Wednesday, July 18, 2007

8th Circuit Holds Defendant Has No Standing To Seek Injunction Based on Change of Custodial Placement

Per Meuir v. Greene County Jail Employees, 487 F.3d 1115 (8th Cir.(Mo.) Jun 06, 2007) (NO. 05-3394):

Next, Meuir also petitioned for injunctive relief against Greene County, seeking to end the Jail's unwritten pull-teeth-only policy. Article III of the United States Constitution confines the jurisdiction of federal courts to justiciable cases and controversies. U.S. Const. art. III, ยง 2; Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559-60, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). "[S]tanding is an essential and unchanging part of the case-or-controversy requirement of Article III." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, 112 S.Ct. 2130. Courts are "obliged to examine standing sua sponte where standing has erroneously been assumed below." Adarand Const., Inc. v. Mineta, 534 U.S. 103, 109, 122 S.Ct. 511, 151 L.Ed.2d 489 (2001). Standing to seek injunctive relief requires a plaintiff, inter alia, to show a likelihood of a future injury. City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 111, 103 S.Ct. 1660, 75 L.Ed.2d 675 (1983).

The district court assumed Meuir had standing for injunctive relief. We find, however, that standing is lacking given Meuir's changed custodial placement. Meuir filed suit against Greene County *1120 four months after his transfer to Farmington, Missouri, some 200 miles away, where his dental ailments have been treated apparently without complaint. Meuir's deposition suggests that he expects to serve the remainder of his 15-year term of imprisonment in Farmington. No reason exists to suspect that Meuir will ever return to the Jail. Therefore, we conclude that Meuir lacks standing to challenge the alleged policy.


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