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Wojdacz v. PresbYterian St. Lukes' Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Colorado

February 16, 2017

ELIZABETH WOJDACZ, Plaintiff,
v.
PRESBYTERIAN ST. LUKES' MEDICAL CENTER, DENVER CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, LEWIS, Officer, TORRES, Officer; Supervisory John Doe Officers, ROBERT WHITE, Chief, DENVER DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, JERILYN SCHOEFILED, RAPAHOE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, WOOD, Deputy, DAVID C. WALCHER, DAVID KELSO, Sgt; Supervisory John Doe Officers, ARAPAHOE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, ERIC FADDIS, ADDISON L. ADAMS, Judge, AURORA CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT, R. RAY, Officer, C. WILKENDORF, Officer, L.A. INSURANCE AGENCY, ANDREA MANRIGUES, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO HOSPITAL, UNIVERSITY PHYSICIANS, INC., RESA E. LEWIS, ROSE MEDICAL CENTER, CAREPOINT, DAVID DUCKSUNG MOON, SUSAN W. RYAN, DAVID MORRISON, MATTHEW BUCHANNAN, ORTHOPEDICS ASSOCIATES, LLC, SARA MEADOWS, D.O., Defendants.

          ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION, AND ADOPTING THE JANUARY 11, 2017 RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER

          William J. Martinez, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Elizabeth Wojdacz (“Plaintiff”) brings this “complex civil action for civil RICO remedy, Civil Rights violations and [] non compliance of EMTALA statutes” pro se against multiple Defendants, including: Aurora City Police Department and officers (the “Aurora Defendants”), Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office and officers (the “Arapahoe Defendants”), and Denver Police Department and officers (the “Denver Defendants”). (ECF No. 88 at 3-17.) This matter is before the Court on the January 11, 2017 Recommendation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix (“Recommendation, ” ECF No. 143) that Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65 (“Motion, ” ECF No. 77) be denied. Plaintiff filed an objection to the Recommendation. (“Objection, ” ECF No. 145.)[1] Responses were filed by the Arapahoe Defendants and Denver Defendants. (ECF Nos. 146, 147.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objection is overruled, the Magistrate Judge's Recommendation is adopted, and Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive matter, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b)(3) requires that the district judge “determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's [recommendation] that has been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).[2] An objection to a recommendation is properly made if it is both timely and specific. United States v. One Parcel of Real Property Known as 2121 East 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996.) An objection is sufficiently specific if it “enables the district judge to focus attention on those issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the parties' dispute.” Id. In conducting its review, “[t]he district court judge may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation; receive further evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Here, Plaintiff filed a timely objection to Judge Mix's Recommendation. Id. Therefore, this Court reviews the issues before it de novo.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 65 governs preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders. A party requesting injunctive relief must clearly establish that four equitable factors weigh in his or her favor: (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. Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2005). Because injunctive relief “is an extraordinary remedy, the right to relief must be clear and unequivocal.” Greater Yellowstone Coal. v. Flowers, 321 F.3d 1250, 1256 (10th Cir. 2003).

         In addition, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se; thus, the Court must liberally construe her pleadings. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Trackwell v. United States Gov't, 472 F.3d 1242, 1243 (10th Cir. 2007). The Court, however, cannot act as advocate for Plaintiff, who must still comply with the fundamental requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); see also Ledbetter v. City of Topeka, Kan., 318 F.3d 1183, 1188 (10th Cir. 2003).

         II. BACKGROUND

         No parties object to the recitation of facts set forth by Judge Mix in the January 11, 2017 Recommendation. (ECF No. 143 at 3-7.) Accordingly, the Court adopts and incorporates Sections I and II of that Recommendation as if set forth herein. Briefly, Plaintiff alleges that she “is being targeted by law enforcement as retaliation for seeking a murder investigation and coroner's inquest into the death of her son.” (ECF No. 140 at 4.) Plaintiff further alleges that efforts to intimidate her by law enforcement have been continual and “seemingly have no end.” (ECF No. 140 at 4-5.)

         Plaintiff seeks a temporary restraining order to prevent “all Police defendants” from engaging in “witness retaliation, threats, intimidation, harassment, following-stalking-including placing under surveillance, or by causing intentional bodily or financial harm to [Plaintiff] or her property[.]” (ECF No. 77 at 4; ECF No. 140 at 1.) Specifically, Plaintiff requests that the restraining order state “that police may not harass threaten or abuse Plaintiff at her church or others at her church, while she goes about her daily business including panhandling as well as that they be restrained from using others to harass threaten or intimidate Plaintiff including area panhandlers and non defendant police.” (ECF No. 77 at 4.)

         III. ANALYSIS

         Judge Mix recommended that Plaintiff's Motion be denied as to all Defendants. (ECF No. 143 at 3.) Judge Mix made several findings to reach that recommendation.

         First, Judge Mix found that the injunctive relief requested by Plaintiff “would require Defendants to act and/or otherwise alter the status quo in relation to their dealings with Plaintiff. Thus, the injunctive relief sought by Plaintiff ‘constitutes a specifically disfavored injunction' that ‘must be more closely scrutinized.'” (ECF No. 143 at 5 (quoting Schrier, 427 F.3d at 1261).)

         As to the alleged incidents involving Aurora Defendants, Judge Mix found Plaintiff's allegations “not specific enough for the Court to conclude that Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm” and that allegations of retaliation by Aurora Defendants “lack detail” and do not demonstrate that their “activities will lead to irreparable injury.” (ECF No. 143 at 9.)

         As to the alleged incidents involving Arapahoe Defendants, Judge Mix found the “allegations regarding past harm lack sufficient detail, [Plaintiff] fails to specify the precise harm that an injunction will prevent” and “she has not demonstrated ...


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