Sanders v. Itawamba County, State of Mississippi et al
ORDER denying 11 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders on 4/12/18. (cr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
ITAWAMBA COUNTY, ET AL.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A
TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER OR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
This matter comes before the court on the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining
order or, in the alternative, for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiff is an inmate currently
housed at the Marshall County Correctional Facility in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He seeks an
order from the court transferring him to a “Federal Detention Facility.” For the reasons set forth
below, the instant motion will be denied.
Both temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions are governed by Fed. R.
Civ. P. 65. Though the same criteria govern the issuance of preliminary injunctions and
temporary restraining orders, the purpose and form of relief differ for each. The purpose of a
preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo during the course of litigation until the court
can hold a trial on the matter. Steven S. Gensler, 1 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules and
Commentary Rule 65, Practice Commentary; Univ. of Tex. V. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395, 101
S.Ct. 1830, 68 L.Ed.2d 175 (1981). When adjudicating a preliminary injunction, the court must
provide notice to all parties and give them a chance to be heard. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a)(1). Once
issued, a preliminary injunction stays in effect until the court grants final relief or otherwise
modifies the order. Steven S. Gensler, 1 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules and
Commentary Rule 65, Practice Commentary. Once the court issues final relief, the preliminary
injunction dissolves, as the court need no longer rely on its equitable powers to provide interim
relief. 11A, Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc. Civ. § 2947 (3d ed.);
U.S. Philips Corp. v. KBC Bank N.V., 590 F.3d 1091, 1094 (9th Cir. 2010). A ruling on a
preliminary injunction is immediately appealable:
[T]he courts of appeals shall have jurisdiction over appeals from . . . [i]nterlocutory
orders of the district courts of the United States . . . granting, continuing, modifying,
refusing, or dissolving injunctions, or refusing to dissolve or modify injunctions . . . .
28 U.S.C.A. § 1292(a)(1).
Temporary Restraining Orders
Similarly, the purpose of a temporary restraining order is to preserve the status quo and
prevent irreparable harm, but only until the court can hold an adversarial hearing for a
preliminary injunction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(b)(3), Granny Goose Foods, Inc. v. Brotherhood of
Teamsters and Auto Truck Drivers Local No. 70 of Alameda County, 415 U.S. 423, 438-439, 94
S.Ct. 1113 (1974). Thus, a temporary restraining order may be granted ex parte, but it only lasts
for 14 days (28 days if the court permits, with a showing of good cause). Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(b)(2).
Ex parte temporary restraining orders are disfavored, and courts seldom grant them. Steven S.
Gensler, 1 Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules and Commentary Rule 65, Practice
Commentary. Once the court rules on a motion for preliminary injunction, then the temporary
restraining order has served its purpose and should be dissolved. Granny Goose, 415 U.S. at 443.
Neither party may appeal a district court’s ruling on a temporary restraining order, as it has an
extremely limited duration. Chicago United Industries, Ltd. V. City of Chicago, 445 F.3d 940,
943 (7th Cir. 2006). However, once the district court rules on a motion for preliminary injunction
regarding the issue, the parties may appeal that order. Northeast Ohio Coalition for Homeless
Service Employees Intern. Union, Local 1199 v. Blackwell, 467 F.3d 999, 1005 (6th Cir. 2006).
Elements of Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunctive Relief
A party must prove four elements to be entitled to preliminary injunctive relief or a
temporary restraining order: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a substantial
threat of irreparable injury if the injunction is not issued; (3) that the threatened injury to the
movant outweighs any harm that may result from the injunction to the non-movant; and (4) that the
injunction will not disserve the public interest. DSC Communications Corp. v. DGI
Technologies, Inc., 81 F.3d 597, 600 (5th Cir. 1996); Rodriguez v. United States, 66 F.3d 95, 97 (5th
Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S. Ct. 1058, 134 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1996); Cherokee Pump & Equipment,
Inc. v. Aurora Pump, 38 F.3d 246, 249 (5th Cir. 1994); Doe v. Duncanville Independent School
District, 994 F.2d 160, 163 (5th Cir. 1993); Plains Cotton Co-op Association v. Goodpasture
Computer Serv., Inc., 807 F.2d 1256, 1259 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 821, 108 S. Ct. 80, 98
L. Ed. 2d 42 (1987); Canal Authority of Florida v. Callaway, 489 F.2d 567, 572 (5th Cir. 1974).
Preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders are extraordinary remedies,
Cherokee Pump, 38 F.3d at 249, “not to be granted routinely, but only when the movant, by a clear
showing, carries [the] burden of persuasion.” Black Fire Fighters Association v. City of Dallas,
905 F.2d 63, 65 (5th Cir. 1990) (quoting Holland American Insurance Co. v. Succession of Roy,
777 F.2d 992, 997 (5th Cir. 1985)); Cherokee Pump, 38 F.3d at 249 (quoting Mississippi Power &
Light v. United Gas Pipe Line Co., 760 F.2d 618, 621 (5th Cir. 1985)) (“The decision to grant a
preliminary injunction is to be treated as the exception rather than the rule”). Under Fed. R. Civ.
P. 65, the party seeking a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order must give security
in an amount the court deems proper (which can be zero in some circumstances).
The plaintiff is unable to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits in
light of his argument in the instant motion. First, the court does not have the power to transfer an
inmate from state to federal custody. Second, Mr. Sanders’ allegations are vague. He alleges, “I
have been told by guards and organization members that if I get killed in prison that I will not win
the habeas corpus or civil lawsuit.” Doc. 11 at 1. He also alleges, “I have made some very
important people mad in Itawamba County and Mississippi Department of Corrections about my
habeas corpus and my civil lawsuit.” Id. Similarly, he alleges, “The guards and the inmates
work together cause they are the same organization members of the same gang.” In addition, Mr.
Sanders states, “There is a price on my head from Itawamba County.” Id. at 2. Notably absent
from these allegations is the identity of the people involved. Who are the “guards and
organization members” threatening him? Who are the “guards and inmates” working together,
and what are they trying to accomplish? Who are the “very important people in Itawamba
County” angry enough to put “a price on [his] head?” Also, why would the “very important
people” care enough about his five-year sentence for possession of contraband to seek his death,
especially when he is serving a 22-year sentence on five convictions? Who would harbor enough
enmity towards Mr. Sanders to want him dead – based on the difference between a 22-year
sentence and a 17-year sentence? How does Mr. Sanders know the source of the threats against
him? His allegations are skeletal and devoid of detail sufficient to warrant a hearing on the instant
Mr. Sanders alleges the existence of a detention notice stating that MDOC officials have
placed him in protective custody, which would provide him with significant protection. He may
also request to “red tag” any inmates he knows mean him harm – a procedure which requires
prison officials to keep him separate from those people. These measures offer two layers of
protection from any perceived threats.
Mr. Sanders has not provided sufficient detail to warrant the extraordinary remedy of a
preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order. In addition, he has not alleged who
would bear him such ill will to seek his death for a reduction in sentence from 22 years to 17 years.
As such, the plaintiff has not demonstrated a substantial likelihood that he will prevail on his
claim, and the instant motion for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction is
SO ORDERED, this, the 12th day of April, 2018.
/s/ David A. Sanders
DAVID A. SANDERS
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?