Cowan v. Miller et al
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER 58 . Signed by District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. (TBan) [Transferred from Michigan Eastern on 2/23/2017.]
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 15-cv-12428
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
TRENT MILLER, ET AL.,
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ANTHONY P. PATTI
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING
Plaintiff William Cowan is a prisoner in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections. He filed the this action on July 2, 2015, alleging that he
was denied a Ramadan meal, resulting in a “hypoglycemic low blood sugar attack”
and restraint by staff. Dkt. No. 1. The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims arising out
of denial of his Ramadan meal because Plaintiff had not exhausted his
administrative remedies, but allowed his claims related to mistreatment during his
restraint to continue. Dkt. No. 40. A motion to change venue to the Western
District of Michigan is currently pending before the Court. Dkt. No. 51.
On February 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion “for an injunction for a
temporary restraining order.” Dkt. No. 58. In his motion, Plaintiff alleges that staff
at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) have been subjecting Plaintiff to “undue
burden, retaliation, destruction of legal property, annoyance[,] and harassment.” Id.
at 1. He requests that the Court order him to be transferred to a prison “out of the
jurisdiction of the upper peninsula where more of the department’s employees who
are named in [P]laintiff[’]s suit has [sic] familiar and friends working and an order
for the administration here at L.M.F. to cease harassing [P]laintiff and vandalizing
his property.” Id. at 2.
A. Standards for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order is an extraordinary measure of relief that a
federal court may impose without notice to the adverse party if, in an affidavit or
verified complaint, the movant “clearly show[s] that immediate and irreparable
injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse party can be
heard in opposition.” FED. R. CIV. P. 65(b)(1)(A). The purpose in issuing a
temporary restraining order is to preserve the status quo pending a fuller hearing.
In order to prevail on a motion for injunctive relief, the moving party must
demonstrate that (1) it is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) it is likely to suffer
irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities
tips in its favor; and (4) that the relief sought is in the public interest. Winter v.
Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
Plaintiff cannot show any chance of success on the merits because the
allegations and relief requested in his motion for a temporary restraining order are
unrelated to the allegations in his complaint.
B. The Court Lacks Jurisdiction
Plaintiff’s complaint—the subject of the present case—arises out of
incidents that occurred in July 2014 at the Chippewa Correctional Facility in
Kincheloe, Michigan, while his motion for a temporary restraining order complains
of harassment in 2017 at the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising, Michigan.
Compare Dkt. No. 1 with Dkt. No. 58. The persons against whom Plaintiff seeks
relief in his motion—administrative staff at the Alger facility—are not defendants
in this action. Id.
A district court has no authority to grant relief in the form of a temporary
restraining order where it has no jurisdiction over the parties. Ruhrgas AG v.
Marathon Oil Co., 526 U.S. 574, 584 (1999). The individuals working at the Alger
Correctional Facility have not been served with a legal complaint, and none of the
individuals against whom Plaintiff seeks relief in his motion are defendants in this
case. Plaintiff also provides no specific facts to show that these individuals were
acting “in active concert or participation” with defendants. FED. R. CIV. P.
65(d)(2); Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 112 (1969)
(“[A] nonparty with notice cannot be held in contempt until shown to be in concert
“A federal court may issue an injunction if it has personal jurisdiction over
the parties and subject matter jurisdiction over the claim; it may not attempt to
determine the rights of persons not before the court.” Zepeda v. United States
Immigration Service, 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir. 1985). Because the court lacks
jurisdiction over the individuals against whom Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, his
motion must be denied.
C. Plaintiff’s Request is Defective
Federal Rule 65(b)(1) permits issuance of a temporary restraining order
without notice to the adverse party only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint clearly
show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result
to the movant before the adverse party can be heard in opposition; and
(B) the movant’s attorney certifies in writing any efforts made to
give notice and the reasons why it should not be required.
Plaintiff has not provided the certification required by this rule, and as already
addressed, the individuals identified by Plaintiff are not defendants to this action
and there is no indication they have been served with the motion. Dkt. No. 58.
For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiff’s motion must be denied. If
Plaintiff wants to pursue an action related to the claims in his motion for a
temporary restraining order, he will need to initiate a new complaint in a separate
Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order  is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
February 22, 2017
/s/Gershwin A Drain
HON. GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
United States District Court Judge
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