Lin v. USA et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER denying 11 Motion for Defendant to Return Plaintiff to Western District of Louisiana, Motion for Prompt Screening and Service; Motion for Order Prohibiting Unreasonable Interfence with Access. Signed by Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay on 7/12/2017. (crt,ThomasSld, T)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LAKE CHARLES DIVISION
YUN XIN LIN
B.O.P. # 78471-053
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:16-cv-1293
USA ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE KAY
Before the court is a motion for miscellaneous relief filed by petitioner Yun Xin Lin (“Lin”)
through which he seeks prompt screening and service and an order prohibiting unreasonable
interference with access to “those things needful for reasonable access to the courts.” Doc. 11. He
also wishes to be transferred from Reeves County Detention Center in Pecos, Texas, back to the
Federal Correctional Institute in Oakdale, Louisiana, where he was incarcerated at the time he filed
this suit. Id.; see doc. 1. We therefore construe this motion as a request for injunctive relief. See
FED. R. CIV. P. 65.
As to the petitioner’s first request, seeking prompt screening and service, we note that
service has already been ordered on Lin’s complaint. See doc. 8. This request is therefore moot.
On the remaining requests, Lin does not show a right to injunctive relief.
“An injunction is an extraordinary remedy and should not issue except upon a clear
showing of possible irreparable harm.” Lewis v. S.S. Baune, 534 F.2d 1115, 1121 (5th Cir. 1976).
A movant for a preliminary injunction must demonstrate each of the following: 1) a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits; 2) a substantial threat that failure to grant the injunction will
result in irreparable injury; 3) the threatened injury outweighs any damage that the injunction will
cause to the adverse party; and 4) the injunction will not have an adverse effect on the public
interest. Women's Med. Ctr. of Northwest Houston v. Bell, 248 F.3d 411, 418–20 (5th Cir. 2001).
Access to the courts is protected by the First Amendment as part of the right to petition for
redress of grievances. Wilson v. Thompson, 593 F.2d 1375, 1387 (5th Cir. 1979). This right extends
to prisoners, who have a constitutional right of meaningful access to the courts. Degrate v.
Goodwin, 84 F.3d 768, 768–69 (5th Cir. 1996). However, a prisoner will not be granted relief on
an access to the courts violation unless he can show actual injury. Lewis v. Casey, 116 S.Ct. 2174,
2179 (1996). Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit holds that a prisoner must show actual injury in nonfrivolous litigation based on the defendant’s unconstitutional conduct in order to prevail on an
access to the courts claim. Ruiz v. United States, 160 F3d 273, 275 (5th Cir. 1998); Chriceol v.
Phillips, 169 F.3d 313, 317 (5th Cir. 1999).
A prisoner does not have a constitutional right to be housed in any particular facility.
Fuselier v. Mancuso, 354 Fed. App’x 49 (5th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). However, prison
officials may not retaliate against an inmate for exercising his right to access the courts. Woods v.
Smith, 60 F.3d 1161, 1164 (5th Cir. 1995); see Cardenas v. Young, 655 Fed. App’x 183, 185–86
(5th Cir. 2016) (reviewing a retaliation claim under Woods in a Bivens action). A retaliatory act is
actionable even if it might have been legitimate if taken for a different reason. Woods, 60 F.3d at
1165. However, given the potential of retaliation claims to disrupt the discharge of prison officials’
duties, the Fifth Circuit cautions that such claims should be carefully and skeptically reviewed. Id.
at 1166. Accordingly, conclusory allegations will not suffice and the plaintiff must instead produce
direct evidence of retaliation or allege a chronology of events from which it might plausibly be
Here Lin cannot show a likelihood (let alone a substantial one) of success on the merits of
his access to the courts claim, as no injury has yet occurred. As soon as this court received an
updated address for him, it provided him with documents pursuant to the memorandum order [doc.
8] directing service of his complaint. Therefore Lin also cannot show a likelihood of success for
any transfer claim insofar as it relates to access to the courts. In support of his claim that the transfer
was retaliatory, he only offers the following: “On information and belief the transfer of Plaintiff
to another prison was retaliatory, in opposition to Plaintiff’s filing of the instant lawsuit.” Doc. 11,
p. 2. Under the standards outlined above, this cursory allegation is insufficient to show a likelihood
of success on the merits. Lin has therefore failed to show a right to injunctive relief for either
request. The motion is therefore DENIED.
THUS DONE this 12th day of July, 2017.
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