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Worth v. Wamsley

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

April 4, 2017

WILLIAM A. WORTH, II, Plaintiff,
v.
BRENDA WAMSLEY, et al., Defendants.

          Algenon L. Marbley Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          ELIZABETH A. PRESTON DEAVERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action in which Plaintiff, William A. Worth II, an Ohio inmate proceeding without the assistance of counsel, alleges that Defendants[1] violated his constitutional rights to meaningful access to the courts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court for consideration Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction and/or in the Alternative, for a Temporary Restraining Order. (ECF No. 11.) For the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff's Motion be DENIED.

         On January 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action, asserting a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants based on an alleged policy to deny indigent Ohio prisoners notary services in order to deny them meaningful access to the courts. (ECF No. 1; the “Complaint” or “Compl.”) More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, employees of Pickaway Correctional Institution (“PCI”), improperly denied him notarization of the requisite court affidavit for filing indigent motion papers in Ohio State Court, requesting instead that Plaintiff submit a form from the prison cashier and a six month financial certification and statement of his prison account. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' conduct violated his substantive and procedural due process rights to meaningful access to the courts. Plaintiff further alleges that he complained about the violations and exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing this action.

         On March 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed the subject Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. (ECF No. 11; “Pl.'s Mot.”.) Plaintiff alleges that prison officials are refusing to allow another inmate, Christopher R. Bruggeman (“Bruggeman”), who is disabled and wheelchair dependent, access to the main law library on the second floor of PCI. Plaintiff asserts that disabled and handicapped inmates are only provided access to the law computer and legal materials in a “make-shift law library” within the unit in which they are housed, separate and apart from the main law library. (Pl.'s Mot. 3.) Plaintiff further asserts that if his Motion is not granted, he will suffer irreparable harm as “Bruggeman is the only inmate [in PCI] capable of assisting Worth in effectively and meaningfully prosecuting this suit in court.” (Pl.'s Mot. 6.)

         II. STANDARD

         Plaintiff requests a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(a) and (b) permit a party to seek injunctive relief when the party believes it will suffer immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a) and (b).

         A district court considering the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction must consider and balance the following four factors:

(1) whether the movant has shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) whether the movant will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not issued;
(3) whether the issuance of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and
(4) whether the public interest would be served by issuing the injunction.

Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban Cty. Gov., 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing Leary v. Daeschner, 228 F.3d 729, 736 (6th Cir. 2000). “These factors are not prerequisites, but are factors that are to be balanced against each other.” Id. “Although no one factor is controlling, a finding that there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits is usually fatal.” Gonzales v. National Bd. of Med. Exam'rs, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted); see also Michigan State AFL-CIO v. Miller, 103 F.3d 1240, 1249 (6th Cir. 1997) (“While, as a general matter, none of these four factors are given controlling weight, a preliminary injunction issued where there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits must be reversed.”).

         A movant's burden is even more difficult to satisfy where, as here, a prison inmate seeks an injunction to obtain affirmative relief beyond maintenance of the status quo. See 18 U.S.C. § 3626(a)(2) (“In any civil action with respect to prison conditions . . . [p]reliminary 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.”); Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981) ...


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