Brelsford v. Connecticut Dept of Corr et al
RULING denying 58 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by Judge Christopher F. Droney on 7/22/2011. (Gothers, M.)(4 pages)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT
CT DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, et al., :
CIVIL ACTION NO.
RULING ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [Dkt. #58]
In the remaining claims in this civil rights action, the plaintiff, Timothy Brelsford,
challenges the lack of grab bars in the Protective Custody Unit showers and in the
restrictive housing unit cells and showers as violating his rights under the Americans
with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. Brelsford seeks a preliminary
injunction preventing any defendant from placing him in the restrictive housing unit.
Interim injunctive relief “is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should
not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of
persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (per curiam) (emphasis,
internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Preliminary injunctive relief is designed
“to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until the court has an
opportunity to rule on the lawsuit’s merits.” Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th
Cir. 1994) (per curiam).
To obtain preliminary injunctive relief, the moving party must establish “(1)
irreparable harm and (2) either (a) a likelihood of success on the merits, or (b)
sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to of its claims to make them fair
ground for litigation, plus a balance of hardships tipping decidedly in favor of the moving
party.” Lynch v. City of New York, 589 F.3d 94, 98 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 415 (2010).
Although a showing that irreparable injury will be suffered before a decision on
the merits may be reached is insufficient by itself to require the granting of a preliminary
injunction, it is nevertheless “the single most important prerequisite.” To demonstrate
irreparable harm, plaintiff must show an “‘injury that is neither remote nor speculative,
but actual and imminent, and one that cannot be remedied if the court waits until the
end of trial to resolve the harm.’” Faiveley Transport Malmo AB v. Wabtec Corp., 559
F.3d 110, 118 (2d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). The court should not take a categorical
approach or assume that the plaintiff will suffer harm. Rather, “the court must actually
consider the injury the plaintiff will suffer if he or she loses on the preliminary injunction
but ultimately prevails on the merits, paying particular attention to whether the
‘remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate
for that injury.’” Salinger v. Colting, 607 F.3d 68, 80 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting eBay, Inc.
v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 547 U.S. 388, 391 (2006)).
If a party seeks a mandatory injunction, i.e., an injunction that alters the status
quo by commanding the defendant to perform a positive act, he must meet a higher
standard. “[I]n addition to demonstrating irreparable harm, “[t]he moving party must
make a clear or substantial showing of a likelihood of success” on the merits, . . . a
standard especially appropriate when a preliminary injunction is sought against
government.” D.D. ex rel. V.D. v. New York City Bd. of Educ., 465 F.3d 503, 510 (2d
Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). Questionable claims would not meet the likelihood of
success requirement. Grupo Mexicano de Desarrollo S.A. v. Alliance Bond Fund, Inc.,
527 U.S. 308, 340 (1999). Here, the plaintiff seeks to change the status quo by
preventing the defendants from sending him to restrictive housing. Thus, he must meet
this higher standard.
Although a hearing is generally required on a properly supported motion for
preliminary injunction, oral argument and testimony are not required in all cases.
Maryland Cas. Co. v. Realty Advisory Bd. on Labor Relations, 107 F.3d 979, 984 (2d
Cir.1997). Where, as here, “the record before a district court permits it to conclude that
there is no factual dispute which must be resolved by an evidentiary hearing, a
preliminary injunction may be granted or denied without hearing oral testimony.” 7
James W. Moore, et al., Moore’s Federal Practice ¶ 65.04 (2d ed. 1995). Upon
review of the record, the court determines that oral testimony and argument are not
necessary in this case.
In his complaint, filed in 2009, the plaintiff alleges that he was sent to the
restrictive housing unit only once, in 2007. The possibility that he will be sent there
again during the pendency of this action is speculative. The plaintiff has not shown that
he will be subject to actual and imminent harm if this motion is denied. The court
concludes that preliminary injunctive relief is not warranted.
The plaintiff’s motion [Dkt. #58] is DENIED.
Dated this 22nd day of July 2011, at Hartford, Connecticut.
/s/ Christopher F. Droney
Christopher F. Droney
United States District Judge
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