United States District Court, D. Idaho
WILLIAM S. FLETCHER, Plaintiff,
IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, IDAHO COMMISSION OF PARDON & PAROLE, SANDY JONES, KAREN CLIFFORD Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill U.S. District Court Judge.
the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Injunction
or Stay (Dkt. 9). Having reviewed the briefing, as well as
the record in this case, the Court has determined that oral
argument is unnecessary. Accordingly, the Court enters the
11, 2018, Plaintiff William Fletcher filed a complaint
against Defendants the Idaho Department of Corrections, Idaho
Commission of Pardon & Parole, its executive director
Sandy Jones, and Karen Clifford, Mr. Fletcher's parole
officer. Dkt. 2 at 2. Mr. Fletcher alleged that Defendants
had violated his “due process of liberty
interest” under the “stigma plus test” by
conditioning his parole on compliance with several sex
offender restrictions. Id. at 2-3. On February 15,
2019, Mr. Fletcher filed the Motion for Temporary Injunction
or Stay now before the Court.
65 preliminary injunction may be granted if the moving party
demonstrates the following elements: (1) that the moving
party will suffer irreparable injury if the relief is denied;
(2) that the moving party will probably prevail on the
merits; (3) that the balance of potential harm favors the
moving party; and (4) that the public interest favors
granting relief. Winter v. Natural Res. Defense Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); Doe v. Kelly, 878
F.3d 710, 719 (9th Cir. 2017). “Because a preliminary
injunction is an extraordinary remedy, the movant's right
to relief must be clear and unequivocal.” Dominion
Video Satellite v. Echostar Satellite Corp., 269 F.3d
1149, 1154 (10th Cir. 2001).
purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status
quo if the balance of equities so heavily favors the moving
party that justice requires the court to intervene to secure
the positions of the parties until the merits of the action
are ultimately determined. University of Texas v.
Camenisch, 451 U.S. 390, 395 (1981). In deciding whether
to issue a preliminary injunction, the Court “is not
bound to decide doubtful and difficult questions of law or
disputed questions of fact.” Int'l
Molders' and Allied Workers' Local Union No. 164 v.
Nelson, 799 F.2d 547, 551 (9th Cir.1986). Because the
first element-likelihood of success on the merits-is “a
threshold inquiry, when a plaintiff has failed to show the
likelihood of success on the merits, [a district court] need
not consider the remaining three.” Garcia v.
Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733, 740 (9th Cir. 2015)
(internal quotation marks omitted).
Court also notes that Mr. Fletcher is proceeding in this
matter pro se, and as such his Motion must be construed
liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (“A document filed pro se is to be liberally
construed....”). However, “pro se litigants in
the ordinary civil case should not be treated more favorably
than parties with attorneys of record.” Jacobsen v.
Filler, 790 F.2d 1362, 1364 (9th Cir.1986).
Motion, Mr. Fletcher asks the Court to stop Defendants from
infringing his constitutional rights by labeling him as a sex
offender and “place[ing him] under the sex offender
parole on a non sex offender charge or offense.” Dkt. 9
at 1. Mr. Fletcher notes that these conditions may force him
to move out of his apartment because a school was just built
nearby. Id. He further argues that he showed the
Court in his initial filings that his state court conviction
is unconstitutional because he was not arraigned on the
charge in the indictment. Id. at 1-2. Specifically,
Mr. Fletcher asks the Court to enjoin or stay Defendants from
imposing conditions of parole, and instead release him on his
own recognizance. Id. at 2.
it is not entirely clear from the face of Mr. Fletcher's
Complaint or Motion for Temporary Injunction or Stay, he
appears to be bringing a Section 1983 defamation claim
“under the stigma-plus test.” See Dkts.
1, 9. A cognizable defamation claim under this test requires
a plaintiff to allege an injury to reputation
“plus” a loss of a recognizable property or
liberty interest. Cooper v. Dupnik, 924 F.2d 1520,
1532 (9th Cir. 1991). To prove defamation in Idaho, a
plaintiff must show that the defendant: “(1)
communicated information concerning the plaintiff to others;
(2) that the information was defamatory; and (3) that the
plaintiff was damaged because of the communication.”
Irish v. Hall, 163 Idaho 603, 607, (2018). The Ninth
Circuit has indicated two ways that a plaintiff could meet
the so-called “plus” part of the test: (1) allege
that the injury to reputation was inflicted in connection
with a federally protected right; or (2) allege that the
injury to reputation caused the denial of a federally
protected right.” Crowe v. County of San
Diego, 608 F.3d 406, 444 (9th Cir. 2010).
Fletcher's Motion does not show a likelihood of success
on the merits of a defamation claim, let alone a defamatory
constitutional tort under the “stigma-plus” test.
For one thing, Mr. Fletcher does not allege the supposed
defamatory material was published to a third party. Failure
to allege the first element of the alleged defamatory
statement suggests Mr. Fletcher would not be likely to
succeed on his claim. See Hall 163 Idaho at 607. Nor
does Mr. Fletcher connect the state's alleged defamation
to the loss of a recognizable property or liberty interest,
which does not allow the Court to assess Mr. Fletcher's
likelihood of success on the “plus” factor of the
alleged defamation under the stigma plus test. Because Mr.
Fletcher has not demonstrated that he is likely to succeed on
the merits of his defamation claim under the
“stigma-plus” test, the Court will deny his
the Court need not consider the other three factors, it notes
that Mr. Fletcher has also failed to allege the sort of
irreparable injury that would justify granting preliminary
injunctive relief For the foregoing reasons, the Court ...