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Salgado v. Siddiqui

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 20, 2018

ANTONIO SALGADO, Plaintiff,
v.
MOHAMMAD SIDDIQUI, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Introduction

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 57). Plaintiff seeks an order from the Court directing the Warden of Lawrence Correctional Center to transport Plaintiff for a medical examination. Defendant Siddiqui has filed a response (Doc. 58) in opposition to the motion. This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams by United States District Judge J. Phil Gilbert pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B) and (c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and Local Rule 72.1(a). Based on the following, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DENY Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff's complaint alleged that Defendant Siddiqui was deliberately indifferent in diagnosing and treating a lump on Plaintiff's chest in 2015. Plaintiff still suffers from the lump and alleges that he has continuing pain associated with the lump. Plaintiff seeks a preliminary injunction in the form of transportation to Carle Richland Memorial Hospital for a physical examination to diagnose the nature of the lump and the associated pain. Plaintiff seeks an order directed to Warden Kevin Kink at Lawrence Correctional Center, who is not currently a party to the case but who Plaintiff seeks to add to the case for the purposes of implementing Plaintiff's request (See Doc. 55), to transfer Plaintiff to Carle Richland Memorial Hospital to be examined by Plaintiff's expert Stephen Rosett.

         Legal Standards

         Injunctions are extraordinary equitable remedies that are to be granted in civil cases only when specific criteria are clearly met by the movant. Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). The plaintiff must show four elements for an injunction: (1) plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) without an injunction irreparable harm against the plaintiff is likely; (3) the harm likely to be suffered by the plaintiff would be greater than the harm the injunction would inflict on defendants; and (4) the injunction is in the public interest. Id. The greater the likelihood that the plaintiff will succeed on the merits of the case, the less significant the likely harm against the plaintiff must be in relation to the harm the defendant will likely suffer due to an injunction. Id. According to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) injunctions in the prison context must be “narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm.” 18 U.S.C.A. § 3626. Courts may issue preliminary injunctions only on notice to the adverse party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(1).

         In the context of prisoner litigation, there are further restrictions on courts' remedial power. The scope of the court's authority to enter an injunction in the corrections context is circumscribed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012). Under the PLRA, preliminary injunction relief “must be narrowly drawn, extend no further than necessary to correct the harm the court finds requires preliminary relief, and be the least intrusive means necessary to correct that harm.” 18 U.S.C. §3626(a)(2). See also Westefer, 682 F.3d at 683 (the PLRA “enforces a point repeatedly made by the Supreme Court in cases challenging prison conditions:prison officials have broad administrative and discretionary authority over the institutions they manage”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

         The Seventh Circuit has described injunctions like the one sought here, where an injunction would require an affirmative act by the defendant, as a mandatory preliminary injunction. Graham v. Med. Mut. of Ohio, 130 F.3d 293, 295 (7th Cir. 1997). Mandatory injunctions are “cautiously viewed and sparingly issued, ” since they require the court to command a defendant to take a particular action. Id. (citing Jordan v. Wolke, 593 F.2d 772, 774 (7th Cir. 1978)). See also W.A. Mack, Inc. v. Gen. Motors Corp., 260 F.2d 886, 890 (7th Cir. 1958) (“A preliminary injunction does not issue which gives to a plaintiff the actual advantage which would be obtained in a final decree.”).

         Analysis

         Plaintiff seeks an order from this Court directing the warden of Lawrence Correctional Center to transport Plaintiff to the local hospital to be examined by Plaintiff's proposed expert Dr. Stephen Rossett. Plaintiff argues that without an independent medical examination, Plaintiff will have difficulty proving his case and will continue to suffer from irreparable harm due to the continued pain that he suffers from the lump. The undersigned notes that the warden is not currently a party to the case but Plaintiff has filed a motion to amend his complaint in order to add the warden for purposes of this motion (See Doc. 55).

         The undersigned finds that a preliminary injunction is not warranted at this juncture. Plaintiff seeks treatment by an outside medical professional for his condition. The undersigned first notes that Plaintiff has not provided the Court with verifiable evidence that his condition presents a serious medical need requiring immediate attention. He has not submitted an expert report yet, even though he was previously given until May 29, 2018 to do so. Further, while Plaintiff argues that he will suffer irreparable harm as the lump on his chest continues to cause him pain, the Court notes that discovery in this case is about to close, dispositive motions are due soon after, and the case is set for trial in November 2018. Thus, the duration to the conclusion of this case is short and Plaintiff has not shown how this short period of time will cause irreparable harm to his condition. Further, the undersigned notes that the relief Plaintiff seeks, transportation to an outside medical provider for care, is the type of relief that Plaintiff could seek at the conclusion of this case. Such injunctive relief is not warranted when the order would give “to a plaintiff the actual advantage which would be obtained in a final decree.” W.A. Mack, Inc., v. General Motors Corp., 260 F.2d 886, 890 (7th Cir. 1958). Thus, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Court FIND that a preliminary injunction is not warranted at this stage of the litigation process.

         Nor does the undersigned find that Plaintiff's case will be significantly impaired if the preliminary injunction is not granted. Plaintiff, in essence, seeks a Court order for his proposed expert to review his condition at an outside hospital. The undersigned is hesitant to direct the prison to transport Plaintiff outside of the prison given the obvious security concerns with such a transport. Further, the Court is “reluctant to interfere with the internal administration of state prisons because [it is] less qualified to do so than prison authorities.” Thomas v. Ramos, 130 F.3d 754, 764 (7th Cir. 1997)(citations omitted). This is especially true in light of the fact that Plaintiff has not made a showing that transportation for review by an expert is necessary. Plaintiff could have his proposed expert travel to Lawrence Correctional Center to review Plaintiff's condition at the prison. The undersigned would have no problem in entering such an order to allow the doctor into the prison for review of Plaintiff. Plaintiff could also present an expert report based on the medical records and evidence in the case without an in-person evaluation. Such an expert could testify as to what diagnostics are needed to accurately determine the cause of Plaintiff's lump and pain. Neither of these options would have the safety and security concerns presented by an order to transport Plaintiff outside of the prison, as Plaintiff requests with his current motion. Given that Plaintiff has other options for obtaining the expert testimony that he seeks for his case, the undersigned FINDS that transportation outside of the prison is not necessary and RECOMMENDS that the Court DENY Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction.

         Similarly, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Court DENY Plaintiff's request, in the alternative, to appoint a neutral expert. Plaintiff has already identified a physician that he wants as an expert witness. This appears to be an attempt to obtain his own expert at a reduced cost rather than a neutral expert as court-appointed experts are entitled to a reasonable compensation set out by the court and proportioned amongst the parties by the court. Fed.R.Evid. 706(c). Further, the Court does not find that the issues ...


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