Giles v. Neal
MEMORANDUM ORDER. Plaintiff's emergency motion, construed as a motion for injunctive relief (D.I. 7 ) is denied. Signed by Judge Sue L. Robinson on 1/9/2017. (lmm) Modified on 1/9/2017 (lmm).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
WARDELL LEROY GILES,
) Civ. No. 16-1037-SLR
At Wilmington this 'ti"day of January, 2017, having considered plaintiff's
emergency motion, construed as a motion for injunctive relief (0.1. 7);
IT IS ORDERED that the motion (0.1. 7) is denied, for the reasons that follow:
1. Background. Plaintiff Wardell Leroy Giles ("plaintiff"), a prisoner
incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC"), Smyrna, Delaware,
filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendant Kirk Neal
("Neal") and other officers orchestrated plaintiff's assault by another inmate. (0.1. 1)
On December 15, 2016, plaintiff filed an emergency motion, construed as a motion for
injunctive relief stating that he "fears for his life and safety at SCI." (0.1. 7) Plaintiff was
housed at the Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI") in Georgetown, Delaware when he
filed the motion. He has since been transferred to the VCC.
2. Standard. A preliminary injunction is "an extraordinary remedy that should
be granted only if (1) the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) denial will result
in irreparable harm to the plaintiff; (3) granting the injunction will not result in irreparable
harm to the defendant; and (4) granting the injunction is in the public interest."
NutraSweetCo. v. Vit-MarEnterprises, Inc., 176 F.3d 151,153 (3d Cir. 1999)
("NutraSweet 1/"). The elements also apply to temporary restraining orders. See
NutriSweet Co. v. Vit-Mar Enterprises., Inc., 112 F.3d 689, 693 (3d Cir. 1997)
("NutraSweet /") (a temporary restraining order continued beyond the time permissible
under Rule 65 must be treated as a preliminary injunction, and must conform to the
standards applicable to preliminary injunctions). H[F]ailure to establish any element in [a
plaintiffs] favor renders a preliminary injunction inappropriate." NutraSweet 1/, 176 F.3d
at 153. Furthermore, because of the intractable problems of prison administration, a
request for injunctive relief in the prison context must be viewed with considerable
Correctional Med. Services, Inc., 287 F. App'x 142, 144 (3d Cir. 2008)
(unpublished) (citing Goffv. Harper, 60 F.3d 518,520 (8th Cir. 1995».
3. Discussion. Plaintiff claims that Neal came into plaintiffs living quarters and
made a non-verbal threat towards him when he "made his hand into a gun and pointed
at [plaintitfJ." (D.I. 7) Plaintiff states this happened after he submitted protective
custody papers and signed onto protective custody to keep Neal away from him.
Plaintiff claims that his current housing assignment is not proper protective housing. 1
He also states that he seeks a transfer, but "others are interfering with the transfer and
are trying to get plaintiff a[n] assault charge and taunt [him]." (ld.) Warden G.R.
Johnson ("Johnson") opposes the motion. (D.1. 9) Plaintiff replies that Johnson's
position is "false." (D. I. 13)
lin his reply, plaintiff indicates that he was transferred to the Security Housing
Unit ("SHU"), "the most cruelest place in the Department of Correction, outside of death
row." (D.1. 13)
4. Upon review of the allegations made by plaintiff, the court concludes that he
has not demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits. To the extent that
plaintiff's claims are based upon the hand gestures made by Neal, allegations that
prison personnel have used threatening language and gestures are not cognizable
claims under § 1983. See Collins v. Cundy, 603 F.2d 825 (10th Cir. 1979). To the
extent plaintiff takes exception to his housing assignment, in Delaware, inmates have
no constitutionally protected interest in their classification. Riley v Snyder, 72 F. Supp.
2d 456, 460 (D. Del. 1999); Carrigan v. State of Delaware, 957 F. Supp. 1376, 1385 (D.
Del. 1997). Finally, to the extent plaintiff seeks a transfer to a different facility or claims
that there is interference with a transfer, the Delaware Supreme Court has recognized
that prison officials have discretion to house inmates at the facilities they choose. Walls
v. Taylor, 856 A.2d 1067,2004 WL 906550 (Del. 2004) (table) (citing Brathwaite v.
State, No. 169,2003 (Del. Dec. 29, 2003)). In addition, the United States Supreme
Court has held that an inmate has no due process right to be incarcerated in a
particular institution whether it be inside the state of conviction, or outside that state.
Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 251(1983).
5. Conclusion. For the above reasons, the court will deny plaintiff's motion for
injunctive relief. (0.1. 7)
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