United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
31, 2017, this case, including a motion for preliminary
injunction (Doc. 3), was severed from a related case filed by
Plaintiff Ted Knox (Case No. 17-494-SMY-RJD). Knox brings an
Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his
serious dental needs against the defendants for allegedly
denying and delaying care for an abscessed and infected tooth
in April and May 2017. Defendant Lashbrook responded to the
motion for preliminary injunction on June 26, 2017 (Doc. 21).
Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams held an evidentiary
hearing on June 28, 2017, and later issued a report &
recommendation (Doc. 35) recommending that the undersigned
deny Knox's motion. Knox timely filed objections to the
report & recommendation (Doc. 37) to which Defendants did
objections having been filed, the Court undertakes de
novo review of the portions to the Report to which
Plaintiff specifically objected. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); SDIL-LR 73.1(b). The
undersigned can accept, reject, or modify Magistrate Judge
Williams' recommendations, receive further evidence, or
recommit the matter with instructions.
Id. For the reasons stated below,
the Court ADOPTS Magistrate Judge
Williams' recommendations and DENIES
Knox's motion for a preliminary injunction.
alleges that he has been denied adequate care for an
abscessed and infected tooth. He began having issues with one
of his front teeth on April 23, 2017, so he submitted a
request for medical attention. Over the next several days,
his tooth became very painful, leading to blood and pus in
his mouth and to the tooth growing loose. On April 30, 2017,
Knox alleges that he submitted another medical request form
after waking up with blood on his pillow. His issues with
unsuccessful medical requests and blood and pus from his
tooth continued for several weeks, during which time he
allegedly showed his tooth to numerous nurses who came by his
10, 2017, Knox claims that he submitted an emergency
grievance to Warden Lashbrook, but he never received a
response. By May 18, 2017, Knox's tooth broke off
completely and began bleeding profusely, at which point he
was taken to the healthcare unit where he saw Dr.
Asselmeier, a dentist, and was given antibiotics and
ibuprofen. Knox allegedly asked for an MRI to determine the
extent of his infection and for a dental partial to cover his
now-missing tooth, but his requests were denied.
Lashbrook responded to Knox's motion for preliminary
injunction, providing an affidavit from Gail Walls, the
Healthcare Unit Administrator at Menard Correctional Center.
According to Walls, Knox suffers from chronic periodontitis
for which he receives treatment regularly. On June 20, 2017,
Knox met with dental director Newbold who prescribed new
antibiotics for Knox's periodontitis and scheduled a
follow-up appointment. Newbold told Knox that the dental
partial he wanted was not a viable option due to his
periodontitis. At the evidentiary hearing, Knox admitted
that, with the antibiotics prescribed by Newbold, the
swelling in his mouth improved, but he still would like an
MRI, as he is concerned that the infection might have spread
elsewhere in his body. He believes an MRI could show where
any infection has spread and believes that his tooth issue is
causing an issue with his sinuses.
Asselmeier testified to Knox's ongoing periodontal issues
and indicated that the extent of Knox's bone loss as a
result of the disease does not make him a good candidate for
the partial Knox seeks. Asselmeier acknowledged that he saw
Knox on May 18, 2017, for a tooth that he said Knox knocked
out and that was lost due to Knox's periodontitis. He
testified that he did not see any signs of infection at that
time and did not prescribe antibiotics, despite Knox having a
pill sheet that showed he was given antibiotics that day.
According to Asselmeier, despite Knox's belief that an
MRI is necessary, MRIs are not typically used in dentistry.
the hearing, Magistrate Judge Williams requested additional
records from the parties. Defendants submitted additional
medical records, and Plaintiff provided records related to
prescription antibiotics he received. After reviewing the
evidence, Magistrate Judge Williams recommended that the
undersigned deny Knox's motion for a preliminary
injunction. According to the report and recommendation,
Knox's testimony and medical records demonstrate that he
is being treated by the dental staff, as he had received
thirty days' worth of antibiotics and was scheduled for a
follow-up appointment. Judge Williams found Dr.
Asselmeier's testimony credible that Knox did not require
an MRI because they generally are not used in dentistry.
Ultimately, the report and recommendation concluded that the
dental staff was working to evaluate whether Knox could
receive a successful dental partial with the severity of his
periodontitis and that Knox did not face irreparable harm if
he did not receive one during the pendency of his case.
timely filed objections in which he states that he believes
Defendants falsified his medical records in various ways and
engaged in “gamesmanship” by scheduling a dental
appointment for him shortly before the evidentiary hearing.
He complained that he had not received a follow-up
appointment and did not believe he would. He restated his
belief that he needs an MRI to show the extent of his
infection and blames Menard for the severity of his
periodontitis. He also argues that any delay in receiving the
dental partial will cause him additional dental problems.
Knox's objections generally challenge two conclusions in
the report and recommendation: the conclusion that Defendants
are not required to give Knox an MRI at this stage and the
finding that he will not be irreparably harmed if he does not
receive a new dental partial while this case is pending.
review is de novo, the Court conducts an
“independent review of the evidence and arguments
without giving any presumptive weight to the magistrate
judge's conclusion, ” and “is free, and
encouraged, to consider all of the available information
about the case when making this independent decision.”
Mendez v. Republic Bank, 725 F.3d 651, 661
(7th Cir. 2013).
preliminary injunction is “an extraordinary and drastic
remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant,
by a clear showing, carries the burden of
persuasion.” Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520
U.S. 968, 972 (1997)(emphasis in original). Accord Winter
v. Natural Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24
(2008) (“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary
remedy never awarded as of right”)(citation
secure a preliminary injunction, the movant must show (1)
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, (2) that he is
likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction, (3)
that the harm he would suffer is greater than the harm a
preliminary injunction would inflict on defendants, and (4)
that the injunction is in the public interest.
Judge v. Quinn, 612 F.3d 537, 546 (7th Cir.
2010)(citing Winter, 555 U.S. at 20). The
“considerations are interdependent: the greater the
likelihood of success on the merits, the ...