United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
PAUL C. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
H. W. CLARKE, et al., Defendants.
K. Moon, United States District Judge
Thompson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The matters before the court are two motions for extension of
time, a motion for reconsideration, a motion for preliminary
injunction, and a motion for a ruling. See Dkt. Nos.
34, 36, 37, 39, 44. After reviewing the record, I will grant
the motions for extension of time, I will deny the motion for
reconsideration and the motion for preliminary injunction,
and I will dismiss the motion for a ruling as moot.
threshold, I will grant both motions for extension of time.
Dkt. Nos. 37, 39. Next, I will address the Thompson's
motion for reconsideration and motion for a ruling.
filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's denial
of his motion for extension of time to respond to the
defendants' motion to dismiss and/or the motion for
partial summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 34. As stated
in the May 23, 2018 order, the court has granted Thompson
multiple extensions, and informed him that, unless he made a
showing of good cause, the court would not grant him any more
additional time. He failed to show good cause, and the case
proceeded accordingly. Therefore, I will deny the motion for
reconsideration. Second, Thompson has moved for “a
ruling.” Dkt. No. 44. His patience is noted, and, after
this opinion and order, I will have ruled on all pending
motions. Therefore, the motion for a ruling is moot.
also filed a motion for preliminary injunction, asserting
that (1) he is being improperly detained in the medical
department as part of a retaliatory conspiracy to prevent him
from accessing his legal materials; (2) his medication is
being supplemented with an unknown substance that exacerbates
his conditions; (3) he has severe weight loss and his diet
should be supplemented; and (4) his incarceration at ROSP and
security level are improper and retaliatory.For relief, he
requests: (1) that staff either crush his meds in front of
him or stop crushing the pills entirely; (2) that medical
staff treat his medical issues; (3) access to his medical
records; and (4) a lowering of his security level and/or
transfer to another VDOC facility or to the Federal Bureau of
injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy that courts
should apply sparingly. See Direx Israel, Ltd. v.
Breakthrough Med. Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 811 (4th Cir.
1991). As a preliminary injunction temporarily affords an
extraordinary remedy prior to trial that can be granted
permanently after trial, the party seeking the preliminary
injunction must demonstrate: (1) by a “clear showing,
” that he is likely to succeed on the merits at trial;
(2) that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of preliminary relief; (3) that the balance of
equities tips in his favor; and (4) that an injunction is in
the public interest. See Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20-22 (2008).
interlocutory injunction is an extraordinary remedy that is
not appropriate when the harm complained of does not arise
from the harm alleged in the complaint. Omega World
Travel v. TWA, 111 F.3d 14, 16 (4th Cir. 1997). The
movant must establish a relationship between the injury
claimed in the motion and the conduct giving rise to the
complaint. Id.; see In re Microsoft Antitrust
Litig., 333 F.3d 517, 526 (4th Cir. 2003). “[A]
preliminary injunction may never issue to prevent an injury
or harm which not even the moving party contends was caused
by the wrong claimed in the underlying action.”
Omega World Travel, 111 F.3d at 16; Devose v.
Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir. 1994).
establish a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must allege: (1)
that he engaged in constitutionally protected conduct, (2) he
suffered an adverse action, and (3) that a causal link exists
between the protected conduct and the adverse action. A
Soc'y Without a Name v. Virginia, 655 F.3d 342, 350
(4th Cir. 2011). An inmate must present more than
“naked allegations of reprisal, ” Adams,
40 F.3d at 74, because “every act of discipline by
prison officials is by definition ‘retaliatory' in
the sense that it responds directly to prisoner misconduct,
” Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d 1310, 1317 (4th
Cir. 1996). “A plaintiff suffers adverse action if the
defendant's allegedly retaliatory conduct would likely
deter a person of ordinary firmness from the exercise of [the
protected] rights.” Constantine v. Rectors &
Visitors of George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 500 (4th
Cir. 2005). This objective inquiry examines the specific
facts of each case, taking into account the actors involved
and their relationship. Balt. Sun Co. v. Ehrlich,
437 F.3d 410, 416 (4th Cir. 2006). Because “conduct
that tends to chill the exercise of constitutional rights
might not itself deprive such rights, . . . a plaintiff need
not actually be deprived of [his] First Amendment rights in
order to establish . . . retaliation.”
Constantine, 411 F.3d at 500. Nonetheless,
“the plaintiff's actual response to the retaliatory
conduct provides some evidence of the tendency of that
conduct to chill such activity.” Id.
test for causation requires an inmate to show that, but for
the exercise of the protected right, the alleged retaliatory
act would not have occurred. Peterson v. Shanks, 149
F.3d 1140, 1144 (10th Cir. 1998). An inmate experiencing an
adverse action shortly after a correctional officer learns
that the prisoner engaged in a protected activity may create
an inference of causation, but, generally, mere temporal
proximity is “simply too slender a reed on which to
rest a Section 1983 retaliatory  claim.” Wagner
v. Wheeler, 13 F.3d 86, 91 (4th Cir. 1993); see also
Clark Cty. Sch. Dist. v. Breeden, 532 U.S. 268, 273
(2001) (finding an inference of causality only if “the
temporal proximity [is] very close”). “The Fourth
Circuit has not set forth a specific timeframe for what
constitutes very close.” Bowman v. Balt. City Bd.
of Sch. Comm'rs, 173 F.Supp.3d 242, 250 (D. Md.
2016). Nevertheless, even if the temporal proximity is
insufficient to create an inference of causation,
“courts may look to [events that might have occurred
during] the intervening period for other evidence of
retaliatory animus.” Lettieri v. Equant, Inc.,
478 F.3d 640, 650 (4th Cir. 2007).
threshold, Claims 2 and 3 are not related to the underlying
suit, because Thompson sues non-medical defendants
only. Thompson has not alleged that these
defendants, or the underlying claims against these
defendants, are related to the crushing of his medications or
his weight loss. Those actions are performed and overseen by
the medical department, and Thompson may file a separate
lawsuit pursuing relief on these claims.
in Claims 1 and 4, Thompson either alleges that his access to
the courts is being interfered with and/or retaliation is
occurring. I note that Thompson fails to specifically allege
that Claims 1 and 4, which involve events from another
correctional facility in 2014 and 2015 and events in 2018,
are related to the underlying complaint, which involve events
from ROSP in 2015. However, out of an abundance of caution
and the recent expansion of retaliation doctrine, I will
analyze the merits of the claims. See Booker v. S.C.
Dep't of Corr., 855 F.3d 533, 542 (4th Cir. 2017).
Claim 1, Thompson generally alleges that he is being
retaliated against and sequestered in the medical department
in order to chill his access to the courts. Specifically,
Thompson avers that the ROSP staff is unnecessarily confining
him to the medical unit in order to separate him from his
legal materials, because, while in ...