United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
16, 2019, in addition to his Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff
Martell Flippins, an inmate of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”), filed a Motion for
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Doc.
2). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, an Order was entered
on May 17, 2019, setting forth the following claims: that
Defendants have exhibited deliberate indifference to a
serious medical need regarding the treatment of
Flippins's inguinal hernia and associated symptoms in
violation of the Eighth Amendment (Count 1); that Wexford and
employees have denied him medication and falsified medical
records (Count 2); and that he has been discriminated against
in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Count 3). (Doc. 8,
p. 3). The Court dismissed without prejudice Counts 2 and 3,
denied Flippins's request for a temporary restraining
order, and directed Defendants to respond to his request for
a preliminary injunction (Doc. 8, p. 7; Doc. 16). Defendants
Wexford, Baldwin, Cunningham, Kink, and Benton filed
responses on June 10, 2019 (Doc. 34) and June 14, 2019 (Doc.
Court began a hearing on the motion on June 17, 2019, but had
to end the hearing because Dr. Shah did not have the medical
records available to consult, and because the
video-conference system malfunctioned. After numerous
attempts at rescheduling, the Court continued the hearing on
July 26, 2019.
Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction allege that
Flippins was diagnosed with an inguinal hernia in his groin
area in early 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 8). In June 2017, Dr. Ahmed
recommended that Flippins be referred for surgery, but that
recommendation was subsequently denied by both Dr. Ahmed
himself and Dr. Ritz. (Doc. 1, p. 26; Doc. 2, p. 3). Despite
filing multiple grievances and writing letters requesting
surgery, Flippins continues to be treated only by medication,
which he claims is ineffective and has caused additional
health problems. (Doc. 2, p. 3; Doc. 1, pp. 9, 14). Flippins
alleges that Dr. Ritz, Dr. Ahmed, Dr. Shah, and Nurse
Practitioner Stover have exhibited deliberate indifference to
his worsening hernia and associated symptoms by denying
treatment for non-medical reasons, delaying treatment, and
persisting in a course of treatment known to be ineffective.
(Doc. 2, p. 3).
alleges that because of the numerous grievances, letters, and
complaints, IDOC Director Baldwin (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9; Doc. 2,
p. 4), Warden Kink (Doc. 1, pp. 16, 18; Doc. 2, p. 4),
Administrative Review Board Member Benton (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9;
Doc. 2, p. 4), and Health Care Unit Administrator Lorie
Cunningham (Doc. 1, pp. 16, 18; Doc. 2, p. 3), know that
Flippins is receiving constitutionally inadequate medical
care, but have failed to intervene on his behalf. (Doc. 1, p.
8). This unconstitutional medical care results from a policy,
custom, or widespread practice adopted by Wexford. (Doc. 1,
p. 8, 16-19; Doc. 2, p. 3). Specifically, Wexford has
implemented a cost-cutting policy and/or practice of denying
all requests for surgical repair of hernias despite medical
need and will not pay for surgery until the hernia gets to
the “worst stage.” (Doc. 2, p. 3).
receiving the diagnosis, Flippins claims that the hernia has
grown in size, and the symptoms have worsened, making it
difficult for him to sleep, eat, stand, and do normal daily
activities. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9, Doc. 2, p. 4).
their responses, (Docs. 34 and 39), Defendants argue that the
medical recordsshow that Flippins is receiving appropriate
and regular treatment by medical staff at Lawrence and
therefore he has not demonstrated that Defendants have been
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition.
(Doc. 34, p. 3; Doc. 39, p. 2). Neither has Flippins
established that he will suffer irreparable harm without
surgery. Again, according to the medical records, his
inguinal hernia has been successfully managed for over two
years. (Doc. 34., p. 4; Doc. 39, p. 5).
also argues that Flippins has not offered any evidence to
show that Defendants have undertaken a course of treatment
that is a significant departure from accepted professional
standards or practices. (Doc. 34, p. 3). He only claims that
Defendants have not allowed him to undergo surgery to fix the
hernia, which is not evidence of deliberate
indifference. Allowing Flippins to decide his own
medical treatment, an unnecessary and elective surgery, and
overruling the judgment of medical professionals would create
a precedent that Defendants' medical judgment cannot be
relied on when treating inmates. Id. at p. 5.
Ordering surgery, which is intrusive by nature, would have an
adverse impact on the operation of the criminal justice
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
resolution of the lawsuit.” Faheem-El v.
Klincar, 841 F.2d 712, 717 (7th Cir. 1988). A plaintiff
has the burden of demonstrating:
• a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits;
• no adequate remedy at law; and
• irreparable harm absent the ...