United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is a motion for temporary restraining order or
preliminary injunction filed by Plaintiff Hjalmar Rodriguez
Jr. (Doc. 140). Because Plaintiff has not satisfied his
burden of showing that the extraordinary remedy of
preliminary injunctive relief is appropriate, Plaintiff's
motion is DENIED.
is a Muslim prisoner housed within the Georgia Diagnostic and
Classification Prison's Special Management Unit, a
facility reserved for “inmates with a history of
disciplinary problems and who are deemed security or escape
risks.” Turner v. Warden, GDCP, 650 Fed.Appx.
695, 697 (11th Cir. 2016). Plaintiff's motion for
preliminary injunctive relief relates, at least in part, to
the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which will end on June 14,
2018. Decl. of Samantha Minardo, Doc. 141-1, ¶ 4. Given
this impending deadline, which may render moot some of
Plaintiff's injunctive requests, and based also on
Plaintiff's own request for “exp[e]dited
consideration, ” (Doc. 140, p. 1), the Court enters
this ruling without the benefit of a reply brief.
motion for preliminary injunctive relief relates to (1)
Ramadan fasting during “daylight hours rang[ing] from
5:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m., ” (Doc. 140-1, p. 3), and (2) a
general Islamic requirement that Plaintiff conduct
“mandatory full body cleansing . . . ever[y]
twenty-four (24) hours.” Doc. 140-1, p. 1. Plaintiff
describes two problems related to Ramadan fasting. First,
Plaintiff alleges he is “completely denied the
nutritional calorie counts of the midday meal” while
fasting. Doc. 140-1, p. 2. More precisely, Plaintiff appears
to allege that he is provided with only two-thirds of the
standard 2, 800 calorie-per-day prison diet, or around 1, 867
calories, during Ramadan. (Doc. 140-1, p. 7) (“3.33%
Plaintiff alleges that his evening meals, typically beans and
rice, “more often than not . . . contain foreign
objects.” (Doc. 140-1, p. 3). These foreign objects-
“rocks, sticks, bugs and dirt, ” (Doc. 140-1, p.
1)-are unintentionally harvested along with “beans and
other vegetables [grown] by inmates at Rogers State
Prison.” Doc. 39-1, p. 10. Plaintiff claims these
foreign objects pose a health risk, and Plaintiff is
currently litigating an Eighth Amendment claim based on
allegations that he previously “bit down on a rock,
” injured his tooth, and received inadequate medical
attention in response. See Doc. 39-1, pp. 16-22.
Plaintiff also asserts that the foreign objects in his
evening meals further detract from the “availability
[of] adequate nutrition.” Doc. 140-1, p. 3.
addition to these fasting problems, Plaintiff alleges that he
is denied “the simple opportunity to shower once a day,
” (Doc. 140-1, p. 12), and is therefore unable to
perform “Ghusal” or “Ghulsal, ” the
required “bathing [of] the [w]hole body … each
body part [ceremonial cleaned] three (3) times, [once] every
twenty-four (24) hours[.]” Doc. 39-1, p. 14; Doc.
140-1, p. 2. Without the cleanliness derived from this
ceremony, Plaintiff believes that his “prayers are
hindered and ultimately not [accepted], i.e. void.”
Doc. 39-1, p. 15. Unlike fasting, which occurs only during
Ramadan, the Ghusal requirement seems to apply throughout the
year. That said, Plaintiff's motion is reasonably read as
seeking a means “to proper[ly] clean the body [only]
during the month of Ramad[a]n.” Doc. 140, p. 1.
Plaintiff also asks the Court to “order [the]
Defendant[s] to provide adequate nutritious food”
during Ramadan. Id.
Defendants note, Plaintiff's motion is unaccompanied by
supporting affidavits, and his most recent amended complaint
is unverified. Doc. 141, p. 3. Plaintiff's motion thus
lacks the evidentiary support typically required for
preliminary injunctive relief. See, e.g., Dunn
v. Warden, Ware State Prison, 644 Fed.Appx. 898, 900
(11th Cir. 2016) (“Because the complaint was not
verified, its allegations could not be considered evidence
supporting injunctive relief”). The Court is mindful,
however, that Plaintiff could have submitted affidavits along
with his reply brief, if time had permitted a reply.
Moreover, Plaintiff did cite to relevant prison grievances
attached as exhibits to a prior motion for preliminary
injunctive relief. Doc. 140-1, p. 11 (citing CM/ECF Docket
Nos. 11-12, 11-13, 11-15, 11-16). These exhibits are properly
considered for purposes of Plaintiff's present motion.
See Levi Strauss & Co. v. Sunrise Int'l Trading,
Inc., 51 F.3d 982, 985 (11th Cir. 1995) (“a
district court may rely on … hearsay materials which
would not be admissible evidence for a permanent injunction,
if the evidence is appropriate given the character and
objectives of the injunctive proceeding”) (internal
when Plaintiff's allegations are treated as verified,
Plaintiff has failed to satisfy the heavy burden of
demonstrating that preliminary injunctive relief is
appropriate. On that basis, therefore, and as discussed in
greater detail below, Plaintiff's motion is denied.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). “In each
case, courts must balance the competing claims of injury and
must consider the effect on each party of the granting or
withholding of the requested relief.” Id.
(internal quotations omitted). In conducting this analysis,
courts consider four factors: “(1) a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits; (2) that irreparable
injury will be suffered unless the injunction issues; (3) the
threatened injury to the movant outweighs whatever damage the
proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and (4) if
issued, the injunction would not be adverse to the public
interest.” Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, B.V.,
v. Consorcio Barr, S.A., 320 F.3d 1205, 1210 (11th Cir.
2003). The “movant must clearly carry the burden of
persuasion” as to each of these four factors.
regard to both (1) Ramadan fasting, and (2)
“Ghusal” bodily cleansing, Plaintiff has failed
to carry his burden of persuasion as to the factors relevant
to the preliminary injunctive relief analysis. Accordingly,
Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief is