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Munson v. Overall

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 6, 2018

JAMES MUNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
L. OVERALL, DR. HENDERSON, DR. NEWBOLD, WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC. and DR. LITHERLAND, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          DONALD G. WILKERSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson by United States District Judge J. Phil Gilbert 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 on Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 2). For the following reasons, it is RECOMMENDED the Motion for Preliminary Injunction be DENIED and that the Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff James Munson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights that allegedly occurred at Menard Correctional Center and Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”). In his Complaint, Plaintiff claims the defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical issues in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Doc. 1). The Court conducted a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and Munson was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count 1 - Defendants showed deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious dental needs and pain associated therewith in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Count 2 - Dr. Litherland retaliated against Plaintiff for filing grievances by refusing Plaintiff requested treatment when Plaintiff told him he had filed grievances, in violation of the First Amendment.

         Munson's claims revolve around the dental care he received while at Menard and Lawrence from November, 2010 until filing of his suit (Doc. 12, p. 2).[1] Plaintiff alleges he requested a copy of his dental records in March, 2017 (Doc. 2, ¶3). While he was provided with documents, the records did not include copies of any of his x-rays (Doc. 2, ¶ 7); specifically x-rays taken on September 9, 2016 and March 20, 2017 (Doc. 2, ¶¶ 5, 7). When he asked why the x-rays were not included, he was told by the nurse they did not have a machine to copy x-rays and could not simply provide a regular photocopy (Doc. 2, ¶ 7).

         Defendants have confirmed that Munson's medical records contain three panoramic x-rays from 2008, 2014 and 2016 (Doc. 47, ¶ 7). Additionally, “smaller” x-rays from 2017 are also contained in the medical records (Doc. 27, ¶ 7). Further, counsel has confirmed that Lawrence (where the medical records are currently housed) does not have the machinery necessary to copy or digitize x-rays and that copying the x-rays using a regular photocopier would distort the picture beyond use (Doc. 47, ¶8).

         Because the facts at issue are not in dispute, the Court finds a hearing would be futile.

         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 ALANWRIGHT, ARTHUR RMILLER, & 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). 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). To obtain a preliminary injunction the movant 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. of Health, 699 F.3d 962, 972 (7th Cir. 2012).[2]

         Here, Munson has not shown that he will suffer any irreparable harm absent an injunction.[3]Irreparable harm requires proof of more than a mere possibility of harm, although the harm does not need to actually occur or even be certain to occur. Michigan v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng'rs, 667 F.3d 765, 788 (7th Cir. 2011). The broadest reading of Munson's motion would suggest he alleges that because he has gotten photocopies of his x-rays in the past, Defendants refusal to provide him with copies now indicates they may intend to destroy them. The only basis for such a conclusion is a hearsay statement from another inmate that Lawrence has a propensity to destroy x-rays (Doc. 2, ¶ 9). In short, Munson is speculating. Further, the response by Defendants indicates the x-rays have not in fact been destroyed, but rather remain part of Munson's medical file (Doc. 47, ¶¶ 7-8). Because Munson has presented only speculation that his x-rays are likely to be destroyed, he has failed to show he will suffer irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction.

         Recommendations

         For the above stated reasons, it is RECOMMENDED the Court DENY Munson's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 2) and that the Court adopt the ...


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