United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker United States Magistrate Judge.
U.S.C. § 1983 action is pending before the court on a
complaint and amendment thereto filed by James Abbott, a
state inmate currently incarcerated at the Bullock
Correctional Facility. In this case, Abbott alleges that the
defendants, correctional officers at Bullock, acted with
deliberate indifference to his health when they denied him
access to medical treatment.
October 13, 2017, Abbott filed a motion for preliminary
injunction in which he asserts that defendant McMillian made
verbal threats towards him regarding initiation of this
lawsuit, and he seeks injunctive relief to prevent any
further harassment or intimidation by McMillian. Doc. No. 20
at 1. The defendants filed responses in opposition to the
motion for preliminary injunction. Docs. No. 25 and 21-1.
review of the motion for preliminary injunction and the
responses thereto filed by the defendants, the court
concludes that this motion is due to be denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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 Abbott 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 injunctive relief 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 (1998); 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 (11th Cir.
1990).” Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co.,
268 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001).
motion for preliminary injunction, Abbott asks that the court
ensure his protection from threats or harassment by
McMillian. The defendants advise that McMillian has not been
assigned to Bullock since October 24, 2017, as he reported
for military duty on that date. Doc. No. 29 at 1. This
occurred only a few days after Abbott sought injunctive
relief. The defendants further advise that McMillian is
scheduled to remain on military duty until June 15, 2018, and
may not return to employment at Bullock upon completion of
his military service. Id. In addition, the
defendants argue that the alleged actions of McMillian,
standing alone, violated no constitutional right of Abbott.
to the first prerequisite for issuance of preliminary
injunctive relief, the court finds that Abbott has failed to
demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits
of the claims pending before the court. Abbott likewise fails
to demonstrate a substantial threat that he will suffer the
requisite irreparable injury absent issuance of the requested
preliminary injunction. The third factor, balancing potential
harm to the parties, weighs more heavily in favor of the
defendants, as issuance of the type of relief sought by
Abbott could impede the ability of correctional officials to
maintain security. Finally, the public interest element of
the equation is, at best, a neutral factor at this time.
Thus, Abbott has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating
the existence of each prerequisite necessary to warrant
issuance of preliminary injunctive relief.
it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:
1. The motion for preliminary injunction filed by the
plaintiff be DENIED.
2. This case be referred back the undersigned for additional