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Johnsonn v. Baldwin

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 5, 2018

MR. BALDWIN, et al., Defendants.


          Hon. Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Robert Johnson, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. In particular, Plaintiff alleges he was denied adequate treatment for his serious medical needs and his institution failed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities and Rehabilitation Acts. Along with his complaint, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Injunctive Relief (Doc. 4), which the Court construes as a motion for preliminary injunction. The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge David R. Herndon pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation. It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and DENY AS MOOT Plaintiff's Motion for Injunctive Relief (Doc. 4).

         Findings of Fact

         In his complaint, Plaintiff sets forth a number of issues he experienced at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). More specifically, Plaintiff asserts that he suffers from a medical condition causing deterioration of his hips, legs, and back that have not been adequately treated. As a result of his medical condition, Plaintiff is confined to a wheelchair and he alleges that personnel at Pinckneyville violated the ADA by overcrowding wheelchair-designated cells and failing to maintain a protective custody unit that can accommodate wheelchair-bound inmates.

         Plaintiff alleges he was retaliated against for filing grievances concerning these issues. Plaintiff's complaint was screened under 28 U.S.C. §1915A and he was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count Two: Defendants Myers and Heck retaliated against Plaintiff for filing grievances by placing him in an overcrowded cell with violent inmates, refusing his requests for protective custody, issuing disciplinary reports against him, placing him in segregation, and refusing to provide him with needed medical care, in violation of the First Amendment.
Count Four: Claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or the Rehabilitation Act due to Pinckneyville's failure to maintain a protective custody unit that could accommodate physically challenged and wheelchair-bound inmates. Plaintiff proceeds on this claim against Defendants Baldwin and Jaimet only in their official capacities.
Count Five: Defendants Myers and Heck violated Plaintiff's due process rights by issuing him disciplinary reports for his refusing to be housed in general population and finding him guilty for those charges, resulting in his placement in solitary confinement and loss of good-conduct credit.

         In his motion now before the Court, Plaintiff asks that an order be issued against the Warden of Pinckneyville to place Plaintiff in administrative segregation, or in the alternative, to transfer him to an IDOC facility with cells that accommodate wheelchairs. Plaintiff also requests an order directing the warden and other staff members to cease and desist from issuing retaliatory disciplinary reports, and provide medical care for his urgent medical needs.

         In support of his motion, Plaintiff explains that he has been refused medical care for his deteriorating hip disease and numbness in his left arm and left leg. Plaintiff also explains that officers retaliated against him by refusing to allow him to shower, failing to ensure he received an insulin shot, and confiscating his legal materials and toiletries during a shakedown. Plaintiff contends that he has been issued illegal offender disciplinary reports since his arrival to Pinckneyville in 2016 and, as a result, has been kept in solitary confinement.

         Conclusions of Law

         A 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). 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. Commissioner of Indiana State Dept. 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). If Plaintiff meets his burden, the Court must then 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. In addition, 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. § 3626(a)(2). Finally, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d)(2), a preliminary injunction would bind only the parties, their officers or agents, or persons in active concert with the parties or their agents.

         In this instance, the Court's analysis of whether Plaintiff met his threshold burden of demonstrating a need for a preliminary injunction is curtailed in light of his transfer from Pinckneyville to his current institution, Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Plaintiff submitted a notice of change of address with the Court on January 10, 2018 (see Doc. 16). Plaintiff remains incarcerated at Menard to date. It is well established that when a prisoner is transferred or released from IDOC custody his claims for injunctive relief are moot. See Easterling v. Pollard, 528 Fed.Appx. 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Grayson v. Schuler, 666 F.3d 450, 451 (7th Cir. 2012); Vinning-El v. Evans, 657 F.3d 591, 592 (7th Cir. 2011)); see also Higgason v. Farley, 83 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 1996). Said relief is moot unless the prisoner “can demonstrate that he is likely to be retransferred.” Higgason, 83 F.3d at 811 (citation omitted); see also Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 716 (7th Cir. 2011). Here, there is no evidence that Plaintiff is likely to be transferred back to Pinckneyville. Accordingly, Plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief is moot.

         Reco ...

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