United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. MOORER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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 currently
incarcerated at the Easterling Correctional Facility. In the
instant complaint, Alverson challenges actions taken against
him by correctional officials and an alleged lack of
treatment provided by medical personnel during October and
November of 2016 during his confinement at the Draper
February 6, 2018, Alverson filed a motion for preliminary
injunction in which he alleges that defendant Mills, one of
the correctional defendants, transferred him from Draper to
Easterling in retaliation for filing the instant civil
action. Doc. No. 95. Alverson also maintains that he lost his
parole consideration date, cannot smoke at Easterling and
could have enemies at such facility rendering suicide
“the only option left to [him].” Doc. No. 95 at
2-3. He requests that the “court force the defendants
to transfer him to a different level 4 facility.” Doc.
No. 95 at 3.
February 7, 2018, the court entered an order directing the
defendants to show cause why Alverson's motion for
preliminary injunction should not be granted. Doc. No. 97.
The correctional defendants filed responses to this order on
February 22, 2018, supported by affidavits and relevant
prison records, addressing Alverson's request for
preliminary injunctive relief. Docs. No 100 & 101.
review of the motion for preliminary injunction filed on
February 6, 2018, the responses thereto filed by the
correctional defendants, and well-settled law, the court
concludes that the 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
Alverson meets 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. Id. at 1329;
Parker v. State Bd. of Pardons & Paroles, 275
F.3d 1032, 1034-35 (11th Cir. 2001); Tefel v. Reno,
180 F.3d 1286, 1295 (11th Cir. 1999); McDonald's
Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 (11th Cir.
1998); Cate v. Oldham, 707 F.2d 1176 (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 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting All
Care Nursing Serv., Inc. v. Bethesda Mem. Hosp., Inc.,
887 F.2d 1535, 1537 (11th Cir. 1989)); see Texas v.
Seatrain Int'l, S.A., 518 F.2d 175, 179 (5th Cir.
1975) (holding that a 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 request for injunctive relief,
regardless of the party's ability to establish any of the
other requisite elements. Church v. City of
Huntsville, 30 F.3d 1332, 1342 (11th Cir. 1994); see
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 Fla. Chapter of
Ass'n of Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville,
Fla., 896 F.2d 1283, 1284 (11th Cir. 1990); Suntrust
Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th
their responses to the motion for preliminary injunction, the
correctional defendants deny they violated Alverson's
constitutional rights with respect to his transfer from
Draper to Easterling. Specifically, these defendants assert
that Alverson was transferred to Easterling in January of
2018 “due to the imminent closure of Draper
Correctional Facility.” Doc. No. 101-1 at 2. Based on
the impending closure of Draper, “all inmates [housed
at this facility] are being screened and placed at approved
facilities throughout the State as bed space becomes
available.” Doc. No. 101-1 at 2. The defendants further
assert that “[i]n order for Inmate Alverson to be
properly transferred to another approved facility, factors
such as Health Codes, Mental Health Codes and Enemy locations
had to be verified. Bed space at approved facilities had to
be secured in order to transfer Inmate Alverson, along with
several hundred other inmates, away from Draper Correctional
Facility. Transfer of Inmate Alverson was coordinated between
the Institutional Coordinators and Transfer Agents. . . .
Draper Correctional Facility staff [-including defendant
Mills-] had no input into the placement or transfer of any
inmate to another approved facility.” Doc. No. 101-1 at
2 (citations to record omitted). Finally, the defendants
state that “Easterling Correctional Facility was an
approved, enemy free facility with available bed
space.” Doc. No. 101-1 at 2; Doc. No. 101-1 at 11
(enemy list shows one validated enemy for Alverson who is
assigned to Holman Prison).
respect to Alverson's assertion that he is suicidal, the
defendants submitted an affidavit from Patrick Hampton, a
psychological associate at Easterling, which addresses this
assertion as follows:
On February 7, 2018, Mental Health providers at Easterling
Correctional Facility were made aware that Inmate Rodney
Alverson, AIS 132431, communicated certain threats of
self-harm in a pleading he filed with the Court in the above
styled case. Required consultations were made with contracted
mental health professionals at that time. It was determined
that Mr. Alverson would be placed in a crisis cell on Acute
Suicide Watch (constant watch). He was placed there for
several days. Mr. Alverson was removed from suicidal watch on
Monday, February 12, 2018, per the order of the required
contracted mental health professionals.
Doc. No. 100-1 at 1-2.
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 the claim on which he seeks injunctive relief.
Alverson likewise fails to establish a substantial threat
that he will suffer the requisite irreparable injury absent
issuance of a preliminary injunction. The third factor,
balancing potential harm to the parties, weighs much more
heavily in favor of the defendants as issuance of the
requested injunction would interfere with the ability of
correctional officials to determine the manner in which to
most effectively manage the transfer of inmates from Draper
to other correctional facilities prior to its closure.
Finally, the public interest element of the ...