United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
JOE B. BROWN, Magistrate Judge.
Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and Preliminary Injunction. (Docket Entry 80). For the reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Motion be DENIED. The Magistrate Judge further RECOMMENDS that Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Testificandum (Docket Entry 87) be DENIED as moot.
I. Background and Procedural History
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is a Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) inmate at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution (RMSI). (Docket Entry 83). He was previously at other institutions, including West Tennessee State Prison (WTST); and Charles Bass Correctional Complex (CBCC). (Docket Entry 67). Plaintiff filed his Complaint alleging violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). (Docket Entry 1 and 67). On January 24, 2014, the District Judge referred this action to the Magistrate Judge. (Docket Entry 4).
On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to accompany a previously filed Memorandum and Declaration. (Docket Entry 70; 71 and 80). Plaintiff seeks the ability to receive religious items directly from vendors other than the TDOC designated vendor, Union Supply. (Docket Entry 80, p. 1). Plaintiff also seeks the ability to receive meals consistent with his religion, referred to as "Halaal meals." (Docket Entry 80, p. 2). Plaintiff specifically seeks the ability to order such meals from the vendor, Halalco Books or to be provided with "fish, tuna salad, peanut butter, and vegetable burgers...; [t]wo [f]ruits...; [t]wo [v]egetables and... [b]read with every meal...." (Docket Entry 80, p. 2). Finally, Plaintiff seeks to be provided Halaal meals during and at the end of the Holy month of Ramadaan. (Docket Entry 80, p. 2).
On July 21, 2014, after Plaintiff had filed the instant Motion, he was transferred to RMSI. (Docket Entry 83). Defendant has since filed a Response in Opposition and supporting affidavits. (Docket Entry 90-93). Plaintiff filed an unsigned and untimely Reply. (Docket Entry 102). Nevertheless, the Magistrate Judge considered it.
II. Standard of Review
The Court must balance the following factors when deciding whether to grant a motion for a TRO or a preliminary injunction:
1) Whether the plaintiff has shown a strong or substantial likelihood or probability of success on the merits;
2) Whether the plaintiff has shown irreparable injury;
3) Whether the issuance of a preliminary injunction would cause substantial harm to others;
4) Whether the public interest would be served by issuing a preliminary injunction. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FED. R. CIV. P.) 65(a)-(b); Workman v. Bredesen, 486 F.3d 896, 905 (6th Cir. 2007); Newsom v. Norris, 888 F.2d 371, 373 (6th Cir. 1989). Such relief is considered an "extraordinary remedy which should be granted only if the movant carries his or her burden of proving that the circumstances clearly demand it." Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban Cnty. Gov't, 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002)(citation omitted).
However, "[n]otwithstanding this balancing approach, [w]hen a party seeks a preliminary injunction on the basis of a potential violation of the First Amendment, the likelihood of success on the merits often will be the determinative factor." Jones v. Caruso, 569 F.3d 258, 265 (6th Cir. 2009)(citation and internal quotation omitted). To determine whether a plaintiff will succeed on the merits of a First Amendment claim, the Court must apply the Turner v. Safley factors:
1) [T]here must be a valid, rational connection between the prison regulation and the legitimate governmental ...