United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ANTHONY P. PATTI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER 
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN United States District Court Judge
William Cowan is a prisoner in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections. He filed the this action on July
2, 2015, alleging that he was denied a Ramadan meal,
resulting in a “hypoglycemic low blood sugar
attack” and restraint by staff. Dkt. No. 1. The Court
dismissed Plaintiff's claims arising out of denial of his
Ramadan meal because Plaintiff had not exhausted his
administrative remedies, but allowed his claims related to
mistreatment during his restraint to continue. Dkt. No. 40. A
motion to change venue to the Western District of Michigan is
currently pending before the Court. Dkt. No. 51.
February 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion “for an
injunction for a temporary restraining order.” Dkt. No.
58. In his motion, Plaintiff alleges that staff at the Alger
Correctional Facility (LMF) have been subjecting Plaintiff to
“undue burden, retaliation, destruction of legal
property, annoyance[, ] and harassment.” Id.
at 1. He requests that the Court order him to be transferred
to a prison “out of the jurisdiction of the upper
peninsula where more of the department's employees who
are named in [P]laintiff[']s suit has [sic] familiar and
friends working and an order for the administration here at
L.M.F. to cease harassing [P]laintiff and vandalizing his
property.” Id. at 2.
Standards for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining
temporary restraining order is an extraordinary measure of
relief that a federal court may impose without notice to the
adverse party if, in an affidavit or verified complaint, the
movant “clearly show[s] that immediate and irreparable
injury, loss, or damage will result to the movant before the
adverse party can be heard in opposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
65(b)(1)(A). The purpose in issuing a temporary restraining
order is to preserve the status quo pending a fuller hearing.
In order to prevail on a motion for injunctive relief, the
moving party must demonstrate that (1) it is likely to
succeed on the merits; (2) it is likely to suffer irreparable
harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of
equities tips in its favor; and (4) that the relief sought is
in the public interest. Winter v. Natural Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
cannot show any chance of success on the merits because the
allegations and relief requested in his motion for a
temporary restraining order are unrelated to the allegations
in his complaint.
The Court Lacks Jurisdiction
complaint-the subject of the present case-arises out of
incidents that occurred in July 2014 at the Chippewa
Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan, while his
motion for a temporary restraining order complains of
harassment in 2017 at the Alger Correctional Facility in
Munising, Michigan. Compare Dkt. No. 1 with
Dkt. No. 58. The persons against whom Plaintiff seeks relief
in his motion-administrative staff at the Alger facility-are
not defendants in this action. Id.
district court has no authority to grant relief in the form
of a temporary restraining order where it has no jurisdiction
over the parties. Ruhrgas AG v. Marathon Oil Co.,
526 U.S. 574, 584 (1999). The individuals working at the
Alger Correctional Facility have not been served with a legal
complaint, and none of the individuals against whom Plaintiff
seeks relief in his motion are defendants in this case.
Plaintiff also provides no specific facts to show that these
individuals were acting “in active concert or
participation” with defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(d)(2);
Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395
U.S. 100, 112 (1969) (“[A] nonparty with notice cannot
be held in contempt until shown to be in concert or
federal court may issue an injunction if it has personal
jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter jurisdiction
over the claim; it may not attempt to determine the rights of
persons not before the court.” Zepeda v. United
States Immigration Service, 753 F.2d 719, 727 (9th Cir.
1985). Because the court lacks jurisdiction over the
individuals against whom Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief,
his motion must be denied.
Plaintiff's Request is Defective
Rule 65(b)(1) permits issuance of a temporary restraining
order without notice to the adverse party only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint
clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or
damage will result to the movant before the adverse ...