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Alverson v. Copeland

United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division

August 8, 2014

RODNEY ALVERSON, #132431, Plaintiff,
MS. COPELAND, et al., Defendants




This cause of action is pending before the court on a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint filed by Rodney Alverson [“Alverson”], an indigent state inmate presently incarcerated at the Draper Correctional Facility [“Draper”]. In this case, Alverson challenges the conditions of confinement and various adverse actions taken against him at Draper. Alverson filed motions for preliminary injunction on July 17, 2014 (Doc. No. 17), July 18, 2014 (Doc. No. 22) and July 24, 2014 (Doc. No. 24) in which he seeks preliminary injunctive relief against the correctional defendants for alleged retaliatory actions in refusing to transfer him from Draper, placing him in the restricted privileges dorm, assigning him to the farm squad, failing to provide him an incentive package and issuing him a behavior citation and major disciplinary. The court required a response to these motions from the correctional defendants. In their response, the correctional defendants deny they retaliated against Alverson and maintain that no action has been taken against Alverson as retaliation for the exercise of any constitutional right. Specifically, the correctional defendants assert that Alverson is not entitled to a transfer from Draper and further maintain that the actions about which he complains occurred due to his insubordinate behavior. As for the disciplinary action, the defendants argue any injunctive relief is now moot as the disciplinary has been expunged from Alverson's record.

Upon review of the motions for preliminary injunction and the response to the motions filed by the correctional defendants, the court concludes that the plaintiff’s motions for preliminary injunction are due to be denied.


The decision to grant or deny a preliminary injunction “is within the sound discretion of the district court....” Palmer v. Braun, 287 F.3d 1325, 1329 (11th Cir. 2002). This court may grant a preliminary injunction only if Alverson demonstrates each of the following prerequisites: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a substantial threat irreparable injury will occur absent issuance of the injunction; (3) the threatened injury outweighs the potential damage the requested injunction may cause the non-moving parties; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. Palmer, 287 F.3d at 1329; McDonald’s Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 Cate v. Oldham, 707 F.2d 1176 (11th Cir. 1983); Shatel Corp. v. Mao Ta Lumber and Yacht Corp., 697 F.2d 1352 (11th Cir. 1983). “In this Circuit, ‘[a] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy not to be granted unless the movant clearly established the “burden of persuasion”’ as to the four requisites.” McDonald’s, 147 F.3d at 1306; All Care Nursing Service, Inc. v. Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Inc., 887 F.2d 1535, 1537 (11th Cir. 1989) (a preliminary injunction is issued only when “drastic relief” is necessary); Texas v. Seatrain Int’l, S.A., 518 F.2d 175, 179 (5th Cir. 1975) (grant of preliminary injunction “is the exception rather than the rule, ” and movant must clearly carry the burden of persuasion). The moving party’s failure to demonstrate a “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” may defeat the party’s claim, regardless of the party’s ability to establish any of the other elements. Church v. City of Huntsville, 30 F.3d 1332, 1342 (11th Cir. 1994); see also Siegel v. Lepore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1176 (11th Cir. 2000) (noting that “the absence of a substantial likelihood of irreparable injury would, standing alone, make preliminary injunctive relief improper”). “‘The chief function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the controversy can be fully and fairly adjudicated.’ Northeastern Fl. Chapter of Ass'n of Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fl., 896 F.2d 1283, 1284 (11thCir.1990).” Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001).


Turning to the first prerequisite for issuance of preliminary injunctive relief, the court finds that Alverson has failed to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. Alverson likewise fails to establish a substantial threat that he will suffer the requisite irreparable injury absent issuance of the requested preliminary injunctions. The third factor, balancing potential harm to the parties, weighs more heavily in favor of the correctional defendants as issuance of the injunctions would adversely impact the ability of correctional officials to effectively manage inmates who they believe commit acts of insubordination or other rule violations. Finally, the public interest element of the equation is, at best, a neutral factor at this juncture. Thus, Alverson has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating the existence of each prerequisite necessary to warrant issuance of preliminary injunctive relief.


Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:

1. The motions for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiff on July 17, 2014 (Doc. No.17), July 18, 2014 (Doc. No. 22) and July 24, 2014 (Doc. No. 24) be DENIED.
2. This case be referred back the undersigned for additional proceedings.

It is further

ORDERED that on or before August 25, 2014 the parties may file objections to the Recommendation. Any objection must specifically identify the findings in the Recommendation objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are further advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings in the Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District Court of issues addressed in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings in the report accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982); see Stein v. Reynolds Securities, ...

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