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Brown v. Bimbo Foods Bakeries Distribution, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

November 4, 2016

CLIFFORD A. BROWN, III, Plaintiff,
v.
BIMBO FOODS BAKERIES DISTRIBUTION, LLC, f/k/a BIMBO FOODS BAKERIES DISTRIBUTION, INC., a/k/a BIMBO BAKERIES USA and BIMBO FOOD BAKERIES, SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO GEORGE WESTON BAKERIES DISTRIBUTION, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          REBECCA BEACH SMITH, CHIEF JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Injunction ("Motion"), filed on August 4, 2016. ECF No. 3. On August 12, 2016, this court referred the Motion to United States Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller, pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), to conduct necessary hearings, and to submit to the undersigned district judge proposed findings of fact and recommendations of law for the disposition of the Motion. ECF No. 8.

         On August 19, 2016, the Defendant filed an "Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Injunction" ("Opposition"). ECF No. 10. On the same day, the Defendant filed three declarations to accompany its Opposition. ECF Nos. 11, 12, 13. On August 24, 2016, the Plaintiff filed a "Reply to Defendant's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Injunction" ("Reply"). ECF No. 17. On August 25, 2016, the Plaintiff filed a correction to his Reply. ECF No. 18.

         The Magistrate Judge conducted hearings on the Motion on August 29, 2016, and filed a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") on September 13, 2016. ECF No. 25. The Magistrate Judge recommended denying the Plaintiff's Motion. Id. at 2. By copy of the R&R, the parties were advised of their right to file written objections to the findings and recommendations made by the Magistrate Judge. See id. at 28. On September 27, 2017, the Plaintiff filed an "Objection to Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation" ("Objections"). ECF No. 28. The Defendant filed a Response to the Plaintiff's Objections ("Response") on October 11, 2016. ECF No. 30.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Injunctive Relief

         "A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008) (citing Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689- 90 (2008)). In considering a preliminary injunction, "courts *must balance the competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on each party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief.'" Id. (quoting Amoco Prod. Co. v. Village of Gambell, 480 U.S. 531, 542 (1987)). Furthermore, courts "should pay particular regard for the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of injunction." Id. (quoting Weinberger v. Romero-Barcelo, 456 U.S. 305, 312 (1982) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Overall, "[a] plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Id. at 20; see also Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery Cty., 722 F.3d 184, 188 (4th Cir. 2013).

         B. Review of Magistrate Judge's R&R

         Pursuant to Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court, having reviewed the record in its entirety, shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the R&R to which the Plaintiff has specifically objected. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Objections must be "specific and particularized." United States v. Midqette, 478 F.3d 616, 621 (4th Cir. 2007) . The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the magistrate judge, or recommit the matter to him with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         II. PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS

         The Plaintiff lists five (5) objections to the R&R.[1] Before ruling on the R&R, the court will examine each in turn.

         Objection 1

         The Plaintiff first objects that the Magistrate Judge's "strict application" of the Winter test will deny him his remedy under Pennsylvania law. Obj. at 6. The Plaintiff complains that his failure to satisfy Winter and obtain an injunction may jeopardize his ultimate recovery under Pennsylvania law. But the Plaintiff's failure to satisfy the Winter standard is not a reason to disregard it and award "an extraordinary remedy." Winter, 555 U.S. at 24. Courts do "not impose an injunction lightly." Cantley v. W.Va. Reg'l Jail & Corr. Facility Auth., 771 F.3d 201, 207 (4th Cir. 2014).

         Contrary to the Plaintiff's assertion, denial of his Motion does not mean that the court has "disregard[ed] Pennsylvania law." Obj. at 8; see R&R at 15 (reviewing the elements of breach of contract under Pennsylvania law). The Winter standard applies to requests for preliminary injunctions, even under state substantive law.

         In the same section of his first objection, the Plaintiff includes a related objection that he describes as a second objection: The R&R "sets the bar so incredibly high that plaintiffs in this [c]ourt would rarely, if ever, be entitled to injunctive relief." Id. at 10. But preliminary injunctions are intended to be a rare, extraordinary remedy. See Winter, 555 U.S. ...


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