United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [DKT. NO.
21], OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS [DKT. NO. 28], AND
DENYING MOTION FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [DKT. NO.
M. KEELEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
3, 2017, the pro se plaintiff, Donte Parrish
(“Parrish”), filed a complaint pursuant to the
Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 et
seq. (“FTCA”), alleging claims of false
imprisonment, abuse of process, intentional infliction of
emotional distress, negligence, and malicious prosecution
related to the BOP's investigation of a 2009 incident at
USP Hazelton, and his placement in various Special Management
Units (“SMUs”) during the pendency of that
investigation (Dkt. No. 1). Parrish seeks $5, 000, 000.00 in
damages. Id. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and
the local rules, the Court referred this matter to United
States Magistrate Judge Michael J. Aloi for initial screening
and a report and recommendation (“R&R”).
Order entered on June 19, 2017, Magistrate Judge Aloi
directed Parrish to pay an initial partial filing fee
(“IPFF”) within 28 days (Dkt. No. 11). On July
18, 2017, Parrish moved for an extension of time in which to
pay the IPFF (Dkt. No. 13), which Magistrate Judge Aloi
granted (Dkt. No. 14). On September 8, 2017, Parrish filed a
second motion for an extension of time in which to pay the
IPFF, along with a motion to proceed without paying the fee
(Dkt. No. 16). He also filed a motion for a temporary
restraining order (“TRO”) or preliminary
injunction (Dkt. No. 17). The motion for a TRO or preliminary
injunction requested (1) that he be permitted more law
library time, (2) that he have access to his legal work and
Disciplinary Hearing Officer reports, (3) that the prison
Trust Account Officer pay his IPFF to the Court,
(4) that he not be placed in the Special Management Unit
(“SMU”) (Dkt. No. 17).
Judge Aloi's R&R recommended that the Court deny the
motion because Parrish had not established his entitlement to
a preliminary injunction pursuant to the four-factor test
articulated in Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008) (Dkt. No. 21). Specifically,
the R&R concluded that Parrish had not established a
likelihood of success on the merits, as required by the first
factor in Winter (Dkt. No. 21 at 4). Parrish filed
timely objections to the R&R (Dkt. No. 28).
preliminary injunction is proper when the plaintiff can
“ establish that he is likely to succeed on the
merits,  that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in
the absence of preliminary relief,  that the balance of
equities tips in his favor, and  that an injunction is in
the public interest.” Winter, 555 U.S. at 20.
“[A]ll four requirements must be satisfied, ”
Real Truth About Obama, Inc. v. FEC, 575 F.3d 342,
346 (4th Cir. 2009), and “[a] preliminary injunction
shall be granted only if the moving party clearly establishes
entitlement.” Di Biase v. SPX Corp., 872 F.3d
224, 230 (4th Cir. 2017).
Court is mindful of the fact that "[a] preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of
right." Winter, 555 U.S. at 24 (citing
Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90 (2008)). A
preliminary injunction is a remedy that is “granted
only sparingly and in limited circumstances.” Micro
Strategy, Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., 245 F.3d 335, 339 (4th
Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks omitted). In the prison
context, courts should grant preliminary injunctive relief
involving the management of correctional institutions
“only under exceptional and compelling
circumstances.” Asemani v. Warden, No. CV
RDB-16-1170, 2017 WL 1194173, at *2 (D. Md. Mar. 30, 2017)
(citing Taylor v. Freeman, 34 F.3d 266, 269 (4th
reviewing a magistrate judge's R&R, the Court must
review de novo the portions to which an objection is
timely made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). Moreover, the
pleadings and objections of a pro se plaintiff are
entitled to liberal construction. See DiPilato v.
7-Eleven, Inc., 662 F.Supp.2d 333, 340 (S.D.N.Y. 2009)
(noting that pro se objections should be
“accorded leniency” and “construed to raise
the strongest arguments that they suggest” (internal
quotation omitted)). Having conducted a de novo
review of Parrish's request in light of the factors
outlined in Winter and his pro se
objections to the R&R, the Court concludes that he is not
entitled to the equitable relief he seeks.
as the magistrate judge correctly concluded, Parrish has not
shown that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his FTCA
claims. Although the defendant has not yet responded to
Parrish's claims, “[i]t is well-accepted that
courts afford federal prison administrators wide berth in
deciding issues of prison management and security.”
Holloway v. Coakley, No. 2:17CV74, 2018 WL 1287417,
at *4 (N.D. W.Va. March 3, 2018) (citing Hewitt v.
Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467 (1983)). Unless “a clear
violation of constitutional rights is occurring, ”
courts will not intervene. Id. Indeed, “[e]ven
where there has been a finding on the merits that
unconstitutional conditions exist, federal courts should
proceed cautiously and incrementally in ordering remediation
so as not to assume the role of prison administrators.”
Taylor v. Freeman, 24 F.3d 266, 269 (4th Cir. 1994).
Parrish “has no constitutional right to remain in the
general population or not to be transferred to the
SMU.” Holloway, 2018 WL 1287417, at *4 (citing
Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 223-24 (1976)).
Placement in a SMU also does “not constitute a dramatic
departure from the accepted standards for conditions of
confinement such that due process [is] implicated.”
Id. (quoting Robinson v. Norwood, 535
Fed.Appx. 81, 83-84 (3d. Cir. 2013)). Therefore, Parrish has
failed to establish that he is likely to succeed on the
merits of his claims.
even had Parrish shown a likelihood of success on the merits,
he has failed to establish irreparable harm in the absence of
preliminary relief. In his objections, Parrish argues that,
if he is “sent [back] to the SMU, [he] will be
basically forfeiting [his] claim, ” because
“researching and responding to motions [will be]
utterly impossible” (Dkt. No. 28 at 3). On the
contrary, since filing his motion for a TRO or preliminary
injunction, Parrish has also filed a motion to seal (Dkt. No.
25), objections to Magistrate Judge Aloi's R&R (Dkt.
No. 28), a motion for leave to file an amended complaint
(Dkt. No. 34), an amended complaint (Dkt. No. 39), a
memorandum of evidence (Dkt. No. 51), and a motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. No. 63).
Parrish has failed to establish that the balance of equities
tips in his favor, or that an injunction would be in the
public interest. While Parrish argues that “[t]he
public has an interest in knowing the law will protect him
from overzealous and retaliatory defendants” (Dkt. No.
28 at 5), the Court also recognizes that “the public
most certainly has an interest in the effective management of
the prison system, both for the safety of the general public
and those in the prison system.” Holloway,
2018 WL 1287417, at *7. Indeed, “[t]here is a strong
public interest in allowing the BOP to perform its function,
and the inherent discretion that accompanies this function,