United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
JOHN T. PATRICK, Plaintiff,
JENNIFER HIRBST, et al, Defendants.
Tagle Senior United States District Judge.
John T. Patrick, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, has filed this civil rights action. Plaintiff
is a prisoner in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
Criminal Institutions Division (TDCJ-CID) and is currently
housed at the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas. Pending
before the Court is the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and
Recommendation (“M&R”), Dkt. No. 16, and
Plaintiff's Motion for Immediate Injunctive Relief, which
is construed as a motion seeking preliminary injunctive
relief, Dkt. No. 18. The motion was initially referred to
Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby. However, for purposes of
expediency, it is hereby ORDERED that the
referral of this motion is TERMINATED.
Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS the M&R,
Dkt. No. 16, and DENIES Plaintiff's
motion seeking preliminary injunctive relief, Dkt. No. 18,
for the reasons set forth below.
civil rights action, Plaintiff sues the following McConnell
Unit officials: (1) Captain Jennifer Herbst
(“Herbst”); (2) Captain Ray Geuvara
(“Guevara”); (3) Sergeant Andrew H. Nino
(“Nino”); (4) Sergeant Michelle D. Esparza
(“Esparza”); and (5) Officer Francisco Olvera
(“Olvera”). Plaintiff claims that Defendants have
harassed him through acts of retaliation, violated his due
process rights, and discriminated against him on the basis of
race. In addition to monetary relief, Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief in the form of preventing any further
retaliatory acts and restoring Plaintiff's line class and
20, 2019, Magistrate Judge Libby issued a M&R,
recommending that the Court: (1) retain Plaintiff's
retaliation claim against Olvera in his individual capacity
for monetary relief; (2) retain Plaintiff's retaliation
claim against Warden Philip Sifuentes
(“Sifuentes”) in his official capacity for
injunctive relief only; (3) retain Plaintiff's equal
protection claims against Herbst and Geuvara in their
individual capacities; (4) dismiss Plaintiff's claims for
money damages against all Defendants in their official
capacities as barred by the Eleventh Amendment; and (5)
dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the remaining
defendants for failure to state a claim and/or as frivolous.
Dkt. No. 16.
same day, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking preliminary
injunctive relief. Dkt. No. 18. He complains that, since
filing his complaint, he has been refused meals and has been
placed in the administrative segregation building.
Id. at I. He further complains that he can barely
see because his two pairs of reading glasses have been taken
from him and that he had been previously denied prescription
glasses for over a year. Id. Plaintiff fears for his
safety and seeks unspecified injunctive relief. Id.
independently reviewing the filings, the record, and
applicable law, the Court adopts the M&R, Dkt. No. 16.
The Court therefore retains Plaintiff's retaliation claim
against Olvera in his individual capacity for monetary
relief; Plaintiff's retaliation claim against Sifuentes
in his official capacity for injunctive relief; and
Plaintiff's equal protection claims against Herbst and
Guevara in their individual capacities. All other claims are
Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief
order to obtain a preliminary injunction under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 65, the movant must demonstrate: (1) a
substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a
substantial threat that the movant will suffer irreparable
injury if the injunction is denied; (3) the threatened injury
outweighs any damage that the injunction might cause the
defendant; and (4) the injunction will not disserve the
public interest. Texans for Free Enter. v. Texas Ethics
Com'n, 732 F.3d 535, 536-37 (5th Cir. 2013).
Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy which requires
the movant to unequivocally show the need for its issuance.
Sepulvado v. Jindal, 729 F.3d 413, 417 (5th Cir.
2013) (internal citations and quotations omitted). Plaintiff
must carry the burden as to all four elements before a
preliminary injunction may be considered. Voting for
America, Inc. v. Steen, 732 F.3d 382, 386 (5th Cir.
2013) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
motion fails to warrant the extraordinary remedy of a
preliminary injunction. First, Plaintiff raises new
allegations of retaliation that arose after the events
described in his complaint. These new allegations involve
incidents separate and distinct from the retaliation and
equal protection claims raised in his complaint. He has
failed to present any arguments or evidence to demonstrate a
likelihood of success on the merits of those claims that have
been retained in this case. Sepulvado, 729 F.3d at
Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate a substantial threat of
an irreparable injury. His conclusory allegations of
potential harm do not amount to a constitutional violation,
and in the absence of such a violation, federal courts are
reluctant to interfere in the internal affairs of a state
prison. See Richie v. UTMB Hospital Galveston, No.
2:12-CV-322, 2012 WL 12871940, at *2 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 18,
2012) (citing Kahey v. Jones, 836 F.2d 948, 950 (5th
Cir. 1988)). Interference with the operations of the
McConnell Unit at this early stage in the proceedings would
not be in the public's interest without a full
opportunity for the facts to be developed beyond Plaintiffs
allegations. See Kahey, 836 F.2d at 951. Should
Plaintiff be able to prove a constitutional violation to a
trier of fact, then permanent injunctive relief might be
appropriate at some point in the future.