United States District Court, D. Minnesota
David Le Roy Gamble, Jr., Cyrus Patrick Gladden, II, and all other similarly situated, David James Jannetta, and all other similarly situated, Jerrad William Wailand, and all other similarly situated, Clarence Antonia Washington, Plaintiffs,
Minnesota State Industries, Minnesota Sex Offender Program, Department of Human Services, the State of Minnesota, Emily Johnson Piper, Shelby Richardson, John and Jane Does 1-20, as unknown individuals, Lucinda Jesson, Dennis Benson, Nancy A. Johnston, Shirley Jacobson, Charlie Hoffman, Defendants.
Le Roy Gamble, Jr., Jerrad William Wailand, Clarence Antonia
Washington, Cyrus Patrick Gladden, II, David James Jannetta,
pro se plaintiffs
Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Minnesota Attorney General counsel
Katherine Menendez United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on the plaintiffs' Motion for
a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction.
Mot., ECF No. 87. The plaintiffs submitted a memorandum and
three affidavits in support of their motion. Pls.' Mem.,
ECF No. 88; Gladden Aff., ECF No. 89; Gamble Aff., ECF No.
90; Jannetta Aff., ECF No. 91. The defendants submitted a
memorandum and one affidavit in opposition. Defs.' Mem.,
ECF No. 119; Geil Aff., ECF No. 120. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court denies the motion.
plaintiffs are in the custody of the Minnesota Sex Offender
Program (“MSOP”). Am. Compl., ¶¶ 1,
12-16, ECF No. 79. Each was civilly committed to MSOP custody
at the conclusion of a prison term, and each expects to
remain in MSOP custody for an “indefinite period of
time.” Id., ¶¶ 12-16. All five
plaintiffs have participated in the “Patient Pay
Program, ” a vocational work program at MSOP, and they
allege they have been and will continue to be harmed by the
defendants' wage policies related to their vocational
placements. Id. In the remaining count of their
complaint, they specifically argue that MSOP's failure to
pay them minimum wage violates the Fair Labor Standards Act
instant motion involves a document that they are required to
sign as part of the MSOP's vocational work program.
See Geil Aff., ¶ 2, Ex. A. The plaintiffs
allege that newly revised paperwork is an effort by the
defendants “to force [the plaintiffs] and indeed, all
MSOP patient-workers to relinquish their legal rights to
receipt of the full legally-required minimum wage for their
labors and their constitutional rights as to such
wages” by requiring their agreement “to an
adhesion term incorporating reference to the 50% wage
confiscation at issue in this lawsuit.” Pls.' Mem.
at 1. They seek a ruling that nullifies or renders void and
unenforceable the Client Signed Agreement for Vocational
Programming and Rules, as well as any other contract that
manifests their agreement to earn less than the minimum wage.
Mot. at 1; see Geil Aff., ¶ 2, Ex. A. They
further seek vacation of any job dismissal or suspension
resulting from a patient's refusal to work for less than
minimum wage, reinstatement of any such patients, and pay for
hours they would have worked had they not been dismissed or
suspended. Id. at 2. Finally, they seek to enjoin
the defendants from suspending, terminating, reassigning, or
reducing the hours of any plaintiffs in connection with their
refusal to work for less than minimum wage. Id.
defendants respond that the Court should deny the motion as
unnecessary because the agreement giving rise to the
plaintiffs' concerns “does not, and cannot, affect
or alter [the plaintiffs'] purported rights under the
FLSA and [the defendants] are willing to stipulate to that
fact.” Defs.' Mem. at 4. In essence, the defendants
argue that nothing in the agreement can be read to invalidate
the plaintiffs' FLSA claim, if it is ultimately
successful, and they expressly disavow any plan to argue that
the agreement could limit future recovery. They further argue
that the plaintiffs cannot prevail on any of the factors
required to grant injunctive relief. Id. at 4-9. The
Court agrees that the motion should be denied.
consider four factors when evaluating a motion for a
temporary restraining order (“TRO”) or a
preliminary injunction: “(1) the threat of irreparable
harm to the movant; (2) the state of the balance between this
harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict
on other parties litigant; (3) the probability that movant
will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public
interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys.,
Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir. 1981). But
“[t]he failure to demonstrate irreparable harm is an
independently sufficient ground to deny injunctive
relief.” Jackson v. Macalester Coll.,
16-cv-0448 (WMW/BRT), 169 F.Supp.3d. 918, 921 (8th Cir. 2016)
(citing Watkins, Inc. v. Lewis, 346 F.3d 841, 844
(8th Cir. 2003)); see also Grasso Enter., LLC v. Express
Scripts, Inc., 809 F.3d 1033, 1040 (8th Cir. 2016)
(affirming denial of motion for preliminary injunction where
no irreparable harm shown); Medtronic, Inc. v.
Ernst, 16-cv-244 (JRT/HB), 182 F.Supp.3d 925, 934-35 (D.
Minn. 2016) (denying motion for a temporary restraining order
where no irreparable harm shown); Tokarz v. Mortg. Elec.
Registration Sys., Inc., 17-cv-1022 (WMW/KMM), 2017 WL
3425697, at *1 (D. Minn. Aug. 9, 2017) (denying emergency
injunctive relief where no irreparable harm shown).
harm occurs when a party's injuries cannot be fully
compensated by damages, rendering any available remedy
inadequate. Gen. Motors Corp. v. Harry Brown's,
LLC, 563 F.3d 312, 319 (8th Cir. 2009). “In order
to demonstrate irreparable harm, a party must show that the
harm is certain and great and of such imminence that there is
a clear and present need for equitable relief.”
Novus Franchising, Inc. v. Dawson, 725 F.3d 885, 895
(8th Cir. 2013). “Possible or speculative harm is not
enough.” Graham Webb Intern. V. Helene Curtis
Inc., 98-cv-603 (DSD/JMM), 17 F.Supp.2d 919, 924 (D.
plaintiffs here do not demonstrate a threat of irreparable
harm. They argue that “the continuing deprivation of
constitutional rights constitutes irreparable harm, ”
but fail to establish how the agreement out of which their
concerns arise is in fact depriving them of any
constitutional or statutory rights. See Pls.'
Mem. at 6. As explained by the defendants, the agreement does
not require consent to receive illegal wages or a waiver of
any rights associated with payment, but instead only
indicates an understanding of the pay structure and an
agreement to participate in and follow the rules of
vocational programming. Geil Aff., ¶ 2, Ex. A at 3. The
defendants assert that they “cannot alter [the
plaintiffs'] FLSA rights (if any) by contract, and will
make no such argument in the litigation.” Defs.'
Mem. at 5.
the asserted harm of wage-loss is not irreparable-the
plaintiffs seek these very unpaid wages with interest as
damages. See Am. Compl. at 54. Though the plaintiffs
allege that if they prevail on their FLSA claim, they could
not receive any relief for hours they would have worked but
for their refusal to sign the agreement, they do not provide
any support to raise this assertion beyond the speculative
level. See Pls.' Mem. at 7; Pls.' Reply at
21, ECF No. 122.
the plaintiffs argue in their reply that “many who
applied for and/or previously held such jobs ceased their
application process or resigned their positions rather than
sign that Agreement. Distinctly, many simply did not apply
for such positions because they were aware that signature of
that Agreement was required.” Id. But those
individuals are not parties to this litigation. And
“judicial power exists only to redress or otherwise
protect against injury to the complaining party, even though
the court's judgment may benefit others
collaterally.” Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490,
499, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 2205 (1975). Though the plaintiffs note