United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MATTHEW J. PETRAKIS, #B19052, Plaintiff,
SCOTT THOMPSON, CHRISTINE BROWN, PERCY MYERS, and ROB JEFFREYS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
31, 2019, in addition to his original Complaint (Doc. 1),
Plaintiff Matthew J. Petrakis filed a Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 2).
Petrakis asks the Court to order Defendants to accommodate
his hearing disability by providing someone to wake him up
each morning for breakfast or delivering to his cell a food
tray. (Doc. 2, p. 2).
Order was entered on June 4, 2019, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1915A, setting forth the claims that Petrakis's
hearing loss has caused him to miss meals in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the
Rehabilitation Act (“RA”) (Count 1); and that
Defendants Brown and Thompson exhibited deliberate
indifference to Petrakis's serious medical needs
regarding his hearing loss and inability to hear meal calls
in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Count 2). (Doc. 7, p.
4). The Court denied the request for a temporary restraining
order and directed Defendants to respond to his request for a
preliminary injunction (Doc. 7, p. 9; Doc. 11).
2, 2019, the Court granted Petrakis's Motion for Leave to
File an Amended Complaint (Doc. 25) and reviewed the First
Amended Complaint pursuant to Section 1915A. The First
Amended Complaint brought identical claims against Defendants
Baldwin, Brown, and Thompson and so Counts 1 and 2 survived
screening. (Doc. 23, p. 2). Petrakis also added an Eighth
Amendment claim against an additional defendant, Dr. Percy
Myers, for deliberate indifference to his serious medical
needs regarding his hearing loss by refusing to issue him
lower bunk and lower gallery permits. (Doc. 25, pp. 8-9). The
Court designated this claim as Count 3, which also survived
preliminary review. (Doc. 23, p. 2). A responsive pleading by
Dr. Myers is not due until September 3, 2019.
Jeffreys,  Brown, and Thompson filed a response to
the Motion for Preliminary Injunction on July 8, 2019 (Doc.
27). The Court held a hearing on the Motion on July 22, 2019.
First Amended Complaint alleges that Petrakis has had trouble
hearing since childhood, but his condition has worsened.
(Doc. 25, p. 5). On January 18, 2019, he failed a hearing
test and was scheduled to see an audiologist for further
testing. During his hearing test appointment, he informed a
nurse that he could not hear the calls for chow-lines, gym,
yard, and dayroom, as well as other notices given over the
intercom system. And, because he sleeps on one ear, he never
hears the call in the morning for breakfast. Id. At
his audiologist appointment on March 13, 2019, the audiogram
confirmed that he has 90% hearing loss in his right ear and
68% hearing loss in his left ear; two hearing aids were
the appointment, Petrakis wrote the ADA Coordinator and
Health Care Unit Administrator at Pinckneyville, Christine
Brown, informing her that he could not hear the calls for
meals and as a result had not been eating. Id. pp.
5-6. He did not receive a response, and so he filed an
emergency grievance on April 3, 2019, requesting an alarm
watch to alert him at meal times. Id. p. 6. His
grievance was determined to be an emergency, and he was
called to the Health Care Unit on April 8, 2019, to meet with
Brown. Brown informed Petrakis that she does not normally
order aids such as an alarm watch, because he was receiving
hearing aids and had accused Petrakis of “crying to
someone.” Petrakis said that he was still in need of
the alarm watch because once he receives the hearing aids he
will not sleep with them and will need to be alerted in the
morning for breakfast. Petrakis also asked if there was
something she could do to ensure that he was able to eat to
which Brown responded, “‘No, I[']m ordering
your watch and that[‘]s all I can do.'”
Id. Petrakis's emergency grievance was then
denied because Brown told the Grievance Officers that he had
received his hearing aids and that the issue was resolved,
although Petrakis had yet to receive the hearing aids.
Id. p. 7.
April 19, 2019, Petrakis spoke with Warden Thompson regarding
his grievance and the lack of accommodations for his hearing
loss. Thompson told Petrakis that there was nothing he could
do. Petrakis filed two more grievances, which were also
denied. Id. p. 8.
alleges that despite his repeated requests, the
administration has failed to accommodate his disability and
ensure that he is able to eat at meal times. Id. p.
9; Doc. 2, p. 2. He claims that he has lost eleven pounds as
a result of missing so many meals. (Doc. 25, p. 9).
their response (Doc. 27), Defendants argue that Petrakis
cannot obtain injunctive relief because he is currently a
member of the class action in Holmes v. Godinez, No.
11-cv-02961 (N.D. Ill. 2015). In that case, deaf and hearing
impaired inmates brought a class action against the director
of the Illinois Department of Corrections
(“IDOC”) under the ADA, RA, and Section 1983
seeking declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that IDOC
denied inmates hearing accommodations as to intercom systems,
emergency alerts, job opportunities, and medical services.
Id. at p. 4. Defendants state that Petrakis is a
member of the class according to the definition established
by the Northern District of Illinois. Petrakis cannot opt out
of the class action as the members were certified under
Federal Rules 23(b)(2), and thus he is bound by the class.
Id. at p. 5. Because the Motion seeks the same type
of relief as the class action, Defendants argue that Petrakis
cannot pursue a separate preliminary injunction in this case.
also claim that Petrakis has not demonstrated a likelihood of
success on the merits or that he will suffer irreparable
harm. Petrakis has been continuously seen and treated for his
condition since he made officials at Pinckneyville aware of
his hearing impairment. Id. at p. 6. Petrakis has
received a hard of hearing placard (“HOH
placard”) placed above his cell, two of the medical
devices requested-hearing aids and headphones-and an alarm
watch has been ordered. Although Petrakis claims he is
consistently missing breakfast, Defendants argue that this
cannot be true because security staff at Pinckneyville are
instructed to wake inmates with HOH placards, and he has a
cellmate who also attends meal calls and has notified him of
these calls in the past.
preliminary injunction is an “extraordinary and drastic
remedy” for which there must be a “clear
showing” that a 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