United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
C. HOPPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Robert Pharoah Howard, a Virginia Department of Corrections
(“VDOC”) inmate filed this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging that Defendants, various personnel at
Red Onion State Prison (“Red Onion”), violated
his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution. This matter is before me on Howard's motion
for a preliminary injunction (“Motion”), ECF No.
55, which he filed after being transferred to River North
Correctional Center (“River North”). As relief,
Howard seeks to be transferred to a different prison
facility. For the reasons below, I will deny Howard's
motion, Howard alleges that on June 5, 2019, at River North
he was beaten for ten minutes in his cell by a fellow-inmate
for refusing to pay money to a prison gang. See
Pl.'s Mot. ¶ 1-2. He states that before the incident
he was extorted by his attacker, but he did not inform his
Unit Manager because “they would have called my
[e]xtortioner in their office and question[ed] him about
it.” Id. at ¶ 3. After the incident, he
reluctantly told his building supervisors about the dispute
with the prison gang, and his Unit Manager “went right
over and told [his attacker] everything that [he] told
them.” Id. at ¶ 4. Later, his attacker
came to his cell door and told Howard, “‘you
ain't safe in A300 Pod or anywhere on this compound or
any other prison.'” Id. He also alleges
that a “[f]emale control booth officer” overheard
his attacker “put a hit on [his] life.”
Id. at ¶ 5. Based on these events, he asks this
Court for an injunction transferring him to Augusta
Correctional Center. Id.
a preliminary injunction may issue, a movant must establish
four elements: (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2)
he is likely to suffer irreparable harm; (3) the balance of
equities tips in his favor; and (4) an injunction is in the
public interest. Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 19-22 (2008). A failure to establish
any element is fatal. See Real Truth about Obama, Inc. v.
FEC, 575 F.3d 342, 347 (4th Cir. 2009). Furthermore, a
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary remedy, to
be granted only if the moving party clearly establishes
entitlement to the relief sought.” Hughes Network
Sys. v. Interdigital Communications Corp., 17 F.3d 691,
693 (4th Cir. 1994) (quoting Federal Leasing, Inc. v.
Underwriteres at Lloyd's, 650 F.2d 495, 499 (4th
Cir. 1981)). It requires that a court, “acting on an
incomplete record, order a party to act, or refrain from
acting, in a certain way.” Id. In this vein, 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 v. TWA, 111 F.3d 14, 16 (4th Cir.
1997). Thus, “a party moving for a preliminary
injunction must necessarily establish a relationship between
the injury claimed in the party's motion and the conduct
asserted in the complaint.” Id. (quoting
Devose v. Herrington, 42 F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir.
Howard has not alleged that any VDOC personnel at River North
knew of any particular risk of harm that he faced prior to
the assault. And he has not shown that any protective
measures taken after the assault fail to protect him.
Although Howard's description of the assault and the
injuries he sustained is very concerning, his allegations in
the Motion do not show a likelihood of success on the merits.
Howard fails to draw any connection between the allegations
in his Complaint and his alleged assault in June 2019.
Indeed, the facts in his original pleading concern an
incident with a different inmate that took place more than
two years earlier at a different institution. See Jones
v. Wolfson, No. 78 Civ. 2803, 1980 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
10481, at *2-3 (Mar. 6, 1980) (denying prisoner request for
an injunction because the “allegations about the
conditions of his present confinement are directed against
the wrong parties.”).
I find that Howard has failed to establish that he is
entitled to a preliminary injunction, and his motion for a
preliminary injunction, ECF No. 55, is
DENIED. If Howard wishes to take legal
action concerning the alleged threat to his safety, he may do
so by filing a new civil action in this Court.
Clerk shall deliver a copy of this ...