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Murray v. Terry

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division

July 23, 2018

GARLAND MURRAY Plaintiff,
v.
RALPH TERRY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Joseph R. Goodwin, Judge

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the court is Plaintiff's Motion for Emergency Preliminary Injunction [ECF No. 10]. The defendants responded [ECF Nos. 15, 16]. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is DENIED.

         II. Factual and Procedural Background

         The plaintiff, Garland Murray, is an inmate at Mount Olive Correctional Complex (“MOCC”). Compl. ¶ 3 [ECF No. 1]. On May 17, 2018, the plaintiff filed this action against twelve named MOCC employees and John Doe Correctional Officers. Id. ¶¶ 4-6. The Complaint contains seven counts: (1) excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment, (2) inadequate conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment, (3) retaliation in violation of the First Amendment, (4) assault and battery, (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (6) negligence, and (7) spoliation. Id. ¶¶ 89-170 Over the past five years, the plaintiff has filed several lawsuits regarding incidents at MOCC. Pl.'s Mot. for Emer. Prelim. Inj. 1 [ECF No. 10]. The plaintiff believes that MOCC employees are currently retaliating against him for these lawsuits. Id. at 1-2. The plaintiff alleges that in November 2017, without being provoked, MOCC correctional officers sprayed him with pepper spray and then beat him. Id. at 2. Shortly after this incident, MOCC correctional officers allegedly pepper sprayed the plaintiff again, hit his head against a sink multiple times, and held his head under hot water, which exacerbated the effects of the spray. Id. MOCC officers then left the plaintiff in a solitary confinement cell in his wet, contaminated clothing overnight. Id.

         The plaintiff alleges that MOCC employees also told other inmates that he “requested protective custody, thus indicating that he was a ‘snitch.'” Id. at 3. According to the plaintiff, in January 2018, inmates placed feces outside and underneath his cell door. Id. MOCC staff then refused to clean it. Id. Because of his complaints about the feces, the plaintiff was moved to a different cell, which allegedly did not have drinkable water. Id. The plaintiff was left in this cell for nearly two weeks, during which time his only source of water was his toilet. Compl. ¶¶ 76-83. Additionally, on more than one occasion during this period, MOCC staff dumped the plaintiff's food trays onto the floor. Id. ¶ 84. Lastly, the plaintiff alleges that MOCC staff placed him near racist inmates who are associated with his 2013 stabbing at MOCC. Pl.'s Mot. 3.

         Aside from the allegation that MOCC staff placed the plaintiff near racist inmates, the factual allegations in the Motion repeat those outlined in the Complaint. The plaintiff claims that he now suffers from anxiety, depression, and fear, along with physical injuries. Id. The plaintiff has repeatedly requested to be transferred to a different facility, but his requests have been denied. Id. at 3-4.

         On July 12, 2018, the plaintiff filed a motion for an “emergency preliminary injunction.” Id. at 1. The Motion requests that the court enter a preliminary injunction ordering that the plaintiff be transferred from MOCC to a different West Virginia Division of Corrections (“WVDOC”) facility. Id.

         On July 17, 2018, the plaintiff filed a Notice of Supplemental Evidence in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Emergency Injunction [ECF No. 14]. The Notice states that there is additional evidence attached as “Exhibit D, ” but the plaintiff failed to attach anything to the Notice. The Notice states, however, what the attachment supposedly shows. First, it says that it “sets forth one example of Plaintiff's attempts to be transferred to a facility” and defendant Ralph Terry's response that he “will be housed where WVDOC deems applicable and appropriate.” Notice 1. Second, it says that Exhibit D shows that the plaintiff was subjected to “further intimidation” on July 16, 2018. Id. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that:

[he] was suddenly called into a meeting at MOCC in the private security room where [he] was previously beaten which has no video cameras. At least two defendants who were involved in [his] beating, Defendants Smith and Richards, were sitting with other officers in the room. Upon seeing Defendants and the location of the meeting, [he] immediately advised the officer who had escorted him to the meeting that he felt unsafe and he was escorted back to his unit, considerably shaken. [He] has confirmed that he has no outstanding disciplinary matters that would have led to said meeting.

Notice 1-2 (citations omitted).

         In their response, the defendants submitted an incident report dated July 14, 2018, that describes how the plaintiff ripped down a memo which was hanging on the wall and wadded it up. Defs.' Resp. Ex. D, at 1 [ECF 16-4]. According to the defendants, the July 16 meeting was to discuss this incident. Defs.' Resp. 4-5.

         III. Analysis

         A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish [(1)] that he is likely to succeed on the merits, [(2)] that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, [3)] ...


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