Hoyt v. Kernan

Filing 13

ORDER Denying Without Prejudice Plaintiff's 9 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Without Prejudice. Signed by Judge Marilyn L. Huff on 5/17/2018. (mpl)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 JOHNAE HOYT, Case No.: 3:18-cv-0716-H-BLM Plaintiff, 12 13 14 21 SCOTT KERNAN, in his official capacity as Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; Lieutenant JASON ALTSCHULER; COUNSELOR DOE #1; PSYCHOLOGIST DOE #1; PSYCHIATRIST DOE #1; MENTAL HEALTH PERSONNEL DOES #1-10; Correctional Officer CESAR SIGALA; and the INSTITUTION CLASSIFICATION COMMITTEE, in their official capacities, 22 ORDER DENYING WITHOUT PREJUDICE PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION v. Defendants. 15 16 17 18 19 20 [Doc. No. 9] 23 24 On May 16, 2018, Plaintiff Johnae Hoyt (“Plaintiff”), a state inmate currently housed 25 at Salinas Valley State Prison (“SVSP”) 1 in Soledad, California, and represented by 26 counsel, filed an amended complaint in this matter. (Doc. No. 9.) Attached to that pleading 27 28 1 See https://inmatelocator.cdcr.ca.gov/Results.aspx (website last visited Mar. 16, 2018) 1 3:18-cv-0716-H-BLM 1 was a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. (See Doc. No. 2 9-2.) For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies the motion without prejudice. 3 BACKGROUND 4 Plaintiff seeks a temporary restraining order “undoing” his transfer to SVSP pending 5 his administration appeal of certain disciplinary action. (Doc. No. 9-2.) Plaintiff alleges 6 that, as an inmate at Richard J. Donovan State Prison (“RJDSP”) in San Diego, California, 7 he was found guilty of having a weapon in his cell. (Doc. No. 9 ¶ 8.) Plaintiff alleges that 8 Defendant correctional officer Cesar Sigala (“Defendant Sigala”) planted the weapon in 9 Plaintiff’s cell in retaliation for an excessive force complaint Plaintiff made against another 10 correctional officer. 11 Altschuler (“Defendant Altschuler”) denied Plaintiff’s requests to call witnesses to the 12 disciplinary hearing on the weapon charge. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 16.) Moreover, Plaintiff disputes 13 his current level of medical treatment at SVSP. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Lieutenant 14 On April 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint against California Department of 15 Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) Secretary Scott Kernan in his official capacity 16 (“Defendant Kernan”). (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff also filed a motion for leave to proceed in 17 forma pauperis, which the Court denied. (Doc. Nos. 1, 6.) Performing sua sponte 18 screening, the Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim 19 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. No. 6.) The Court also denied Plaintiff’s motion 20 for injunctive relief, concluding that Plaintiff had not shown a likelihood of success on the 21 merits and that the Court lacked jurisdiction over Defendant Kernan, who had no actual 22 notice of Plaintiff’s complaint or the motion for injunctive relief. (Id. at 6-7.) 23 On May 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint, alleging that Defendant 24 Sigala violated Plaintiff’s First Amendment right by planting a gun in his cell in retaliation 25 for Plaintiff’s excessive force complaint, and that Defendant Altschuler violated Plaintiff’s 26 due process right by denying Plaintiff’s request to call witnesses to the prison disciplinary 27 hearing. (Doc. No. 9 ¶¶ 25-26.) Defendant Kernan remains a named defendant who, 28 Plaintiff alleges, has authority to approve or deny a prisoner’s transfer. (See id. ¶ 2.) 2 3:18-cv-0716-H-BLM 1 Attached to the complaint is a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary 2 injunction. (Doc. No. 9-2.) In the motion, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief ordering that his 3 transfer to SVSP “be undone” until prison officials act on his administrative appeal. (Id. 4 at 2.) 5 DISCUSSION 6 “The standard for issuing a temporary restraining order is identical to the standard 7 for issuing a preliminary injunction.” Lockheed Missile & Space Co. v. Hughes Aircraft 8 Co., 887 F. Supp. 1320, 1323 (N.D. Cal. 1995). “A plaintiff seeking a preliminary 9 injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer 10 irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his 11 favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest.” Glossip v. Gross, 135 S. Ct. 2726, 12 2736-37 (2015) (quoting Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)). 13 Based on the present record, including Plaintiff’s factual allegations, declaration, 14 and arguments, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has made an insufficient showing that the 15 requested injunctive relief is warranted at this time. 16 possessing a weapon in his cell at RJDSP and was subsequently transferred to a maximum 17 security prison. (Doc. No. 9-2 at 3.) “It is well settled that the decision where to house 18 inmates is at the core of prison administrators’ expertise.” McKune v. Lile, 536 U.S. 24, 19 39 (2002); see also Jones v. Donovan, No. 3:17-CV-2454, 2018 WL 1035214, at *3 (S.D. 20 Cal. Feb. 23, 2018) (“Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to be housed in the 21 institution of his choice.” (citing Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 249 (1983))). 22 Moreover, the Court has considered Plaintiff’s declaration regarding his medical treatment 23 at SVSP. (Doc. No. 9-3.) Given the amended complaint’s addition of various DOE 24 medical personnel defendants, (Doc. No. 9), it is clear that Plaintiff has indeed been seeing 25 medical personnel at SVSP but disagrees with the treatment he has received. At most, 26 Plaintiff complains that he is not receiving rehabilitation, but he has not shown that this 27 constitutes irreparable harm. And although Plaintiff has not alleged an Eighth Amendment 28 deliberate indifference claim regarding his medical treatment at SVSP, it bears noting that Plaintiff was found guilty of 3 3:18-cv-0716-H-BLM 1 “[a] difference of opinion between a prisoner-patient and prison medical authorities 2 regarding treatment does not give rise to a § 1983 claim.” Franklin v. State of Or., State 3 Welfare Div., 662 F.2d 1337, 1344 (9th Cir. 1981). 4 It remains to be seen whether this matter should proceed before the Court, 5 considering that Plaintiff is housed outside the Southern District at SVSP in Soledad, 6 California. At any rate, Plaintiff is represented by counsel, who can develop the record 7 regarding the issues raised in the amended complaint. Defendants, for their part, have not 8 yet been served with the amended complaint and will be free to move for a transfer of 9 venue, if appropriate. 10 CONCLUSION 11 For the reasons discussed above, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE 12 Plaintiff’s motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. (Doc. No. 9.) 13 14 15 16 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: May 17, 2018 MARILYN L. HUFF, District Judge UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 4 3:18-cv-0716-H-BLM

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