United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON REQUEST FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER
R. Underhill, United States District Judge.
August 7, 2017 Kenya Brown (“Brown”),
incarcerated and pro se, filed a complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Department of Correction
(“DOC”) Commissioner Scott Semple, Dr. Elizabeth
Coursen, Dr. Paul Chaplin, Dr. Berger, Nurse Jane Ventrella,
“C.S.W.” Matthew Green, Deputy Warden Jeffery
Zegerzewski, Counselor Michelle King, Lieutenant Paulsinski,
Warden Antonio Santiago, Dr. Josylyn Cruz, Dr. Henry Crabb,
and Nurse Nicole Karabestos for violating his rights under
the First Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and the Prison Rape
Elimination Act of 2003 (“PREA”) under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 15601-15609. On September 13, 2017, I issued my
Initial Review Order (Doc. #11) dismissing Brown's PREA
claim and Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference
to medical needs. The defendants have not yet responded to
September 25, 2017, Brown filed a motion for a protective
order under Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c) in which he alleges that
Coursen, whom he is suing for sexual abuse, has been
contacting him repeatedly over the last few months. Request
for Protective Order at 2 (Doc. #15). Brown, therefore, seeks
a protective order prohibiting Coursen from contacting him so
that he could avoid any possible retaliation. Id.
For the following reasons, I DENY his request.
a court order limiting its permissible range,
‘[p]arties may obtain discovery regarding any
nonprivileged matter that is relevant to any party's
claim or defense.'” Gardner v. Univ, of Conn.
Health Ctr., No. 3:12-cv-1168 (CSH), 2013 WL 6073430, at
*1 (D. Conn. Nov. 18, 2013) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(b)). I
may, however, for good cause, limit discovery by issuing a
protective order, which seeks “‘to protect a
party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or
undue burden or expense.'” Id. (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)). “In general, a protective order
may only be issued upon a finding of ‘good cause, '
which calls for a sound basis or legitimate need to limit
discovery of the subject information.” Id. at
*2 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 26(c)). It is the burden of the
party seeking the order to show good cause for the issuance
of a protective order. Id. “‘Good
cause' may be established upon a showing that
‘disclosure will work a clearly defined and very
serious injury' to the party seeking protection.”
Id. (quoting Uniroyal Chem. Co., Inc. v.
Syngenta Crop Prot., 224 F.R.D. 53, 56 (D. Conn. 2004)).
case, Brown has not identified any specific discovery request
by Coursen from which he seeks a protective order. He seeks a
blanket order prohibiting Coursen from contacting him for any
reason. Such an order is not warranted because Coursen is a
defendant to this case and requires communication with Brown,
the plaintiff, in order to conduct discovery and prepare a
defense to Brown's claims. Brown has not shown that
Coursen's communications are designed to annoy,
embarrass, or oppress him or that they seek privileged
information. Therefore, he has not shown good cause for the
issuance of a protective order.
extent Brown seeks a restraining order or some other
form of preliminary injunctive relief, his request remains
insufficient. Preliminary injunctive relief may be issued
“where ‘specific facts in an affidavit or a
verified complaint clearly show that immediate and
irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant
before the adverse party can be heard in opposition' and
the movant ‘certifies in writing any efforts made to
give notice and the reasons why it should not be
required.'” Oliphant v. Villano, No.
3:09-cv-862 (JBA), 2010 WL 537749, at *12 (D. Conn. Feb. 11,
2010) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)). Preliminary injunctive
relief is an extraordinary remedy and is never awarded as a
matter of right. Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008); Johnson v. Newport
Lorillard, No. 3:01-cv-9587 (SAS), 2003 WL 169797, at *1
(S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2003). “In deciding a motion for
preliminary injunction, [I] may consider the entire record
including affidavits and other hearsay evidence.”
Johnson at *1.
seeking a preliminary injunction must establish (1) he will
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of the injunction and
(2) either a likelihood of success on the merits or
“sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to
make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance of
hardships tipping decidedly in the movant's favor.”
Jolly v. Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468, 473 (2d Cir. 1996)
(internal quotation marks omitted). See also Shapiro v.
Cadman Towers, Inc., 51 F.3d 328, 332 (2d Cir. 1995);
Mitchell v. Cuomo, 748 F.2d 804, 806 (2d Cir. 1984).
With respect to the first prong, when a movant's claim
involves the alleged deprivation of a constitutional right,
“no further showing of irreparable injury is
necessary.” Mitchell at 806. As for the second
prong, a higher standard applies where the injunction sought
“is properly characterized as a ‘mandatory'
rather than ‘prohibitory' injunction.” In
that situation, the movant “must make a
‘clear' or ‘substantial' showing of a
likelihood of success.” Jolly at 473 (quoting
Tom Doherty Assocs., Inc. v. Saban Entertainment,
Inc., 60 F.3d 27, 33-34 (2d Cir. 1995)).
present record, which consists only of a complaint, is
insufficient to warrant any form of preliminary injunctive
relief. Brown has not shown that he will suffer irreparable
harm in the absence of an order prohibiting Coursen, a
defendant in the case, from contacting him. Moreover,
granting Brown's request would substantially limit the
ability of both parties to conduct discovery in this case or
resolve their disputes prior to trial. Therefore, to the
extent Brown seeks any form of injunctive relief at this
point, his request is DENIED without prejudice.
request for a protective order (Doc. #15) is
DENIED without prejudice subject to refiling ...