ANGLE v. MONTAG
MEMORANDUM OPINION re 16 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by BRYAN ANGLE, II. Signed by Magistrate Judge Richard A. Lanzillo on 1/10/2022. (dm)
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 1 of 6
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BRYAN ANGLE, II,
RICHARD A. LANZILLO
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ECF NO. 16
Plaintiff Bryan Angle II (Angle) has filed a Motion for Emergency Preliminary
Injunction (ECF No. 16) in which he requests that “this Court order Plaintiff to be permitted to
be evaluated by an ‘outside’ dentist/non-D.O.C. employed dentist and …that Plaintiff be
permitted assistance in the law library.” For the following reasons, Angle’s motion will be
Angle, an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC),
commenced this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Forest County on November 12, 2020.
ECF No. 11, p. 1. Angle’s Complaint named a single Defendant, Dr. Montag (Montag). The
Complaint alleged that Montag provided Angle with inadequate dental care while he was
incarcerated at the DOC’s State Correctional Institution at Forest (SCI-Forest) in violation of his
constitutional rights and state law. ECF No. 1-1. Montag removed the action to this Court based
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 2 of 6
on its original federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. ECF No. 1. The Parties
have consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all proceedings
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). See ECF Nos. 10, 12.
Angle filed the instant Motion for Emergency Preliminary Injunction on December 29,
2021. ECF No. 16. The motion is short, stating in its entirety as follows:
1. Plaintiff is a prisoner at S.C.A. Albion.
2. Plaintiff cannot seek evaluation from a non-DOC employed
dentist due to his incarceration.
3. Plaintiff is a non-lawyer and has little knowledge of the law
and is computer illiterate.
4. S.C.I. Albion refuses to allow Plaintiff assistance in the Law
Wherefore Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court order
Plaintiff to be permitted to be evaluated by an “outside”
dentist/non D.O.C. employed dentist and order that Plaintiff be
permitted assistance in the Law Library in accordance with
Johnson v. Avery.
Injunctive relief is an “extraordinary remedy which should be granted only in limited
circumstances.” American Telephone & Telegraph Co. v. Winback and Conserve Program, Inc.,
42 F.3d 1421 (3d Cir. 1994) (quoting Frank’s GMC Truck Center, Inc. v. General Motor Corp.,
847 F.2d 100, 102 (3d Cir. 1988)). The purpose of the preliminary injunction is to preserve the
status quo until the rights of the parties can be fairly and fully litigated and determined. Wetzel v.
Edwards, 635 F.2d 283, 286 (4th Cir. 1980). In deciding whether to grant injunctive relief, the
Court considers 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 conduct complained of; (3) the
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 3 of 6
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.
Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc. v. Botticella, 613 F.3d 102, 109 (3d Cir. 2010). As the moving party,
Angle bears the burden of producing evidence to support the first two factors. Acierno v. New
Castle Cty., 40 F.3d 645, 653 (3d Cir. 1994). Absent support for either of the first two factors, a
court must deny the request for a preliminary injunction. Id.; Adams v. Freedom Forge Corp.,
204 F.3d 475, 484 (3d Cir. 2000). In the prison context, a request for injunctive relief “must
always be viewed with great caution because ‘judicial restraint is especially called for in dealing
with the complex and intractable problems of prison administration.’” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d
518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995) (quoting Rogers v. Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982)).
Angle’s motion fails for several reasons. First, he seeks relief that is wholly unmoored
from the allegations and claims of his Complaint. The purpose of preliminary injunctive relief is
to prevent irreparable injury pending resolution of the underlying claims on their merits, so “the
injury claimed in the motion for preliminary injunctive relief must relate to the conduct alleged
and permanent relief sought in the plaintiff’s complaint.” James v. Varano, 2017 WL 895569, at
*3 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 7, 2017). In other words, “there must be a connection between the underlying
complaint and the relief requested in the motion for a preliminary injunction.” Id. (citing Ball v.
Famiglio, 396 Fed. Appx. 836, 837 (3d Cir. 2010)). A request for injunctive relief must,
therefore, be dismissed if “the injunction in question is not of the same character, and deals with
a matter lying wholly outside the issues in the suit.” Kaimowitz v. Orlando, Fla., 122 F.3d 41,
43 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing De Beers Consol. Mines v. United States, 325 U.S. 212, 220 (1945)).
Here, Angle’s motion seeks a mandatory injunction commanding prison officials to provide him
with additional resources to prosecute his case against Montag. His claim against Montag seeks
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 4 of 6
compensation based on allegedly inferior dental care and an injunction ordering additional dental
care. See ECF No. 1-1, p. 3. These requests are not of the same character. Indeed, Angle’s
lawsuit does not include any defendant against whom the Court could order compliance with the
injunction he requests.
Second, Angle cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits of his Eighth
Amendment deliberate indifference claim or irreparable harm based on his lack of an
independent expert or assistance in the law library. Although the court has broad discretion to
appoint an independent expert under Rule 706 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “[t]he
policy behind the rule is to promote the jury’s factfinding ability.” Ford v. Mercer Cty. Corr.
Ctr., 171 Fed. Appx. 416, 420 (3d Cir.2006). “The most important factor in favor of appointing
an expert is that the case involves a complex or esoteric subject beyond the trier-of-fact’s ability
to adequately understand without expert assistance.” Id. (citation omitted). “A trial judge does
not abuse his discretion in declining to appoint an independent expert” if the requested expert is
“solely to benefit a party who has otherwise failed to gather such evidence as would suffice to”
prove his claims. Id. Likewise, Rule 706 is not intended to provide a pro se or indigent plaintiff
with an expert witness to assist him in proving his case. And there is no statutory authority for
the Court to provide an indigent civil plaintiff with an expert witness at no cost. See Boring v.
Kozakiewicz, 833 F.2d 468, 474 (3d Cir. 1987) (citing United States v. Rogalsky, 575 F.2d 457
(3d Cir. 1978)). Here, Angle seeks the appointment of a dental expert solely for the benefit of
his case against Montag, specifically, to evaluate and critique the dental treatment that he
received from Montag. The law provides him with no entitlement to such an appointment and
there is no indication that an expert is necessary for the court’s benefit.
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 5 of 6
Similarly, prisoners have no “freestanding right to a law library or legal assistance.”
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996). Prisoners have a right of access to the courts, not to a
law library or to legal assistance. Mitchell v. Wydra, 377 Fed. Appx. 143, 144–45 (3d Cir. 2010)
(citing Para–Professional Law Clinic at SCI–Graterford v. Beard, 334 F.3d 301, 305 (3d
Cir.2003); Lewis, 518 U.S. at 350). To facilitate their right of court access prison authorities
must afford prisoners either “adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained
in the law”. Id. (emphasis supplied) (quoting Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977)).
“Prison authorities need not provide both of these, but must provide one or the other....”
DeMallory v. Cullen, 855 F.2d 442, 446 (7th Cir.1988). Angle’s motion alleges that SCI-Albion
“refuses to allow Plaintiff assistance in the Law Library” and, thus, he expressly acknowledges
that he has access to a law library. This is all the law requires. Extra legal assistance is not
required so long as a law library is available. Thus, Angle has no legal right to either a court
appointed dental expert or assistance in the law library. Further, to the extent Angle’s motion
can be construed as a motion requesting the appointment of counsel, this request will be denied
as premature. See Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153–60 (3d Cir. 1993).
Angle also has failed to show any irreparable or immediate harm. The fact that Angle
may have difficulty proving his case against Montag is not irreparable harm. Procuring an expert
and navigating a law library are challenges faced by all pro se litigants. While Angle’s
incarceration may increase these challenges, it does not raise them to the level of irreparable
harm. See Ward v. Aviles, 2012 WL 2341499, at *2 (D.N.J. June 18, 2012) (“a prisoner alleging
a violation of his right of access must show that prison officials caused him past or imminent
‘actual injury’ by hindering his efforts to pursue such a claim or defense.”). A preliminary
injunction is not a vehicle “simply to eliminate the possibility of a remote future injury.”
Case 1:21-cv-00252-RAL Document 18 Filed 01/10/22 Page 6 of 6
Holiday Inns of Am., Inc. v. B&B Corp., 409 F.2d 614, 618 (3d Cir. 1969). Here, Angle has
asserted only routine challenges pro se plaintiffs face when pursing a lawsuit against a medical
or dental professional.
Because the defects in Angle’s request for injunctive relief appear on the face of his
motion, no hearing is necessary. See Bradley v. Pittsburgh Bd. of Educ., 910 F.2d 1172, 1175-76
(3d Cir. 1990) (hearing on a motion for preliminary injunction is unnecessary if “the movant has
not presented a colorable factual basis to support the claim on the merits or the contention of
irreparable harm” or “if the movant is proceeding on a legal theory which cannot be sustained”)
Because Angle cannot establish the elements for preliminary injunctive relief, his motion
at ECF No. 16 will be denied. An appropriate order follows
DATED this 7th day of January, 2022.
BY THE COURT:
RICHARD A. LANZILLO
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?