Bratcher v. Clarke, 051319 FED4, 18-7307

Docket Nº:18-7307
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM.
Party Name:JOSEPH BRATCHER, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. HAROLD CLARKE, Defendant-Appellee.
Attorney:Joseph Allen Bratcher, Appellant Pro Se.
Judge Panel:Before FLOYD and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and TRAXLER, Senior Circuit Judge.
Case Date:May 13, 2019
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

JOSEPH BRATCHER, Plaintiff - Appellant,


HAROLD CLARKE, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 18-7307

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

May 13, 2019


Submitted: April 19, 2019

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Anthony John Trenga, District Judge. (1:17-cv-00474-AJT-MSN)

Joseph Allen Bratcher, Appellant Pro Se.

Before FLOYD and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and TRAXLER, Senior Circuit Judge.

Vacated and remanded with instructions by unpublished per curiam opinion.

Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.


Joseph Allen Bratcher appeals the district court's order granting Harold Clarke's motion for summary judgment and denying Bratcher's motion for a preliminary injunction on his First and Fourteenth Amendment claims raised pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012). Before addressing the merits of Bratcher's appeal, we first must be assured that we have jurisdiction. Porter v. Zook, 803 F.3d 694, 696 (4th Cir. 2015). "The doctrine of mootness constitutes a part of the constitutional limits of federal court jurisdiction, which extends only to actual cases or controversies." Porter v. Clarke, 852 F.3d 358, 363 (4th Cir. 2017) (alteration, citations, and internal quotation marks omitted). "[A] case is moot when the issues presented are no longer 'live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome." Carter v. Fleming, 879 F.3d 132, 137 (4th Cir. 2018) (internal quotation marks omitted). "[F]or a controversy to be moot, it must lack at least one of the three required elements of Article III standing: (1) injury in fact, (2) causation, or (3) redressability." Townes v. Jarvis, 577 F.3d 543, 546-47 (4th Cir. 2009).

While this appeal was pending, Bratcher was released from custody. In his complaint, Bratcher only sought declaratory and injunctive relief. "[A]s a general rule, a prisoner's transfer or release from a particular prison moots his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to his incarceration there." Rendelman v. Rouse, 569 F.3d 182, 186 (4th Cir. 2009). We...

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