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Charles Ward v. Oscar Aviles

June 18, 2012

CHARLES WARD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OSCAR AVILES, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martini, District Judge

OPINION

Currently pending before this Court is a request for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction filed by Plaintiff Charles Ward ("Plaintiff"). (Docket Entry No. 8.) Plaintiff brings the underlying action to recover damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for various issues related to his time at Hudson County Correctional Center. Plaintiff requests that the Court enter a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction requiring Defendants to give him extra time in the law library.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny Plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction/temporary restraining order at this time.

I. BACKGROUND

In Plaintiff's complaint, he alleges various issues relating to the conditions of confinement at the Hudson County Correctional Center. Specifically, he alleges that the law library is inadequate because they do not teach inmates how to properly use computers or conduct legal research. Further, there are not enough supplies and the copy machine is in need of repair. He also alleges that there is no grievance procedure at Hudson County Correctional Center and grievances often go unanswered. Plaintiff also states that handbooks containing the rules and regulations of the prison are often times not handed out to incoming prisoners.

Plaintiff further alleges that the air duct system in the prison facility is extremely dirty and in need of cleaning. He states that the temperature in the facility was very cold during the summer and some prisoners did not have adequate clothing for the temperature. Plaintiff states that there is no indoor recreation area, and outdoor recreation is limited to one hour per day and is often cancelled. Plaintiff also states that the food is often served below room temperature and there is not enough variety to the meals.

Plaintiff further alleges that there is no linen exchange and clothes and sheets are only able to be laundered three times per week. In addition, Plaintiff states that the inmates are not given utensils, cups, socks, or long-sleeved shirts for use in their cells. Plaintiff states that the items available for purchase at the commissary are sold at sometimes double their price. Finally, Plaintiff also alleges that there are no shelves or storage lockers or hooks in the cells.

After Defendants filed an answer to his complaint, Plaintiff filed the instant request for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction seeking to compel the Defendants to permit him extra time in the law library. In response, Defendants state that due to the size of the jail, inmates must go to the library on a schedule that allows for all inmates to have law library time. (Docket Entry No. 9.) As such, Defendants state that Plaintiff is receiving all library time that can reasonably be provided for him, under the circumstances. (Id.)

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Injunctive relief is an "extraordinary remedy, which should be granted only in limited circumstances." Novartis Consumer Health v. Johnson & Johnson-Merck Consumer Pharms. Co., 290 F.3d 578, 586 (3d Cir. 2002) (quotation and citation omitted). To secure the extraordinary relief of a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, plaintiff must demonstrate that "(1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) denial will result in irreparable harm; (3) granting the injunction will not result in irreparable harm to the defendants; and (4) granting the injunction is in the public interest." Maldonado v. Houston, 157 F.3d 179, 184 (3d Cir. 1998)(as to a preliminary injunction); see also Ballas v. Tedesco, 41 F.Supp.2d 531, 537 (D.N.J. 1999) (as to temporary restraining order). A plaintiff must establish that all four factors favor preliminary relief. Opticians Ass'n of America v. Independent Opticians of America, 920 F.2d 187 (3d Cir. 1990).

B. Analysis

1. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

The party seeking a preliminary injunction must demonstrate a "reasonable probability of eventual success in the litigation." Bennington Foods LLC v. St. Croix Renaissance Group, LLP, 528 F.3d 176, 179 (3d Cir. 2008) (quotation and citation omitted). In evaluating whether a movant has satisfied this first part of the preliminary injunction standard, "[i]t is not necessary that the moving party's right to a final decision after trial be wholly without doubt; rather, the burden is on the party seeking relief to make a ...


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