United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. LEICHTY JUDGE
Douglas Wyatt, Jr., a prisoner without a lawyer, is
proceeding against Ms. Fox, Ms. Dice, Lieutenant Bennett, and
Sergeant Calvert for monetary damages on his Eighth Amendment
claim for allegedly failing to protect him from inmate
assaults on August 27, 2018, and August 28, 2018. ECF 12 at
4. He has filed two motions for injunctive relief requesting
that he be permanently placed in protective custody. ECF 26,
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic
remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by
a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.”
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). To
obtain a preliminary injunction, the moving party must show:
(1) he will suffer irreparable harm before the final
resolution of his claims; (2) available remedies at law are
inadequate; and (3) he has a likelihood of success on the
merits. See BBL, Inc. v. City of Angola, 809 F.3d
317, 323-24 (7th Cir. 2015). The court then “weighs the
competing harms to the parties if an injunction is granted or
denied and also considers the public interest.”
Korte v. Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654, 665 (7th Cir.
2013). Furthermore, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), injunctive relief must be
“narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to
remedy the constitutional violation, and must use the least
intrusive means to correct the violation of the federal
right.” Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 681
(7th Cir. 2012).
The PLRA circumscribes the scope of the court's authority
to enter an injunction in the corrections context. Where
prison conditions are found to violate federal rights,
remedial injunctive relief must be narrowly drawn, extend no
further than necessary to correct the violation of the
Federal right, and use the least intrusive means necessary to
correct the violation of the Federal right. This section of
the PLRA enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme
Court in cases challenging prison conditions: Prison
officials have broad administrative and discretionary
authority over the institutions they manage.
Id. at 683 (quotation marks, brackets, and citations
first motion, Mr. Wyatt asserts that, on August 16, 2019, he
was placed in Unit G-118, which is the “Honor Dorm,
” at Miami Correctional Facility. ECF 26 at 2. He is
requesting that the court “order an injunction and give
[n]otice to Warden William Hyatte” that he remain in
the Honor Dorm so that he will not be assaulted again. ECF 26
at 3. Alternatively, Mr. Wyatt asks the court to facilitate
his transfer to another prison where he will be afforded
protective custody as Miami Correctional Facility does not
have a protective custody unit. Id. at 4.
second motion, Mr. Wyatt states that, on December 6, 2019, he
was moved from Unit G-118 to Unit N-329, where other inmates
have now threatened to assault him. ECF 27 at 1. He states he
is fearful that if he stays in either this dorm or any
“idle dorm” he will be assaulted. Id. He
further acknowledges that his first motion for injunctive
relief is likely moot as he was not in danger when he filed
it because he was housed in Unit G-118 in the Honor Dorm.
Id. However, Mr. Wyatt now believes he is in danger
of being assaulted because he is housed in Unit N-329, and
his counselor, Ms. Fox, who processes his legal papers, is a
defendant in this case. Id. He requests that he be
placed back in the Honor Dorm or alternatively be transferred
to a facility where he can be afforded protective custody
threshold matter, Mr. Wyatt's requests for injunctive
relief are based on allegations that are outside the scope of
his claim in this case. The only claim Mr. Wyatt is
proceeding on in this matter is an Eighth Amendment claim for
money damages against Ms. Fox, Ms. Dice, Lieutenant Bennett,
and Sergeant Calvert for allegedly failing to protect him
from inmate assaults on August 27, 2018, and August 28, 2018.
ECF 12 at 4. The court has not given him leave to proceed on
any claim related to events in 2019, or on any claim for
injunctive relief. Because Mr. Wyatt's requests for
injunctive relief only relate to events in 2019, they are
outside the scope of the claims permitted by this court's
screening order. However, even if the facts contained in his
motions were included in his complaint, his requests for
injunctive relief would be denied.
case, Mr. Wyatt has failed to make a clear showing that he is
entitled to injunctive relief because he has not alleged
specific imminent threats in either of his motions for
injunctive relief or his requests for protection. In his
first motion for injunctive relief, Mr. Wyatt alleged that
“after discovering [that he had] been convicted of a
past sex offense, problems started such as extortion,
threats, beatings, . . .” (ECF 26 at 1). In his second
motion, he alleges that “I have again been threatened
about my previous convictions and I'm sure that soon I
will get assaulted.” ECF 27 at 1. In July 2019, Mr.
Wyatt completed a request for protection in which he claimed
he was being “threatened because [he had] a prior sex
offense [in 2006].” ECF 33-3 at 1. Because Mr. Wyatt
has asserted vague and ambiguous claims, they are
insufficient in putting prison officials on notice of an
alleged risk to his safety. Grieveson v. Anderson,
538 F.3d 763, 777 (7th Cir. 2008) (defendants were not
deliberately indifferent where plaintiff failed to identify a
tangible threat to his safety and instead said he felt unsafe
and wanted to be moved).
the prison's staff reasonably responded to Mr.
Wyatt's requests for protection. “[A]n officer who
actually knew of a substantial risk to a detainee's
safety is free from liability ‘if [he] responded
reasonably to the risk, even if the harm ultimately was not
averted, because in that case it cannot be said that [he was]
deliberately indifferent.” Borello v. Allison,
446 F.3d 742, 747 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Fisher v.
Lovejoy, 414 F.3d 659, 662 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal
citations omitted)). Each time Mr. Wyatt requested
protection, prison staff implemented precautionary measures
to remove him from the perceived threats.
3, 2019, Mr. Wyatt submitted a request for protection in
which he alleged that he was being threatened and assaulted
by fellow inmates. ECF 33-1 ¶ 4. He claimed that the
brother of the victim he sexually assaulted in 2006 was
housed in the same facility, and the victim's brother
planned to have him killed by the Aryan Brotherhood.
Id. However, the identity of the victim's
brother could not be confirmed. ECF 33-2 at 1. Because Mr.
Wyatt was not able to identify the individual who was
threatening him-in lieu of protection-he was moved to a
different unit. ECF 33-1 ¶ 5.
weeks later, on July 20, 2019, Mr. Wyatt submitted a second
request for protection, claiming that he had been threatened
and attacked because he turned in another offender for having
a contraband cell phone. ECF 33-1 ¶ 6. After an
investigation, Mr. Wyatt was denied protective custody due to
a lack of information, but he was granted a bed move away
from the other offender. Id. ¶ 7. About ten
days later, on July 31, 2019, he submitted a third request
for protection, in which he again alleged that he was being
threatened by the same offender for his prior sex offense.
Id. ¶ 8. However, he was not able to provide
additional information to differentiate his third request
from his previous two requests. Id. In lieu of
protection, Mr. Wyatt was moved from his current unit and
placed in the Honor Unit. Id. On December 6, 2019,
Mr. Wyatt was removed from the Honor Unit and placed in Unit
N due to a Class B conduct report. Id. ¶ 9. He
also submitted a fourth request for protection and, in lieu
of protective custody, was moved to Unit J. Id.
¶ 10. Therefore, based on the record before the court,
prison staff addressed Mr. Wyatt's safety concerns and
took precautionary measures by moving him to different units.
case, injunctive relief is also not warranted because Mr.
Wyatt has confirmed that his housing placement is
appropriate. ECF 33-1 ¶ 11. On December 19, 2019,
Nathanael Angle, Unit Team Manager, spoke with Mr. Wyatt, who
told him that he “feels decent” remaining in Unit
J. Id. Mr. Angle and Mr. Wyatt discussed alternative
housing options, and Mr. Wyatt indicated that he would like
to move back to the Honors Dorm. Id. ¶ 12.
However, Mr. Angle informed him that he would need to check
on the status of his conduct report. Id. Mr. Wyatt
also requested a facility transfer. Mr. Angle informed him
that he would complete the necessary paperwork for an
appropriate level transfer due to the ongoing issues at Miami
Correctional Facility. Id. ¶ 13. He also told
Mr. Angle that, if he could not be transferred to the Honors
Dorm, he would be alright with getting a job on the
“A/O side of J Unit” until his transfer was
completed. Id. ¶ 14. This option is currently
being evaluated. Id. Mr. Wyatt has not expressed any
fear of being harmed by other offenders in his current
placement. Id. ¶ 15. Instead, he generally
expressed contentment with his current placement.
Id. ¶ 16.
Mr. Wyatt's satisfaction with his current housing
placement, the prison staff's continued efforts to
address his concerns, and the lack of an imminent threat of
harm, Mr. Wyatt has not demonstrated that he is in danger or
that he will suffer ...