Arnold v. Forshey et al
Memorandum of Opinion and Order For the reasons set forth herein, Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 4 ) is denied. Judge Benita Y. Pearson on 3/31/2015. (JLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
RALPH ARNOLD (# 388-487),
JAY FORSHEY, Warden, et al.,
CASE NO. 4:15CV0345
JUDGE BENITA Y. PEARSON
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
[Resolving ECF No. 4]
The within matter1 came on for hearing on the record upon Plaintiff’s Motion for a
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (“motion”) (ECF No. 4).
After notice to the parties, the Court held a Telephonic Hearing on the motion. The Court
has been advised, having reviewed the record, Plaintiff’s pleadings and motion, Defendants’
Response (ECF No. 6), and the applicable law. The Court has also considered the oral arguments
of Plaintiff and Defense counsel, and the statements of First Assistant Federal Public Defender
Jacqueline A. Johnson (as advisory counsel for Plaintiff) and Defendants Warden Jay Forshey,
Deputy Warden Charmaine Bracy, and Lt. Debra Drummand.
Plaintiff’s case still has to be screened under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A for
frivolousness and other defects. Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 3) is granted. See Minutes of Proceedings dated March 30, 2015.
Four factors are important in determining whether a preliminary injunction is appropriate:
(1) whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant
would suffer irreparable injury without the injunction; (3) whether issuance of the injunction
would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by
issuance of the injunction. Frisch’s Restaurant, Inc. v. Shoney’s Inc., 759 F.2d 1261, 1263 (6th
Cir. 1985); Am. Family Life Ins. Co. v. Hagan, 266 F. Supp.2d 682, 687 (N.D. Ohio 2002)
(O’Malley, J.). The standard for issuance of a temporary restraining order is identical. N.E. Ohio
Coal. for Homeless v. Blackwell, 467 F.3d 999, 1009 (6th Cir. 2006). The test is a flexible one
and the factors are not prerequisites to be met, but must be balanced. In re DeLorean Motor Co.,
755 F.2d 1223, 1229 (6th Cir. 1985). In balancing the four considerations applicable to
temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction decisions, the Court holds that equitable relief
is not appropriate.
Plaintiff is a level 5B inmate, the highest of security levels, at the Ohio State Penitentiary
Supermax prison. ECF No. 4 at PageID #: 44. On December 9, 2014, he stabbed a corrections
officer in the neck. For the attack, Plaintiff was ordered to spend time in Local Control and was
deprived of several privileges. See Doc 4-1, PageID # 70. He was placed on a behavior plan
(ECF No. 4-1 at PageID #: 74) after being released from Local Control to his usual housing on
February 17, 2015. Plaintiff complains about being placed on a “[behavior] plan that does not
exist as a prison rule or regulation . . . or policy.” ECF No. 4 at PageID #: 45. Contrary to
Plaintiff’s belief, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Policy 53-CLS-01 states
that inmates may be placed on “Special Management Status” whereby an inmate may have
imposed upon him “housing and privilege limitations . . . independent of his . . . security
classification status” (emphasis added). Doc 4-1 at PageID #: 77. See Sandin v. Conner, 515
U.S. 472, 481-82 (1995) (stating that prison regulations are “primarily designed to guide
correctional officials in the administration of a prison . . . [They are] not designed to confer rights
Plaintiff also complains about being denied his personal property, legal materials and
access to the courts, cell cleaning services, and recreational time. ECF No. 4 at PageID #: 46.
The Court was informed by Deputy Warden Bracy that Plaintiff was offered the return of his
personal property, but refused its return unless he was also given his television and CD player
with adapter. According to the behavior plan (ECF No. 4-1 at PageID #: 74), Plaintiff “will not
have a TV . . . [or] any electronics.” The behavior plan provides, in pertinent part:
. . . Each Monday [Plaintiff] will have an opportunity to earn back privileges
lost [ ] or eliminate restrictions that are in place. [Plaintiff] will earn this in the
following ways. It is expected that you remain [Rules Infraction Board]
conviction free and Conduct Report free. This includes any incident reports
written that relate to your behavior. Each week by doing the aforementioned
expected things in addition to completing a Carey Guide bi-weekly, [Plaintiff]
will be able to earn back one privilege or eliminate one restriction that is agreed
upon by [Unit Manager Wolfe, Capt. Sanders, and a Mental Health
Representative]. . . .
ECF No. 4-1 at PageID #: 74. Thus, the return Plaintiff’s property is within his own control. He
does not require the Court’s intervention. He need only act in accordance with the institution’s
policy. Deference and flexibility are given to prison officials as they are “trying to manage a
volatile environment.” Mackey v. Dyke, 111 F.3d 460, 463 (6th Cir.1998) (quoting Sandin, 515
U.S. at 482).
It is undisputed that Plaintiff’s claim that he was deprived of his legal materials and
access to the courts is subject to constitutional scrutiny in this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. “It is well established that prisoners have a constitutional right of access to the courts.”
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 391 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817,
821-24 (1977)); see also Leveye v. Metropolitan Pub. Def. Office, 73 Fed.Appx. 792, 794 (6th
Cir. 2003). Such access to the courts must be “adequate, effective, and meaningful” and includes
the right to prepare and file necessary legal documents. Bounds, 430 U.S. at 822. Deputy
Warden Bracy stated that Plaintiff can write to the Court while in Local Control. In fact, Plaintiff
prepared the Complaint (ECF No. 1) on February 10, 2015—seven days before he was released
from Local Control. See ECF No. 1 at PageID #: 5.
Plaintiff also alleges that he has been subjected to inhumane conditions (i.e. lack of cell
cleaning materials or services). ECF No. 4 at PageID #: 46. It is not disputed that Plaintiff
currently has access to cell cleaning supplies and tools every Tuesday and Friday. The United
States Supreme Court has held that a prison regulation impinging on inmates’ constitutional
rights “is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests.” Lewis v. Casey, 518
U.S. 343, 361 (1996) (citing Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 89 (1987)). As the Court explained,
such a deferential standard is necessary
if “prison administrators . . ., and not the courts, [are] to make the difficult
judgments concerning institutional operations.” Jones v. North Carolina
Prisoners’ Union, 433 U.S., at 128, 97 S.Ct., at 2539. Subjecting the day-to-day
judgments of prison officials to an inflexible strict scrutiny analysis would
seriously hamper their ability to anticipate security problems and to adopt
innovative solutions to the intractable problems of prison administration.
Turner, 482 U.S. at 89.
Finally, Plaintiff complains about being denied recreational time. According to Deputy
Warden Bracy, Plaintiff is currently eligible for one hour of recreation five days per week.
The Court holds that equitable relief is not appropriate.
Plaintiff has little likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. “Although no one
factor is controlling, a finding that there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits is
usually fatal.” Gonzales v. Nat’l Bd. of Med. Exam’rs, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000). Ohio
Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Policy 53-CLS-01 states that inmates like Plaintiff
may be placed on “Special Management Status.” Plaintiff has been offered the return of his
personal property; and he can earn the return of his television and CD player with adapter by
accepting the incentive to act in accordance with the behavior plan (ECF No. 4-1 at PageID #:
74). Plaintiff can write to the Court, even while in Local Control. So, he has access to the
courts. Plaintiff also has access to cell cleaning materials every Tuesday and Friday. Finally,
Plaintiff is currently eligible for one hour of recreation five days per week.
As importantly, Plaintiff is in some control of when he is able to enjoy certain privileges,
including the return of his television and CD player with adapter. See ECF No. 4-1 at PageID #:
74 (“Each Monday [Plaintiff] will have an opportunity to earn back privileges lost [ ] or
eliminate restrictions that are in place.”).
Also, Plaintiff has not shown that he will suffer irreparable injury, if, as the defendants
argue, the Court fails to order access to all of his personal property at all times, full unimpeded
access to the Courts, the ability to clean his cell at will, and an end to restrictions on recreation
activities. ECF No. 6 at PageID #: 87. See also Rinehart v. Scutt, 509 Fed.Appx. 510, 512 (6th
Cir. 2013) (upholding district court’s denial of injunctive relief in part because plaintiff-inmate
failed to show that he was being deprived of a constitutional right).
Granting Plaintiff’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 4), on the facts presented, would result in substantial harm to the Ohio State
Penitentiary Supermax prison and unnecessarily abrogate the long-standing precedent that federal
courts should refrain from unwarranted interference in the day-to-day operations of prisons.
Turner, 482 U.S. at 89; Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547 (1979).
Lastly, no public interest would be advanced in the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
Order/Preliminary Injunction. There is no public interest to be served in granting a motion
enjoining corrections officials from using constitutional means to control an inmate’s dangerous
behavior. Utley v. Campbell, 84 Fed.Appx. 627, 629 (6th Cir. 2003).
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 4) is denied.
Notice of this filing will be sent to Assistant Attorney General Thomas N. Anger by
operation of the Court’s electronic filing system.
The Clerk is directed to issue a copy of this Order by regular mail to Ralph Arnold,
#388-487, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505; Warden Jay Forshey, 878
Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505; Gary C. Mohr, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard
Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505; Charmaine Bracy, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown,
Ohio 44505; Debra Drummand, 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, Ohio 44505; and,
by email to Laura Gardner at Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
March 31, 2015
/s/ Benita Y. Pearson
Benita Y. Pearson
United States District Judge
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