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Ayoubi v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 5, 2019

FIRAS M. AYOUBI, Plaintiff,
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., CHRISTINE BROWN, SCOTT THOMPSON, ALBERTO BUTALID, PERCY MEYERS, STEPHEN RITZ and ALISA DEARMOND, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Nancy J. Rosenstengel Chief U.S. District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison (Doc. 99), which recommends denying the Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiff Firas Ayoubi ("Ayoubi") (Docs. 2 and 23-1). The Report and Recommendation was entered on July 19, 2019 (Doc. 99), and Ayoubi filed a timely objection (Doc. 103). For the following reasons, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation and denies the Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

         Background

         On September 6, 2018, Ayoubi, a former inmate at Pinckneyville Correctional Center, filed a pro se Complaint alleging that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to a serious medical condition (Doc. 1). Ayoubi alleges that he suffers from a "nervous tic" which causes involuntary twitching and jerking, and places him in "constant" pain and "severe discomfort." (Doc. 1). The following claim survived threshold review:

Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against Wexford Health Sources, Inc., Christine Brown, Scott Thompson, Dr. Alberto Butalid, Dr. Percy Meyers, Dr. Stephen Ritz, and Alisa Dearmond for exhibiting deliberate indifference to Ayoubi's serious medical needs (worsening neurological symptoms associated with pain).[1]

         On September 6, 2018, Ayoubi filed a motion for preliminary injunction, requesting a referral to a neurologist (Doc. 2). He also requests specialized housing until treated by the neurologist (Id.). On November 2, 2018, Ayoubi requested to supplement his motion for preliminary injunction, and Judge Sison granted that request (See Docs. 23 and 24). Judge Sison held a hearing on this motion on June 21, 2019, and heard testimony from Ayoubi, Defendant Butalid, Defendant Myers and Defendant Ritz.[2]

         In Judge Sison's Report and Recommendation currently before the Court (Doc. 99), he recommends that the request for a preliminary injunction be denied. Judge Sison reasoned that Ayoubi has not provided the Court with verifiable evidence that his condition presents a serious medical need requiring immediate attention. He noted that, although Ayoubi believes he suffers from Huntington's Disease or Parkinson's Disease, both of which would satisfy the first prong, the record is not clear that Ayoubi actually suffers from either of these conditions. Judge Sison further found that the record does not reveal that Defendants knew of and disregarded an excessive risk to his health. In light of the fact that Ayoubi had not made a showing that examination by an outside neurologist is necessary, Judge Sison did not feel it appropriate to "interfere with the internal administration of state prisons." (Doc. 99, p. 7).

         Discussion

         Where timely objections are filed, this Court must undertake a de novo review of the Report and Recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), (C); FED. R. Civ. P. 72(b); SDIL-LR 73.1(b); Harper v. City of Chicago Heights, 824 F.Supp. 786, 788 (N.D. 111. 1993); see also Govas v. Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). The Court may accept, reject, or modify the magistrate judge's recommended decision. Harper, 824 F.Supp. at 788. In making this determination, the Court must look at all of the evidence contained in the record and give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific objections have been made. Id., quoting 12 Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 3076.8, at p. 55 (1st ed. 1973) (1992 Pocket Part).

         As noted above, Ayoubi has filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 103). This timely objection requires the Court to undertake a de novo review of the Report and Recommendation. Ayoubi argues that the Report and Recommendation fails to adequately state the facts and apply the applicable law to the facts and circumstances of this case.

         A preliminary injunction is "an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion." Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997). The purpose of a preliminary 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). To obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff has the burden of establishing that: (1) he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim; (2) he has no adequate remedy at law; and (3) he is likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction. Planned Parenthood of Indiana, Inc. v. Comm'r of Indiana State Dep't Health, 699 F.3d 962, 972 (7th Cir. 2012), citing Am. Civil Liberties Union of III. v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 589-90 (7th Cir. 2012).

         Once the plaintiff has met his burden, the Court must 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." Roland Mach. Co. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 749 F.2d 380, 386 (7th Cir. 1984); Korte v. Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654, 665 (7th Cir. 2013). "This equitable balancing proceeds on a sliding-scale analysis; the greater the likelihood of success on the merits, the less heavily the balance of harms must tip in the moving party's favor." Korte, 735 F.3d at 665.

         In the context of prisoner litigation, the scope of the Court's authority to enter an injunction is circumscribed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"). Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2012). Under the PLRA, preliminary injunctive 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).

         Ayoubi argues that the Report and Recommendation fails to adequately state the facts and apply the applicable law to the facts and circumstances of this case. The Court has considered all of Ayoubi's ...


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