United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. HOLLANDER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Brandon Roberts, an inmate currently confined at the North
Branch Correctional Institution (“NBCI”), filed
this civil rights suit against former Warden Bobby P.
Shearin, Warden Frank B. Bishop, and unidentified
“Prison Administration and other Subordinates.”
ECF 1. He alleges that his civil rights were violated after
violence in the prison resulted in a lengthy lock-down.
Id. Plaintiff also alleged that he was subjected to
an improper strip search and that a “Phase
System” was improperly implemented, which deprived him
of privileges and programming. Id. Plaintiff did not
indicate when these events occurred. Id.
December 6, 2018, plaintiff filed a “Motion to Compel
Defendants To Process Property Orders Or Alternatively for
TRO.” ECF 28. He filed a second motion, with the same
title, on January 14, 2019. ECF 29. I shall refer to these
motions collectively as the “TRO Motions.”
Defendants have responded (ECF 32) and plaintiff has replied.
ECF 34; ECF 35. Plaintiff also filed a motion asking the
court to rule on his TRO Motions. ECF 36. For the reasons
that follow, I shall deny plaintiff's TRO Motions. I
shall also address the status of a defense motion.
TRO Motions, plaintiff states that in November of 2018, he
submitted order forms to purchase items through approved
catalog vendors. ECF 28 at 1. In the amount due for his
purchases he printed “Credit Remain at Company.”
Id. at 2. The vouchers were returned to plaintiff
with a notation that the forms did not include the proper
paperwork for mailing. Plaintiff affixed stamps and returned
the items to the property department. Id. The
purchase requests were again returned to plaintiff, this time
with a notation that catalog orders could not be paid for by
persons outside of the institution. Id.
maintains that, pursuant to Division of Corrections
Directives, he is permitted to purchase “electronic
devices, and clothing, etc. from approved vendors via catalog
orders.” Id. at 3. He contends that his orders
were rejected in an effort to have him place additional money
into his prison accounts so that “prison officials
[could] pilfer and extort funds, as a form of kick-backs or
personal interest gains and the monopolized schemes they have
in place.” Id. at 3-4.
catalog order “mainly consist[s] of winter clothing,
shoes, [and] legal supplies such as 10 x 13' manila
envelopes, legal file folders and 10x15' wallet
envelopes, ” which he deems essential to the
organization, carrying, and mailing of his legal documents.
Id. at 5. Plaintiff's order also included
“hygienic materials and other similar products
prescribed by a physician for the plaintiff to order, as a
result of a chronic medical conditions he has with his
November 15, 2018, plaintiff filed an Administrative Remedy
Procedure (“ARP”) (NBCI-18-7678) regarding the
failure to process his catalog orders. ECF 32-1 at 2-3. The
ARP was dismissed. Id. at 2. Investigation found
that plaintiff had submitted four catalog orders (two orders,
twice). The first two orders were returned because plaintiff
failed to fill out the forms correctly. The second two orders
were returned because plaintiff wrote “store
credit” on the order forms. Plaintiff's account was
reviewed, and it was determined that he had not paid any
money to or previously ordered from the specified companies.
Id. As such, correctional staff determined that
plaintiff was placing a catalog order using funds that were
not his own, which is impermissible under relevant
correctional policy. Id. at 6.
in accordance with OPS 220.0004, which governs allowable
inmate property, coats and jackets within certain
specifications are permissible but are “State Issue
Only.” ECF 32-1 at 7.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic
remedy. See Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90
(2008). A party seeking a preliminary injunction or temporary
restraining order must establish the following elements: (1)
a likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a likelihood of
suffering irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief; (3) that the balance of equities tips in the
party's favor; and (4) the injunction is in the public
interest. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc.,
555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); Pashby v. Delia, 709 F.3d
307, 320 (4th Cir. 2013). As to irreparable harm, the movant
must show the harm to be “neither remote nor
speculative, but actual and imminent.” Direx
Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough Medical Group, 952 F.2d
802, 812 (4th Cir. 1991) (citation omitted)). “Issuing
a preliminary injunction based only on a possibility of
irreparable harm is inconsistent with [the Supreme
Court's] characterization of injunctive relief as an
extraordinary remedy that may only be awarded upon a clear
showing that the plaintiff is entitled to such relief.”
Winter, 555 U.S. at 22 (citing Mazurek v.
Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (per curiam)).
has not sustained his burden of demonstrating that his
request for injunctive relief is warranted. As an initial
matter, this Complaint concerns the conditions of confinement
during a prison lock down during an unspecified period.
Accordingly, even if plaintiff were to succeed on the merits
of his claims, the requested relief would not necessarily
include the conduct he seeks to compel.
plaintiff's questionable use of the request for
injunctive relief to one side, although he alleges harm, he
has not clearly established that he will suffer immediate and
irreparable injury, loss, or damage if the requested relief
is not granted. Plaintiff indicates that he seeks to order
winter clothing, prescribed medical supplies, and stationary
to assist in his legal endeavors. Plaintiff is provided
clothing by the Division of Corrections and if in fact he has
a valid prescription for medical supplies from his current
treating physician that too would be provided by the State.
As none of the generally identified items are necessary to
plaintiff's health or safety, he has failed to
demonstrate any likelihood of harm.
plaintiff has not demonstrated that an injunction is in the
public interest. "[A]bsent the most extraordinary
circumstances, federal courts are not to immerse themselves
in the management of state prisons or substitute their
judgment for that of the trained penological authorities
charged with the administration of such facilities."