WILSON v. KNIGHT et al
Entry Discussing Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order - 17 Motion for Preliminary Injunction is denied. See entry for details. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 9/1/2017. (MEJ)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
ERIC J. WILSON,
WENDY KNIGHT Superintendent,
Entry Discussing Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
Plaintiff Eric Wilson (“Wilson”), an inmate in the Indiana Department of Correction,
Correctional Industrial Facility (“CIF”), brings this action alleging that his rights were violated in
a number of ways when he was wrongly classified as a sex offender. In his complaint, 1 he asserts
that this classification has violated his First Amendment right to free speech and peaceful
assemblage, his due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and his Eighth Amendment
right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. Based on the screening required by 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b), the only claim that was permitted to proceed was the claim that defendant Wendy
Knight exhibited deliberate indifference to a risk of harm to him when she talked about his status
as a sex offender in earshot of other inmates and he was assaulted as a result. Wilson has filed a
motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction “to ensure that action be
taken to correct the incorrect classification status and irreparable harm in which the plaintiff
faces and to prevent these types of violations from ever occurring again.”
The operative complaint is the original complaint filed on April 26, 2017. Wilson has filed a motion to amend his
complaint and that motion will be addressed in a separate Entry.
Because the defendant has responded, Wilson’s motion is treated as a motion for a
preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary equitable remedy that is
available only when the movant shows clear need. Goodman v. Ill. Dep’t of Fin. and Prof’l
Regulation, 430 F.3d 432, 437 (7th Cir. 2005). A party seeking a preliminary injunction must
show (1) that its case has “some likelihood of success on the merits,” and (2) that it has “no
adequate remedy at law and will suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is denied.”
Ezell v. City of Chi., 651 F.3d 684, 694 (7th Cir. 2011). If the moving party meets these threshold
requirements, the district court “weighs the factors against one another, assessing whether the
balance of harms favors the moving party or whether the harm to the nonmoving party or the
public is sufficiently weighty that the injunction should be denied.” Id.
Based on the standard set forth above, to establish his right to preliminary injunctive
relief, Wilson must show that he has a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of his
claims. The only viable claim identified by the Court is the claim that Knight was deliberately
indifferent to his safety. The other claims, including claims related to his classification and
alleged retaliation against him, have been dismissed for failure to state a claim. See Bridges v.
Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009) (to state a retaliation claim, the plaintiff must allege
that First Amendment activity must be “at least a motivating factor” in the defendant’s allegedly
retaliatory action); Lucien v. DeTella, 141 F.3d 773, 774 (7th Cir. 1998) (“Classifications of
inmates implicate neither liberty nor property interests . . . .”) (citing Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S.
472, 484 (1995)).
Wilson also asserts a “class of one” equal protection claim for the first time in his motion
for a preliminary injunction, but even if such a claim were part of his complaint, he has not
shown the likelihood of success on the merits of that claim. See United States v. Moore, 543 F.3d
891, 896 (7th Cir. 2008) (class-of-one claims are not applicable to governmental action that is
the product of a highly discretionary decision-making process). Wilson has not shown a
reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of his viable claim – that Knight was deliberately
indifferent to a risk of harm to him – sufficient to entitle him to the injunctive relief he seeks.
While Wilson has alleged that he has been assaulted in the past, he has provided no evidence or
argument that is specific enough to allow the Court to conclude that he is presently at risk of
injury. He has not identified a specific person or group who has threatened him or stated that the
person or persons who assaulted him previously might still do so. For these same reasons, the
Court finds that Wilson has not shown that he is in risk of irreparable harm or that a remedy at
law will be inadequate. To show his entitlement to injunctive relief because of the risk of
irreparable harm, he must show that the irreparable harm is likely. See Michigan v. U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, 667 F.3d 765, 788 (7th Cir. 2011). His generalized fears are insufficient.
Finally, Wilson’s request for injunctive relief must be considered in light of the Court’s
hesitancy to interfere with prison administration and direction to “accord prison wide-ranging
deference in the . . . execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to
preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security.” Pardo v. Hosier,
946 F.2d 1278, 1280-81 (7th Cir. 1991); Bruscino v. Carlson, 854 F.2d 162, 165 (7th Cir. 1988)
(it is not “for the limited competence of federal judges to micromanage prisons.”). Wilson has
not shown that the Court should interfere in prison administration in this instance.
For the foregoing reasons, Wilson’s motion for a preliminary injunction, dkt. , is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Electronic distribution to counsel of record via CM/ECF and to:
ERIC J. WILSON
PENDLETON - CIF
CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIAL FACILITY
Electronic Service Participant - Court only
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