United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants improperly denied
him access to certain materials he ordered through the mail.
Plaintiff contends Defendants' actions were inconsistent
with the Department of Corrections' policies, violated
his First Amendment rights, and constitute unlawful
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for
preliminary injunction. Plaintiff asks the Court to order
Defendants to permit him to possess the materials. Following
a review of the record and after consideration of the
parties' arguments, I recommend the Court deny the
evaluating a request for preliminary injunction, courts
“must consider (1) the likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) the potential for irreparable harm if the
injunction is denied; (3) the balance of relevant
impositions, i.e., the hardship to the nonmovant if enjoined
as contrasted with the hardship to the movant if no
injunction issues; and (4) the effect (if any) of the
court's ruling on the public interest.”
Ross-Simons of Warwick, Inc. v. Baccarat, Inc., 102
F.3d 12, 15 (1st Cir. 1996). The likelihood of success factor
is given the most weight. Id. at 16
(“Likelihood of success is the main bearing
denied Plaintiff delivery of the materials pursuant to
Department policy because the materials included depictions
of prohibited sexual or violent content. (Defendants'
Opposition, ECF No. 70.) Regardless of Plaintiff's theory
of recovery, on the record before the Court, Plaintiff has
not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits.
“[T]he right [of inmates] to receive publications free
from government regulation is subject to the same limitations
as speech in general, including restrictions on obscene
speech.” Moses v. Dennehy, 523 F.Supp.2d 57,
59-60 (D. Mass. Nov. 19, 2007) (citing Martin v. City of
Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 143 (1943)). On this record,
which includes the exhibits filed by Defendants (ECF No.
70-2) and Plaintiff's description of the materials in a
related motion (ECF No. 63), Defendants' prohibition of
the materials appears to be rationally related to the
government's legitimate penological interests. See
e.g., Amatel v. Reno, 156 F.3d 192 (D.C. Cir. 1998).
Plaintiff has also offered no record evidence that would
demonstrate that he is likely to prevail on his
none of the other factors militates in favor of an
injunction. The materials to which Plaintiff seeks access
would be available to him to review and possess in the event
he prevailed on his claim and monetary damages would be
sufficient to compensate him from the temporary deprivation
of the materials. Plaintiff, therefore, has failed to
demonstrate the irreparable harm necessary for a preliminary
injunction. For similar reasons, the potential hardship to
Plaintiff if an injunction issues is minimal compared to the
potential hardship to the government of an injunction that
would cause a significant change in the administration of the
prison. Indeed, “judicial restraint is especially
called for in dealing with the complex and intractable
problems of prison administration.” Rogers v.
Scurr, 676 F.2d 1211, 1214 (8th Cir. 1982). Finally,
given that the policy governing the materials is designed to
further the security and management of the prison, on the
current record, the public's interest in the orderly
administration of the prison outweighs Plaintiff's
interest in possessing the materials. A preliminary
injunction, therefore, is not warranted.
on the foregoing analysis, I recommend the Court deny
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (ECF No.
may file objections to those specified portions of a
magistrate judge's report or proposed findings or
recommended decisions entered pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B) for which de novo review by the district court
is sought, together with a supporting memorandum, and request
for oral argument before the district judge, if any is
sought, within fourteen (14) days of being served with a copy
thereof. A responsive memorandum and any request for oral
argument before the district judge shall be filed within
fourteen (14) days after the filing of the objection.
to file a timely objection shall constitute a waiver of the
right to de novo review by the district court and to ...