Meade v. Spaulding
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re 7 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Michael B. Meade, 5 MOTION Injunctive Relief filed by Michael B. Meade. Signed by Honorable Robert D. Mariani on 8/9/17. (jam)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
MICHAEL B. MEADE,
Civil No. 3:16-cv-2212
Petitioner Michael B. Meade ("Meade"), an inmate presently confined at the
Allenwood Medium Security Correctional Institution, White Deer, Pennsylvania
("FCl-Allenwood Medium"), filed this prose petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 2241. Named as Respondent is Warden Spaulding. Meade seeks federal habeas
corpus relief on the basis that the United States Parole Commission violated his due
process rights when it conducted his revocation assessment and determined he would not
be eligible for re-parole until he served a term of sixty-months. (Doc. 1).
Meade filed a motion seeking injunctive relief wherein he requests that the Court
immediately release him from custody. (Doc. 5, p. 2). Meade additionally requests that the
Court "set an order relieving him from the stiff sex offender treatment the Commission
imposed," and "hold the U.S. Parole Commission accountable for not complying with their
own regulations." (Id.).
Meade also filed a motion for summary judgment wherein he again requests that the
Court immediately release him from custody. (Doc. 7).
For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny each of the pending motions.
As stated above, Meade's request for injunctive relief seeks his immediate release
from custody. (Doc. 5, p. 2). He also asks that he be relieved from complying with special
sex offender conditions imposed by the Parole Commission, and that the Parole
Commission be held accountable for not complying with its own regulations. (Id.).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has directed that a district
court, in exercising its discretion as to whether to grant a motion seeking preliminary
injunctive relief, should consider the following four factors: (1) the likelihood that the
applicant will prevail on the merits; (2) the extent to which the movant is being irreparably
harmed by the challenged conduct; (3) the extent to which the non-moving party will suffer
irreparable harm if the preliminary injunction is issued; and (4) whether granting preliminary
injunctive relief will be in the public interest. S &R Corp. v. Jiffy Lube Int'/, Inc., 968 F.2d
371, 374 (3d Cir. 1992) (citing Hoxworth v. Blinder, Robinson &Co., 903 F.2d 186, 197-98
(3d Cir. 1990)). The moving party bears the burden of proof on each of the factors. See
Dorfman v. Moorhous, 1993 WL 483166, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 24, 1993).
The most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction is a
demonstration that, if it is not granted, the applicant is likely to suffer irreparable harm
before a decision on the merits can be rendered. Continental Group, Inc. v. Amoco Chems.
Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 356 (3d Cir. 1980). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has defined
irreparable injury as "potential harm which cannot be redressed by a legal or equitable
remedy following a trial." Instant Air Freight, 882 F.2d at 801. A court may not grant
preliminary injunctive relief unless "[t]he preliminary injunction [is] the only way of protecting
the plaintiff from harm." Id.
The relevant inquiry is whether the party moving for the injunctive relief is in danger
of suffering the irreparable harm at the time the preliminary injunction is to be issued. SI
Handling Sys., Inc. v. Heisley, 753 F.2d 1244, 1264 (3d Cir. 1985). Speculative injury does
not constitute a showing of irreparable harm. Continental, 614 F.2d at 359; see also Public
Serv. Co. v. West Newbury, 835 F.2d 380, 383 (1st Cir. 1987).
It is equally well recognized that the adjudicatory power of a federal court depends
upon "the continuing existence of a live and acute controversy." Steffel v. Thompson, 415
U.S. 452, 459 (1974) (emphasis in original). "The rule in federal cases is that an actual
controversy must be extant at all stages of review, not merely at the time the complaint is
filed." Id. at n.10 (citations omitted). "Past exposure to illegal conduct is insufficient to
sustain a present case or controversy regarding injunctive relief if unaccompanied by
continuing, present adverse effects." Rosenberg v. Meese, 622 F. Supp. 1451, 1462
(S.D.N.Y. 1985) (citing O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 495-96 (1974)).
Further, it is well-settled that "[t]he purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve
the status quo, not to decide the issues on their merits." Anderson v. Davila, 125 F.3d 148,
156 (3d Cir. 1997). Where the "[inmate-]plaintiffs request for immediate relief in his motion
for preliminary injunction necessarily seeks resolution of one of the ultimate issues
presented in [the] Amended Complaint, ... [the] Plaintiff cannot demonstrate that he will
suffer irreparable harm if he is not granted a preliminary injunction, because the ultimate
issue presented will be decided either by this Court, upon consideration of Defendants'
motion to dismiss, or at trial. As a result, Plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction should
be denied." Messner v. Bunner, et al., 2009 WL 1406986, at *5 (W.D. Pa. 2009).
Respondent notes that Meade's requested relief in his motion for preliminary
injunction is the same as that sought in his habeas petition. (Doc. 6, p. 2, n. 1).
Specifically, Meade requests immediate release him from custody. See (Docs. 1, 5, 9). He
further claims that the Parole Commission imposed special sex offender conditions, which
he claims he "doesn't need" (Doc. 9, p. 17), and the Parole Commission violated their own
regulations. See id. The gravamen of Meade's claims on the merits are identical to the
claims in his motion for preliminary injunction. Because the injunctive relief sought by
Meade directly relates to the merits of the ultimate issues in this lawsuit, the Court will
refrain from granting injunctive relief, and instead will issue a decision addressing the merits
of the habeas petition. Consequently, Meade's motion for injunctive relief will be denied.
Motion for Summary Judgment
The Court finds that Meade's motion for summary judgment is inappropriate and
unnecessary in a habeas proceeding. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide the
proper procedure for the Court to follow when entertaining an application for a writ of
habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See 28 U.S.C. § 2243. First, the Court must issue
a service order. See id. Next, the person having custody of the petitioner must file a
response. See id. The petitioner is then permitted the opportunity to file a reply to the
response. See id. The Court will then hold a hearing, if deemed necessary. See id.
Lastly, the Court will issue a decision. See id. In light of these procedures set forth in the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Meade's motion for summary judgment in this section
2241 habeas action is unnecessary and will be denied. See Cool v. Pennsylvania, 2008 WL
2858310 (M.D. Pa. 2008) (finding that a motion for summary judgment is inappropriate in a
section 2254 habeas action); Ghaziaskar v. Ashcroft, 2005 WL 1138377 (M.D. Pa. 2005)
(construing petitioner's motions for judgment as a matter of law as motions for default
judgment, and denying the motions as unauthorized by the statutory provisions and rules
related to habeas corpus proceedings); Atkins v. United States, 1990 WL 126196, *3 ("the
habeas corpus statute seems to treat the petition itself as the equivalent of a
petitioner-initiated summary judgment motion") (citing 1 J. Liebman, Federal Habeas Corpus
Practice and Procedure§ 17.3 (1988)).
Based on the foregoing, Meade's motion for injunctive relief and motion for summary
judgment will be denied. A separate Order follows.
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