United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
JEFFERY S. FRENSLEY U.S. Magistrate Judge.
matter is before the court upon the pro se Plaintiff's
Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary
Injunction. Docket No. 162. Plaintiff has filed a supporting
memorandum of law with attachments (Docket No. 163) and his
supporting declaration (Docket No. 164). The CoreCivic
Defendants have filed a Response in Opposition. Docket No.
168. For the reasons set forth herein, the undersigned
recommends that the Plaintiff's Motion be DENIED.
Plaintiff is a pro se prisoner who brought this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that on
February 5, 2015, he was found guilty following a
disciplinary hearing of various prison offenses. Docket No.
163, p. 1. Plaintiff filed an inmate grievance on March 26,
2015 alleging misconduct against certain prison guards
related to the alleged confiscation of legal material
pertinent to litigation being pursued by the Plaintiff.
Id. at p. 2. On April 1, 2015, Plaintiff was
transferred to the Whiteville Correctional Facility
(“WCF”) and advised that his transfer was due to
his disciplinary conviction. Id. On May 14, 2015, he
was transferred to South Central Correctional Facility
(“SCCF”). Id. Both of these facilities
are operated by CoreCivic. On July 5, 2015, Plaintiff was
notified that the disciplinary conviction had been overturned
and removed from the Prison Reporting System. Id. On
January 19, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred to the Turney
Center Industrial Complex (“TCIX”). Id.
alleges that his transfer to WCF was in retaliation for his
family raising concerns to “certain political figures,
as well as Defendant Lewis” regarding the confiscation
of his legal materials. Id. He asserts that once his
disciplinary conviction was overturned he should have been
reclassified and returned to Riverbend per TDOC policy.
Id. at p. 4. He brought this action seeking to be
returned to his original institution under his prior
classification arguing there was “no legit reason from
the side of defendants to justify the malicious transfer and
cloaking it as a ‘disciplinary' transfer.”
Id. at p. 11.
Court's review of Plaintiff's complaint and pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. 1915(A), the Court allowed inter alia,
the claim that he had been denied an appropriate security
classification to proceed. In the motion now before the
court, Plaintiff asks that he “be reclassified back to
his original custody level of “minimum trusty;”
that he be returned to Riverbend Maximum Security Institution
and be placed back into the brick masonry class or
alternatively that he be transferred to Lois M. DeBerry
Special Needs Facility and that the Defendants not engage in
any acts of retaliation. Docket No. 162.
moving party has the burden of proving that the circumstances
“clearly demand” a TRO or a Preliminary
Injunction. Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban Cnty.
Gov't., 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir.
2002). The court must balance four factors in deciding
whether to issue a preliminary injunction or TRO “(1)
whether the movant has a strong likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable
injury without the injunction; (3) whether issuance of the
injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4)
whether the public interest would be served by issuance of
the injunction.” City of Pontiac Retied Employees
Ass'n. v. Schimmel, 751 F.3d 427, 430
(6th Cir. 2014)(en banc)(internal
quotation marks omitted).
four factors are “factors to be balanced, not
prerequisites that must be met.” Michael v.
Futhey, 2009 WL 4981688, at *17 (6th Cir.,
December 17, 2009)(quoting Six Clinics Holding Corp., II
v. Cafcomp Systems, 119 F.3d 393, 400 (6th
Cir. 1997)). Nonetheless, it remains that the hallmark of
injunctive relief is the likelihood of irreparable harm.
Patio Enclosures, Inc. v. Herbst, 39 Fed.Appx. 964,
967 (6th Cir. 2002)(“[t]he demonstration of
some irreparable injury is a sine qua non for
issuance of an injunction.”); see also Winter v.
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7,
22-23, 129 S.Ct. 365, 172 L.Ed.2d 249 (2008)(rejecting the
notion that a mere “possibility” of irreparable
injury was sufficient for a preliminary injunction and
holding that “plaintiffs seeking preliminary relief
[are required] to demonstrate that irreparable injury is
likely in the absence of an
injunction”)(emphasis in original). “A finding
that there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits
is usually fatal.” Gonzalez v. National Board of
Medical Examiners, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th
plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating his entitlement
to a preliminary injunction, and his burden is a heavy one.
Injunctive relief is “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). Further, where a prison inmate seeks an order
enjoining state prison officials, this court is required to
proceed with the utmost care and must be cognizant of the
unique nature of the prison setting. See, Kendrick v.
Bland, 740 F.2d 432, 438, n. 3 (6th Cir.
initial matter, as the CoreCivic defendants note, it is well
established that a “prisoner's requests for
injunctive or declaratory relief is moot upon transfer to a
different facility.” Kensu v. High, 87 F.3d
172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff has admitted
and the court has previously noted that he is no longer
incarcerated at Whiteville Correctional Facility or at South
Central Correctional Facility. For this reason, the
undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's request for
injunctive relief against the CoreCivic defendants be DENIED.
the preliminary injunction factors as to the remaining
defendants, all four factor weigh against granting injunctive
relief. First, Plaintiff has not shown any irreparable
injury, nor has he shown any real threat of immediate injury.
The law is clear that inmates have no constitutional right to
be incarcerated in any particular institution or to be held
in a specific security classification. Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245-46, 103 S.Ct. 1741, 75
L.Ed.2d 813 (1983); Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78,
88, n. 9, 97 S.Ct. 274, 50 L.Ed.2d 236 (1976); c v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225, 96 S.Ct. 2532, 49 L.Ed.2d 451
(1976). Furthermore, in order to raise a due process interest
the plaintiff must allege that, by virtue of the alleged acts
of the defendants his sentence is extended or he suffered
“atypical or significant hardship . . . in relation to
the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484, 115 S.Ct. 2293, 132 L.Ed.2d
a federal court has the authority to order a state to
transfer a prisoner in the rare and extreme situation where
an inmate's life is imminent or grave danger See e.
g. Walker v. Lockhart, 713 F.2d 1378, 1383
(8th Cir. 1983); Streeter v. Hopper, 618
F.2d 1178, 1182 (5th Cir. 1980), plaintiff's
allegations regarding his security classification and
placement do not constitute grounds upon which this court can
find that a transfer is warranted. See e. g., City of Los
Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 102, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 75
L.Ed.2d 675 (1983)(explaining that irreparable harm must be
both “real and immediate, ...