Cejas v. Paramo et al

Filing 73

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION re 46 Motion for Preliminary Injunction by Andrew A. Cejas. Court recommends that the motion for preliminary injunction be denied. Objections to R&R due by 8/10/2018. Replies due by 8/17/2018. Signed by Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo on 7/9/2018. (All non-registered users served via U.S. Mail Service) (jah)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 ANDREW CEJAS, Case No.: 14-CV-1923-WQH-WVG Plaintiff, 12 13 14 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION v. DANIEL PARAMO, et al., 15 Defendants. [ECF NO. 46] 16 17 18 Presently before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction. (Mot., 19 ECF No. 46.) Having considered the motion and Defendant’s response in opposition, the 20 Court RECOMMENDS Plaintiff’s motion be DENIED. 21 I. BACKGROUND 22 Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 23 § 1983 on August 15, 2014 that alleged, in part, a violation of his First Amendment right 24 to practice his Buddhist religion on the basis that Defendant’s unlawfully confiscated 25 Plaintiff’s altar cloth and pendant, both of which contained swastikas. On December 1, 26 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking a mandatory preliminary injunction, requesting the 27 Court to order Defendants to return the confiscated items. On January 10, 2018, Defendants 28 filed an opposition to the motion. (Def’s Opp’n, ECF No. 48.) 1 14-CV-1923-WQH-WVG 1 II. LEGAL STANDARD 2 A preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded 3 upon a clear showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. 4 Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 22 (2008). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must 5 establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable 6 harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and 7 that an injunction is in the public interest.” Id. at 20. The first, and most important, factor 8 of the Winter test is the plaintiff’s burden to show a likelihood of success on the merits. 9 See Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733, 740 (9th Cir. 2015). When “a plaintiff has failed 10 to show the likelihood of success on the merits, [the court] need not consider the remaining 11 three Winter elements.” Ass’n des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Harris, 729 12 F.3d 937, 944 (9th Cir. 2013) (internal quotation omitted). 13 Injunctive relief is treated as a mandatory injunction when “it orders a responsible 14 party to take action.” Garcia, 786 F.3d at 740. Where, as here, a plaintiff seeks a mandatory 15 injunction, the burden is “doubly demanding” because the plaintiff “must establish that the 16 law and facts clearly favor” his position, “not simply that [he] is likely to succeed.” Id. 17 (emphasis in original). The Ninth Circuit has cautioned that “a mandatory injunction goes 18 well beyond simply maintaining the status quo pendente lite and is particularly disfavored.” 19 Id. 20 III. DISCUSSION 21 Plaintiff asserts he “can establish that Defendants violated his burden [sic] to practice 22 his Buddhist religion by preventing him from engaging in mandated prostration and 23 meditation with his Buddhist Altar [cloth] every day[.]” (Mot. at 8.) However, outside of 24 this conclusory statement, Plaintiff does nothing to substantiate this assertion. Plaintiff fails 25 to explain how any of the items he seeks or the rituals he wishes to perform are essential 26 to the practice of his religion. Additionally, Plaintiff fails to articulate how the absence of 27 the confiscated items prevents him from practicing the Buddhist faith. Accordingly, the 28 Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to establish he has a likelihood of succeeding on the 2 14-CV-1923-WQH-WVG 1 merits. Moreover, Plaintiff has failed to show that the law and facts clearly favor his 2 position as required for a mandatory injunction. 3 Although the Court need not consider the other factors, it notes that Plaintiff has also 4 failed to establish a likelihood of irreparable harm. Plaintiff claims he will suffer 5 irreparable harm without the issuance of an injunction. (Mot. at 9.) In similarly conclusory 6 fashion, Plaintiff claims his First Amendment rights were violated and such violations 7 constitute irreparable injury because they cannot be adequately remedied through damages, 8 citing Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, 586 F.3d 1109, 1138 (9th Cir. 2009). (Id. at 10.) While the 9 Court agrees with this statement in the abstract, Plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood 10 of success that his rights have been violated in this case that may lead to irreparable harm. 11 Defendants also argue that Plaintiff is not entitled to a preliminary injunction 12 because Plaintiff is seeking the same relief that he is also seeking in his complaint. (Def’s 13 Opp’n at 3.) In his complaint, Plaintiff seeks a court order requiring Defendants to allow 14 Plaintiff to retain his “altar cloth and Buddhist swastika pendant[.]” (ECF No. 1 at 35.) 15 Seeking a preliminary injunction is premature when the relief sought by the preliminary 16 injunction is the same as the relief ultimately sought at the conclusion of the case at hand. 17 See Strickland v. Godinez, 104 F.Supp. 3d 940, 944 (S.D. Ill. 2015). Accordingly, the Court 18 also finds Plaintiff’s request to also be premature. 19 Since Plaintiff has failed to show the law and facts clearly favor his position, and 20 that Plaintiff’s motion is premature, Plaintiff is not entitled to the extraordinary relief of a 21 preliminary injunction at this stage of the proceedings. 22 IV. CONCLUSION 23 For the foregoing reasons, the Court RECOMMENDS that the motion for 24 preliminary injunction be DENIED. This Report and Recommendation will be submitted 25 to the United States District Judge assigned to this case, pursuant to the provisions of 28 26 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(1988) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b). 27 IT IS ORDERED that no later than August 10, 2018, any party to this action may 28 file written objections with the Court and serve a copy on all parties. The document shall 3 14-CV-1923-WQH-WVG 1 be captioned “Objections to Report and Recommendation.” 2 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any reply to the objections shall be filed with 3 the Court and served on all parties no later than August 17, 2018. The parties are advised 4 that failure to file objections within the specified time may waive the right to raise those 5 objections on appeal of the Court’s order. Martinez v. Ylst, 951 F.2d 1153 (9th Cir. 1991). 6 7 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: July 9, 2018 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 14-CV-1923-WQH-WVG

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