United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Dkt.
#45. Plaintiff seeks a “restraining order to be
followed by a preliminary injunction, to unlock
Plaintiff's access to the litigation evidence at his
laptop and to the corporate network.” Id. at
1. Defendants have responded, opposing the Motion. Dkt. #48.
For the following reasons, the Court denies the Motion.
acrimonious dispute continues to expand. Plaintiff first
initiated this action in state court based primarily on
allegations of employment discrimination due his ethnicity,
national origin, his care for his disabled child, and his use
of leave. See generally, Dkt. #1-2. Plaintiff
further alleges that he was retaliated against and that
Defendants did nothing to address his complaints.
Id. Plaintiff asserted state and federal
discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964,  the Americans with Disabilities Act,
Family Medical Leave Act, and the Washington Law Against
Discrimination,  as well as additional state and common law
claims related to the terms and conditions of his employment.
Id. Plaintiff sought various forms of relief to
remedy his harm, prevent future harms, and punish Defendants.
removed the action to this Court and subsequently filed a
motion to dismiss. Dkts. #1 and #8. The parties filed
numerous strongly contested motions including a motion to
remand, two motions to amend the Complaint to add new claims,
a motion to disqualify defense counsel, and motions for
relief from various deadlines. At the parties' request,
and while several motions were pending, the Court referred
this matter for a judicial settlement conference. Dkt. #43.
The parties were unable to come to a resolution and have
requested that the Court consider several of the earlier
motions. Dkt. #44. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff
filed this Motion.
parties have continued their dispute out of court as well.
Plaintiff has picketed outside numerous Amazon facilities,
engaged in a hunger strike, maintained a website detailing
his crusade, and attempted to engage additional employees in
protesting working conditions and unionizing. Dkts. #42 and
#45. Plaintiff maintains that Defendants, for their part,
cancelled his medical insurance, barred him from Amazon
properties, threatened him, harassed him, committed hate
crimes against him, and refused to investigate his
complaints. Id. More pertinent to this Motion,
Plaintiff alleges that after he sent Amazon employees an
email about unionization, Defendants blocked his access to
the corporate network, his files stored there, and the
ability to communicate with co-workers. Dkt. #45 at 4.
Plaintiff maintains that Defendants' actions were
intended to suppress his efforts at workforce organization.
Plaintiff further alleges that these actions cause him
significant prejudice because he is unable to access
important documents necessary for him to pursue this action.
Id. at 1.
grant or denial of a motion for a temporary restraining order
lies within the equitable discretion of the district
court.” Save Our Summers v. Wash. Dep't of
Ecology, 132 F.Supp.2d 896, 899 (E.D. Wash. 1999)
(citing Chalk v. U.S. Dist. Ct., 840 F.2d 701, 704
(9th Cir.1988)). To support a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”), the moving party must at
least show: (1) a likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) a likelihood of irreparable harm to the moving
party in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) that a
balance of equities tips in the favor of the moving party;
and (4) that an injunction is in the public interest.
Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S.
7, 20 (2008).
“[a] court's equitable power lies only over the
merits of the case or controversy before it. When a plaintiff
seeks injunctive relief based on claims not pled in the
complaint, the court does not have the authority to issue an
injunction.” Pac. Radiation Oncology, LLC v.
Queen's Med. Ctr., 810 F.3d 631, 633 (9th Cir.
there must be a relationship between the injury claimed in
the motion for injunctive relief and the conduct asserted in
the underlying complaint. This requires a sufficient nexus
between the claims raised in a motion for injunctive relief
and the claims set forth in the underlying complaint itself.
The relationship between the preliminary injunction and the
underlying complaint is sufficiently strong where the
preliminary injunction would grant “relief of the same
character as that which may be granted finally.”
Id. at 636 (quoting De Beers Consol. Mines v.
United States, 325 U.S. 212, 220 (1945)).
primary obstacle is that he seeks relief different from that
sought in his Complaint. Plaintiff argues that he is entitled
to injunctive relief forcing Defendants to return access on
the basis that their actions violated his First Amendment
rights, Washington laws protecting the right of employees to
organize, and the National Labor Relations Act. Dkt. #45 at
6-10. But these issues all arose after Plaintiff filed his
Complaint and are far afield from the discrimination claims
he originally brought. Pac. Radiation Oncology,
LLC., 810 F.3d at 636 (“Though new assertions of
misconduct might support additional claims against a
defendant, they do not support preliminary injunctions
entirely unrelated to the conduct asserted in the underlying
complaint.”) (citing Devose v. Herrington, 42
F.3d 470, 471 (8th Cir. 1994)). Plaintiff has sought several
times to amend the Complaint to add claims along the lines of
those alleged in his Motion. See Dkt. #42. But
Plaintiff has not been granted leave to amend and the
operative complaint remains the one Plaintiff filed in state
court. Returning access to the corporate network, files
stored there, and corporate email are unrelated to the relief
that Plaintiff seeks in his Complaint. For this reason,
the Court will not grant Plaintiff relief.
also does not convince the Court that he is likely to succeed
on the merits of his claims or that he will suffer
irreparable harm. Defendants point out that the merits of
Plaintiff's claims suffer from deficiencies. Dkt. #48 at
4-6. These include, for instance, that Plaintiff's First
Amendment rights are not implicated by the actions of
non-state, private actors and that the National Labor
Relations Board has jurisdiction over many of Plaintiff's
claims related to workforce organization. Id. at
4-5. Further, Plaintiff's desire to access materials he
believes will provide him valuable evidence in this action
does not represent irreparable harm. As Defendants note,
Plaintiff's inability to organize employees is in fact
the status quo and Plaintiff does not provide any indication
of why he will imminently suffer further harm if he is not
allowed to organize. Id. at 6-7. As to accessing
documents which may be evidence in this case or assist
Plaintiff in preparing his case, much of the information may
be available to him through the discovery process. For these
reasons, injunctive relief is not appropriate at this
having reviewed Plaintiff's Motion and the remainder of
the record, and for the reasons state above, the Court finds
good cause and ORDERS that Plaintiff's Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Dkt.
#45) is DENIED.