; and (3) compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 32-34).

         B. Procedural Background

         On December 14, 2016, Hines filed a document that the Court construes as a motion for preliminary injunctive relief. (First Mot. for Prelim. Inj.). Defendants responded at the same time they filed their Motion to Dismiss, on April 14, 2016. See (Mem. of Law Opposing Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim. Injunctive Relief, “Mem. in Opp'n to First Mot. for Prelim. Inj.”) [Doc. No. 54]. Hines moved for the appointment of counsel, [4] and purported to file a motion to amend the complaint on May 23, 2017, which Defendants opposed because it contained insufficient information to determine whether an amended or supplemental complaint would be appropriate. (Mot. for Appointment of Counsel) [Doc. No. 58]; (Mot. to Amend-68); (Mem. of Law in Resp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Amend Compl.) [Doc. No. 72]. On June 19, 2017, Hines filed his Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. [Doc. No. 78]. On the same day, Hines again moved to amend his complaint, providing only a list of defendants and additional exhibits. See (Mot. to Amend-80); (Ex. List) [Doc. No. 82]. Defendants again opposed Hines's Motion to Amend because it contained only a list of Defendants. (Defs.' Mem. of Law in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. (Doc. 80)) [Doc. No. 93]. On September 19, 2017, Hines filed what the Court construes as a third Motion to Amend, stating that he wants to abandon his previous attempts to amend his complaint, and seeks amendment on other grounds, namely adding claims that he was raped at MCF-OPH. (Mot. to Amend-97). Defendants have not responded to this most recent filing, likely because it was captioned as a memorandum, not a motion. On October 13, 2017, Hines filed a letter that the Court construes as Hines's Second Motion for Preliminary Injunction, to which Defendants have not yet had an opportunity to respond. The Court considers the most recent Motion to Amend and the Second Motion for Preliminary Injunction sua sponte, even though they are not fully briefed.

         In short, before the Court are three issues: Hines's requests for preliminary injunctive relief, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, and Hines's requests to amend his Complaint. The Court first addresses Hines's requests for injunctive relief, then addresses the remaining motions.

         II. MOTIONS FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIONS

         A. Legal Standard

         A preliminary injunction is issued “to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until the court has an opportunity to rule on the lawsuit's merits.” Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir. 1994) (per curiam).

“[W]hether a preliminary injunction should issue involves consideration of (1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict upon other parties litigant; (3) the probability that [the] movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.”[5]

Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995) (alterations in original) (quoting Dataphase Sys. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981)). “The burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests entirely with the movant.” Id. “[A] party moving for a preliminary injunction must necessarily establish a relationship between the injury claimed in the party's motion and the conduct asserted in the complaint.” Devose, 42 F.3d at 471.

         A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy, and “in the prison context, a request for injunctive relief must always be viewed with great caution because judicial restraint is especially called for in dealing with the complex and intractable problems of prison administration.” Goff, 60 F.3d at 520 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Wickner v. Larson, No. 09-cv-940 (DWF/JJK), 2010 WL 98940, at *2 (D. Minn. Jan. 11, 2010) (Keyes, Mag. J., as adopted by Frank, J.) (noting that reluctance to grant injunctive relief “is particularly pronounced where a state prisoner seeks relief in federal court”).

         B. Analysis

         1. First Motion for Preliminary Injunction

         “While no single [Dataphase] factor is determinative, the probability of success factor is the most significant.” Home Instead, Inc. v. Florance, 721 F.3d 494, 497 (8th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “[A]n injunction cannot issue if there is no chance of success on the merits.” Mid-Am. Real Estate Co. v. Iowa Realty Co., Inc., 406 F.3d 969, 972 (8th Cir. 2005); see also CDI Energy Servs. Inc. v. W. River Pumps, Inc., 567 F.3d 398, 402 (8th Cir. 2009) (stating that “the absence of a likelihood of success on the merits strongly suggests that preliminary injunctive relief should be denied”); McMahon v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 830 F.Supp.2d 674, 688 (D. Minn. 2011) (Schiltz, J.) (“If a party's likelihood of succeeding on the merits is sufficiently low, a court may deny a preliminary injunction even if the other three factors- irreparable harm, balance of harms, and the public interest-weigh in the party's favor.”). Under the Eighth Amendment, ...


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