United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
pending before the Court is the Motion for Preliminary
Injunction filed by Plaintiff on February 29, 2016 (Doc. 26),
the Supplement filed by Plaintiff on March 7, 2016 (Doc. 29),
the Supplement filed by Plaintiff on July 18, 2016 (Doc. 53),
the Responses filed by Defendants on August 11, 2016 (Docs.
71 and 72), and the Reply filed by Plaintiff on August 22,
2016 (Doc. 77).
Dennis Thompson, an inmate currently incarcerated at the
Menard Correctional Center, is proceeding on a Second Amended
Complaint which alleges claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 related to his serious health need, morbid obesity, and
related conditions. Specifically, the Second Amended
Complaint alleges six counts related to his medical care,
prison accommodations, and retaliation for filing lawsuits
(Doc. 16). In his request for injunctive relief, Plaintiff
seeks a referral to a specialist for a surgery consultation
regarding his spine and hip and a transfer to the South Cell
House. In supplements, Plaintiff further requests various
medical and living accommodations.
claims that he was diagnosed with morbid obesity in May 2010
but that the health concerns that are the subject of this
action began when he was moved to the North Cell House at
Menard on November 19, 2013. Plaintiff claims that the cell
he was moved to is smaller than his former cell in the South
Cell House, thus preventing him from performing necessary
exercises to combat the deleterious effects on his health
caused by his excessive weight (Doc. 26, pp. 5-7). These
effects include degenerative disc disease in his spine and
osteoarthritis in his right hip which in turn have led to
mobility problems (Id. 7).
supplement, Plaintiff states that on February 3, 2016, he was
scheduled for a surgery consultation with a specialist with
respect to his hip; the date of the consultation was set for
April 8, 2016 (Doc. 29, Doc. 53, p. 2)). During the
consultation, it was recommended that Plaintiff have a total
hip replacement in the future after he “gets as much
mileage” out of his current hip as he can. The
specialist also recommended that Plaintiff not walk up and
down steps and wrote a prescription for pain management
medication (Doc. 53, pp. 2-3). Plaintiff did not see a prison
doctor until two weeks after the consultation, where he was
informed that the new medication the specialist prescribed
was not in stock and could not be provided until Dr. Trost
approved (Id., p. 3). Plaintiff alleges that Dr.
Trost has never given him the stronger pain medication
prescribed by the specialist and has never approved the
specialist's mobility restrictions, thus exacerbating his
medical condition (Id.). Plaintiff believes that if
he is not given immediate relief, he may be forced to use a
wheelchair. Accordingly, he seeks an Order that would move
him to a larger cell where he can exercise, which, in turn,
will reduce the progression of his joint diseases, help him
maintain and/or lose weight, and otherwise result in a better
health outcome and continued independent mobility.
medical records reveal he has been grossly obese since at
least January 2012 (Doc. 26, p. 13), has had numerous x-rays
of his spine and hip, has been prescribed various pain
medications since that time, and has been directed to perform
some exercise. An x-ray of his spine taken on May 25, 2010,
revealed minimal degenerative changes (at the thoracic spine)
and a loss of the curvature of his cervical spine (Doc. 26-1,
p. 5). An x-ray taken two years later, on April 25, 2012,
noted no changes to Plaintiff's cervical spine
(Id., p. 6). The following year, an x-ray revealed
no issues with his lumbar spine (Id., p. 7); but on
December 4, 2015, it is noted that there “is
progression of degenerative disc disease” in the lumbar
spine since June 11, 2013 (Id., p. 9).
January 18, 2016 x-ray revealed “moderate to severe
osteoarthritis” in Plaintiff's right hip (Doc.
26-1, p. 10). Plaintiff was approved for an outside
consultation on March 9, 2016 (Doc. 71-3, p. 11), and he was
examined by Dr. Bret H. Miller, the specialist, on April 8,
2016 (Doc. 71-8, p. 1). Dr. Miller's report, which was
signed and submitted to Dr. Trost on August 8, 2016, states
that Plaintiff is not a good candidate for surgery because of
his size, that he “needs to be doing some physical
therapy stretching and mobilization of his hips, ” and
that “we are going to have him use Mobic 15 mg
daily” (Id., p. 3). The report further notes
that Dr. Miller gave Plaintiff two refills of Mobic and
states: “We will see how he does with the Mobic and
home exercises” (Id.). Plaintiff was directed
to return on an as needed basis (Id.).
Miller's report contradicts the statements made in
Plaintiff's supplemental brief (Doc. 53) in that no
mobility limitations were ordered (i.e., Dr. Miller did not
indicate in his report that Plaintiff is not to walk up and
down stairs), and no additional medication was ordered other
than Mobic, an anti-inflammatory that Plaintiff had received
in the past from the prison and was clearly available (Doc.
71-1, p. 1). As of April 26, 2016, Plaintiff was given a
permit which called for a low bunk, shower in gallery, slow
walk, and front cuff (but not low gallery), which expires on
April 26, 2017 (Doc. 71-7, p. 7).
nonetheless contends that he requires injunctive relief in
order to have a specialist exam his back condition (which he
claims is worse than his hip condition), to compel the jail
to move him back to the South Cell House where he will be
able to exercise in his cell,  to compel Dr. Trost to comply
with Dr. Miller's instructions, to compel Dr. Trost to
provide additional and more effective pain medication, and to
compel additional diagnostic tests to monitor the progression
of his degenerative joint conditions.
preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary and drastic
remedy” for which there must be a “clear
showing” that Plaintiff is entitled to relief.
Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997)
(quoting 11A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller, &
Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §2948 (5th
ed. 1995)). The purpose of such an injunction is “to
minimize the hardship to the parties pending the ultimate
resolution of the lawsuit.” Faheem-El v.
Klincar, 841 F.2d 712, 717 (7th Cir. 1988).
qualify for injunctive relief, Plaintiff has the burden of
demonstrating: (1) a reasonable likelihood of success on the
merits; (2) no adequate remedy at law; and (3) irreparable
harm absent the injunction. Planned Parenthood v.
Comm'r of Indiana State Dep't Health, 699 F.3d
962, 972 (7th Cir. 2012). As to the first hurdle, the Court
must determine whether “plaintiff has any likelihood of
success-in other words, a greater than negligible chance of
winning.” AM General Corp. v. DaimlerChrysler
Corp., 311 F.3d 796, 804 (7th Cir. 2002).
Plaintiff has met his burden, the Court must weigh “the
balance of harm to the parties if the injunction is granted
or denied and also evaluate the effect of an injunction on
the public interest.” Id.; Korte v.
Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654, 665 (7th Cir. 2013). “This
equitable balancing proceeds on a sliding-scale analysis; the
greater the likelihood of success of the merits, the less
heavily the balance of harms must tip in the moving
party's favor.” Korte, 735 F.3d at 665.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act provides that a preliminary
injunction must be “narrowly drawn, extend no further
than necessary to correct the harm . . ., ” and
“be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that
harm.” 18 U.S.C. § ...