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Alverson v. Mills

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 24, 2018

RODNEY ALVERSON, #132431, Plaintiff,
v.
LORENZO MILLS, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENTION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          TERRY F. MOORER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action is currently pending before the court on a complaint filed by Rodney Alverson, an indigent state inmate currently incarcerated at Easterling Correctional Facility. In the instant complaint, Alverson, a frequent federal litigant, challenges the constitutionality of his transfer to Easterling as retaliation for his legal activities.

         On March 13, 2018, Alverson filed a motion for preliminary injunction requesting prompt employment in the furniture plant operated by the Alabama Department of Corrections in Elmore, Alabama and transfer from Easterling to a facility which would allow him the opportunity to work at the furniture plant. Doc. 14 at 2. Alverson filed a second motion for preliminary injunction on March 23, 2018 in which he challenges the lack of security at Easterling and seeks issuance of an order requiring defendant Jefferson Dunn, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections, to immediately reduce the number of inmates in each dorm at Easterling and hire additional correctional officers. Doc. 16 at 1-2.

         The court entered orders directing the defendants to show cause why Alverson's motions for preliminary injunctive relief should not be granted. Docs. 15 & 17. The defendants filed responses to Alverson's motions on April 30, 2018. Docs. 35 & 36. These responses are supported by evidentiary materials attached to the defendants' special report and defendant Dunn's response. Docs. 34-1 through 34-7 & 36-1.

         Upon review of the motions for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiff, the defendants' responses thereto and well-settled law, the court concludes that these motions are due to be denied.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         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 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 Cir. 2001).

         III. DISCUSSION

         In their responses to the motions for preliminary injunction, the defendants deny any violation of Alverson's constitutional rights with respect to either his transfer to Easterling or the conditions at this facility. Defendant Brittny Bates, a classification supervisor, addresses Alverson's first motion for preliminary injunction challenging his transfer to Easterling, in pertinent part, as follows:

[Due to the imminent closure of Draper Correctional Center], transfer orders were generated via Transfer Agents and Movement Orders at Draper . . . were created accordingly. Due to a risk of breach in the safety and security of any given facility within the Alabama Department of Corrections, under no circumstances is any inmate ever apprised of a pending transfer to another facility.
. . .
Inmate Alverson[] was transferred to Easterling Correctional Facility due to that facility being an approved, enemy free facility with available bed space. Inmate Alverson was transferred to Easterling Correctional Facility on January 26, 2018 along with other inmates via Transfer Agents per [orders of] Institutional Coordinators. Strict criteria was used to screen each inmate before any transport occurred to another facility. Retaliation, as stated by Inmate Alverson was not a guideline nor criteria for transfer to Easterling Correctional Facility from Draper Correctional Facility due to [Draper's] imminent closure.
. . . Inmate Alverson's transfer to Easterling was not a form of punishment but occurred due to the imminent closure ...

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