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Carbajal v. Warner

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 26, 2015

DEAN CARBAJAL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROL WARNER, in her individual capacity, DAVID ROMERO, in his individual capacity, JOE QUINTANA, in his individual capacity, BILL RAILEY, in his individual capacity, CHRIS WELDON, in his individual capacity, BENJAMIN SCHROEDER, in his individual capacity, GILBERTO LUCIO, in his individual capacity, JAMES DIXON, in his individual capacity, ADAM BARRETT, in his individual capacity, JOEL SMITH, in his individual capacity, JESSE REMBERT, in his individual capacity, JAY LOPEZ, in his individual capacity, MICHAEL O'NEILL, in his individual capacity, CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER, a political subdivision of the State of Colorado, DARIN DESEL, Police Officer for the Denver Police Department, in his individual capacity, FRED MCKEE, Sheriff for the Delta Sheriff's Department, in his individual capacity, PERRY SPEELMAN, Police Officer for the Denver Police Department, in his individual capacity, and JEFFREY WATTS, Investigator for the Second Judicial District, in his individual capacity, Defendants.

ORDER

KRISTEN L. MIX, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Have a Legal Box for Each of the Plaintiff's Cases That Are Presently being Litigated [#631][1] (the "Motion"). Defendants did not file a Response. For the reasons stated below, the Motion [#631] is DENIED without prejudice.

I. Background

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, [2] is presently incarcerated by the Colorado Department of Corrections ("CDOC") at Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility. He states that he is currently litigating multiple cases (six cases in federal court and three cases in state court) and that the volume of written legal materials he has acquired for each case exceeds the volume of the single 2' × 3' legal box he is permitted to have by CDOC. He asserts that CDOC staff have asked Plaintiff to obtain an order from the Court permitting two additional 2' × 3' boxes for his legal materials. In short, although he does not use the terminology, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief.

The amount of space permitted for legal materials kept by offenders incarcerated in CDOC facilities is governed by Administrative Regulation 850-06(IV)(G)(3)(a). This regulation provides:

A 2.0 cubic foot box for legal papers [is permitted], which is available for sale through the DOC Canteen. In the interest of effective property management and fire safety concerns, facilities shall limit the amount of personal legal papers that an offender may maintain in his/her possession to a maximum of two cubic feet. It is the offender's responsibility to determine what legal papers he/she will retain to comply with this restriction. Excess legal material shall not be stored by any facility, nor shall anything other than legal papers be stored in this box. Property found stored within a legal box deemed not personal legal papers shall be considered contraband.

The Tenth Circuit has found that "prison rules permitting inmates two-cubic feet of legal materials in their cells [are] reasonable and necessary for orderly maintenance of the facility and proper security.'" Green v. Johnson, 977 F.2d 1383, 1390 (10th Cir. 1992) (citing Cruz v. Hauck, 515 F.2d 322, 333 (5th Cir. 1975) (finding that the restriction of legal materials in cell was reasonable in light of security and fire dangers)).

II. Legal Standard

Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(a) and (b) govern preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. "Where the opposing party has notice, the procedure and standards for issuance of a temporary restraining order mirror those for a preliminary injunction." Emmis Commc'ns Corp. v. Media Strategies, Inc., No. 00-WY-2507CB, 2001 WL 111229, at *2 (D. Colo. Jan. 23, 2001) (citing 11A Charles Alan Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2951 (2d ed.1995)). Here, because Defendants were given notice and an opportunity to respond, the Court analyzes the Motion under the standards for issuance of a preliminary injunction.

Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy that should only be granted when the moving party clearly and unequivocally demonstrates its necessity. See Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2005). In the Tenth Circuit, a party requesting injunctive relief must clearly establish the following: (1) the party will suffer irreparable injury unless the injunction issues; (2) the threatened injury outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; (3) the injunction, if issued, would not be adverse to the public interest; and (4) there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Id. It is well-established that "[b]ecause a showing of probable irreparable harm is the single most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction, the moving party must first demonstrate that such injury is likely before the other requirements for the issuance of an injunction will be considered." Dominion Video Satellite, Inc. v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 356 F.3d 1256, 1260 (10th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).

"The purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held." Bray v. QFA Royalties LLC, 486 F.Supp.2d 1237, 1241 (D. Colo. 2007) (citing Univ. of Texas v. Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981)). "The purpose of a preliminary injunction is not to remedy past harm but to protect plaintiffs from irreparable injury that will surely result without their issuance." Schrier, 427 F.3d at 1267. Moreover,

[b]ecause the limited purpose of a preliminary injunction is merely to preserve the relative positions of the parties until a trial on the merits can be held, we have identified the following three types of specifically disfavored preliminary injunctions... (1) preliminary injunctions that alter the status quo; (2) mandatory preliminary injunctions; and (3) preliminary injunctions that afford the movant all the relief that [he] could recover at the conclusion of a full trial on the merits.

Id. at 1258-59 (citations omitted). These disfavored injunctions are "more closely scrutinized to assure that the exigencies of the case support the granting of a remedy that is ...


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