United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
R. UNDERHILL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
September 10, 2018, Jerome Riddick, filed an amended
complaint (doc. no. 24) against the defendants for breach of
the settlement agreement executed on March 5, 2014 and the
May 14, 2015 clarification of the terms of that agreement in
accordance with my previous instruction. See Order,
Doc. No. 23. The defendants answered the amended complaint on
January 3, 2019. Answer, Doc. No. 39. Riddick has filed three
motions for preliminary injunctive and declaratory relief
against the defendants. See Doc. Nos. 40, 42, 44.
For the following reasons, all three motions are denied.
Motion for Enforcement of Settlement Agreement (Doc. No.
December 31, 2018, Riddick filed an “Emergency Motion
to Enforce [the] Settlement Agreement.” Doc. No. 40. At
the time, he was confined at Northern Correctional
Institution (“Northern”). In his motion, he
argued that the defendants breached the settlement agreement
by transferring him to Northern without first conducting a
mental health evaluation. Id. He seeks an order
compelling the defendants to transfer him back to his
original housing unit at Garner Correctional Institution
(“Garner”) because “everyday he's at
Northern he's in segregation/isolation and [in a]
restrictive housing unit without an affirmative determination
that such . . . confinement conditions are medically
appropriate.” Id. at 2-3. The record reflects
that Riddick is no longer confined at Northern and is
currently confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut. I construe
Riddick's motion as a motion for preliminary injunctive
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). A movant seeking a
preliminary injunction must establish (1) 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); Shapiro v. Cadman Towers, Inc., 51 F.3d 328,
332 (2d Cir. 1995).
respect to the first prong, courts will presume that a movant
has established irreparable harm in the absence of injunctive
relief when the movant's claim involves the alleged
deprivation of a constitutional right. Jolly, 76
F.3d at 482. However, the likelihood of irreparable harm must
be “actual and imminent, ” not speculative.
New York v. Nuclear Regulator Comm'n, 550 F.2d
745, 754 (2d Cir. 1977).
moving party is seeking a “mandatory injunction,
” meaning an injunction that changes the status quo by
commanding the opposing party to perform a positive act, then
he must satisfy an even higher standard of proof with respect
to the second prong. D.D. ex rel. V.D. v. New York City
Bd. of Educ., 465 F.3d 503, 510 (2d Cir. 2006). He
“‘must make a clear or substantial showing of a
likelihood of success' on the merits . . . a standard
especially appropriate when a preliminary injunction is
sought against the government.” Id. (quoting
Jolly, 76 F.3d at 473). A mandatory preliminary
injunction “should issue only upon a clear showing that
the moving party is entitled to the relief requested, or
where extreme or very serious damage will result from a
denial of preliminary relief.” Citigroup Global
Mkts., Inc. v. VCG Special Opportunities Master Fund
Ltd., 598 F.3d 30, 35 n.4 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
case, Riddick seeks a mandatory injunction compelling the
defendants to transfer him out of Northern and back to his
housing unit at Garner because his placement in restrictive
housing at Northern without medical evaluation is a breach of
the settlement agreement. Because Riddick is no longer
confined at Northern, there is no indication that the harm
created by the defendants is ongoing, and thus, his request
for a mandatory injunction is moot. See Prims v.
Coughlin, 76 F.3d 504, 506 (2d Cir. 1996) (transfer of
prisoner out of facility against which he seeks injunctive
and/or declaratory relief renders claim for such relief
moot); Young v. Coughlin, 866 F.2d 567, 568 n.1 (2d
Cir. 1989) (same). Moreover, Riddick has not shown a
substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his claim
or that the denial of such a mandatory injunction will result
in severe, irreparable harm. Therefore, the motion for
preliminary injunctive relief (doc. no. 40) is
Motion for Declaratory Judgment (Doc. No. 42)
January 8, 2019, Riddick filed a “Motion for
Declaratory Judgment, ” which seeks “a speedy
hearing for his request for declaratory relief.” Mot.
for Declaratory J., Doc. No. 42 at 2. In my initial review of
the amended complaint, I permitted Riddick's claim for
declaratory relief to proceed against the defendants in their
official capacities. Review of Am. Compl., Doc. No. 25.
Courts in this Circuit have recognized the power to issue
preliminary declaratory relief when necessary. See
Langmead v. Monroe County Office of Sheriff, 2013 WL
3759958, at *3 (W.D.N.Y. July 15, 2013); Merrill Lynch,
Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. v. Doe, 868 F.Supp. 532,
535 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). Preliminary declaratory relief is
conditioned on the same standards as preliminary injunctive
relief. See Merrill Lynch, 868 F.Supp. at 535-36.
Riddick's motion for a preliminary declaratory judgment
fails for the same reasons as his motion for preliminary
injunctive relief. He has not shown that absence of such a
judgment will result in severe irreparable harm, particularly
in light of his recent transfer out of Northern. Therefore,
the motion for a preliminary declaratory judgment (doc. no.
42) is denied.
Motion for Supervisory Order (Doc. No. 44)
January 25, 2019, Riddick filed an “Emergency Motion
for Supervisory Order” (doc. No. 44) in which he seeks
an order compelling the defendants to perform
“periodical reviews of the medical appropriateness for
the need of continued confinement at Northern, or other
prisons more restrictive than Garner.” Mot. for Superv.
Order, Doc. No. 44. One of the provisions of the settlement
agreement prohibits the defendants from transferring Riddick
to Northern, or any facility more restrictive than Garner,
unless the Clinical Director for Mental Health first
evaluates his mental health status. Release and Settlement
Agreement, Doc. No. 41 at 4. Thus, the instant motion appears
to be yet another motion for preliminary injunctive relief.
This motion (doc. no. 44) is denied for the
same reasons as his other motion (doc. no. 40).
motions for preliminary injunctive and declaratory relief