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Leatherwood v. Allbaugh

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

October 9, 2019

MICHAEL D. LEATHERWOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE M. ALLBAUGH, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint, [Doc. No. 1], and a motion for injunctive relief, (Pet.'s Mot.) [Doc. No. 2], [1] on January 17, 2017. In his motion for injunctive relief, Plaintiff complained about Cimarron Correctional Facility's (CCF) “lock-in/lock-out” policy and violent atmosphere and presumably either sought a change in CCF's policies and inmate-makeup or a transfer out of CCF. See id.[2] United States District Judge Robin J. Cauthron referred the matter for proposed findings and recommendations consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and (C) and the discovery process remains ongoing. On September 3, 2019, Plaintiff informed the Court he had been transferred out of CCF, and after consecutive transfers, Plaintiff is now housed at Lexington Correctional Center. [Doc. Nos. 66-68]. Accordingly, the Court recommends Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief be denied as moot.

         To qualify for either a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, the movant must establish: (1) he is “substantially likely to succeed on the merits;” (2) he “will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is denied;” (3) the threatened injury to him “outweighs the injury” to the party opposing the injunction; and (4) “the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.” New Mexico Dep't of Game & Fish v. United States Dep't of the Interior, 854 F.3d 1236, 1245-46 (10th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted) (discussing the requirements for a preliminary injunction); see also Wiechmann v. Ritter, 44 Fed.Appx. 346, 347 (10th Cir. 2002) (noting that the requirements for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction are the same). Finally, injunctive relief is only appropriate when the movant's right to relief is clear and unequivocal. Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2005).

         Here, Plaintiff is unable to show a clear and unequivocal right to relief because he has already been transferred out of CCF and there is no indication he will return in the foreseeable future. Thus, Plaintiff's transfer from CCF renders moot his request for injunctive relief. See generally Green v. Branson, 108 F.3d 1296, 1300 (10th Cir. 1997); see also Jordan v. Sosa, 654 F.3d 1012, 1027-28 (10th Cir. 2011); Burnett v. Fallin, No. CIV-17-385-M, 2018 WL 4376513, at *3 (W.D. Okla. June 5, 2018) (finding plaintiff's request for injunctive relief moot upon his transfer because “Plaintiff is no longer subjected to the alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement at JCCC”), adopted, 2018 WL 4374199 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 13, 2018), aff'd, No. 18-6179, 2019 WL 4060152 (10th Cir. Aug. 28, 2019); Sermeno v. Allbaugh, No. CIV-16-1196-C, 2017 WL 3129983, at *4 (W.D. Okla. June 21, 2017) (finding inmate's request for injunctive relief moot where, due to a change in circumstances, the court no longer had the ability to order any effective relief), adopted, 2017 WL 3128819 (W.D. Okla. July 21, 2017).

         RECOMMENDATION

         For the foregoing reasons, the Court should DENY Plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief, [Doc. No. 2], as moot.

         NOTICE OF RIGHT TO OBJECT

         The parties are advised of their right to object to this Report and Recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. § 636. Any objection must be filed with the Clerk of the District Court by October 30, 2019. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Failure to make timely objection to this Report and Recommendation waives the right to appellate review of the factual and legal issues addressed herein. See Moore v. United States, 950 F.2d 656 (10th Cir. 1991).

         STATUS OF REFERRAL

         This Report and Recommendation does not terminate the District Judge's referral in this matter.

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Notes:

[1] Plaintiff sought both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. See Pet.'s Mot. at 1. The Court need not decide which was most appropriate as the standards are the same. See infra at 2.

[2] Plaintiff did not actually identify the relief he sought. See Pet.'s Mot., ...


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