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Hill v. Kelly

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

January 24, 2018




         This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff Brian Hill, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable P. K. Holmes, III, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation. Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 6) and his Motion to Supplement Motion for Emergency Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 10).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Corrections (“ADC”) Tucker Unit. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Emergency Injunction and Memorandum Brief in Support of the Motion on August 18, 2017. (ECF Nos. 6, 7). Plaintiff filed a Motion to Supplement his Motion for Injunctive Relief on August 28, 2017, stating the Supplement was intended to “[e]nsure the terms of the injunction are clearly outlined and understood for the Court.” (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff alleges he has a “hit” out on him by the Aryan Gang, and as a result continues to be involved in altercations with Gang members, which have unfairly resulted in disciplinary convictions against him. These disciplinary convictions have resulted in him losing Inmate Class Status and have prevented him from being released. Plaintiff alleges he has asked repeatedly to be placed in protective custody, but has continued to be housed in general population. (ECF Nos. 6, 7, 10). Plaintiff alleges this has caused him “severe pain, suffering, mental pain and suffering, irreparable harm and injury, loss of freedom, and damage beyond repair.” (ECF No. 10 at 4). Plaintiff seeks the following actions from the Court with this injunction:

1. to be housed in protective custody at Delta Regional Unit;
2. to have his Class I or Class II status restored and be placed on the Parole Board hearing to be released as soon as possible;
3. to be protected from harm, threats, and any punishment by disciplinary charges or other punishment by ADC staff;
4. to be kept separate from any known or unknown Aryan Gang or other gang members in general population. (ECF No. 10 at 1-2).

         Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint was filed on filed on October 5, 2017, in response to an Order by the Court. (ECF No. 17).


         Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures governs the issuance of temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. In deciding a motion for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, the courts are instructed to consider the following factors: (1) the probability of success on the merits; (2) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (3) the balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other interested parties; and (4) whether the issuance of an injunction is in the public interest. Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 114 (8th Cir. 1981) (en banc); see also Minnesota Mining and Mfg. Co. v. Rauh Rubber, Inc., 130 F.3d 1305, 1307 (8th Cir. 1997); Sanborn Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Campbell Hausfeld/Scott Fetzer Co., 997 F.2d 484, 485-86 (8th Cir. 1993). While no single factor in itself is dispositive, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has held “the two most critical factors for a district court to consider in determining whether to grant a preliminary injunction are (1) the probability that plaintiff will succeed on the merits, and (2) whether the plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if an injunction is not granted.” Chicago Stadium Corp. v. Scallen, 530 F.2d 204, 206 (8th Cir. 1976). The burden of proving a preliminary injunction is warranted rests on the movant. Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995). Further, the Eighth Circuit has instructed that “in the prison context, a request for injunctive relief must always be viewed with great caution because judicial restraint is especially called for in dealing with the complex and intractable problems of prison administration.” Id. (internal quotations omitted).


         a. Probability of Success on the Merits.

         The Court cannot grant the specific items of injunctive relief requested by Plaintiff. Plaintiff's claims concerning his disciplinary charges and Class Status are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). In Heck, the Supreme Court held that a claim for damages for "allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid" is not cognizable until "the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized ...

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