United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff
James Roberts' Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc.
65). Plaintiff is a 70-year-old diabetic inmate who is
wheelchair-bound due to a left leg amputation. (Doc. 4, pp.
6-10, 15-105). He claims conditions at Lawrence Correctional
Center (“Lawrence”) have led to uncontrolled
diabetes that now pose a serious threat to his remaining leg.
(Doc. 65, p. 2). Plaintiff seeks the following injunctive
relief: (1) properly fitting anti-embolism stockings (TED
hose) as prescribed by a doctor; (2) a means of elevating his
right leg; (3) placement in Lawrence's medical unit or
assignment of an ADA attendant; (4) regular monitoring by a
physician and compliance with the recommended treatment plan;
(5) access to prescribed food trays and/or a reasonable diet;
and (6) physician-ordered physical therapy and/or access to
exercise opportunities. (See Doc. 65, p. 2).
Defendants filed Responses to Plaintiff's Motion on
October 22 and 29, 2019. (Docs. 80, 81, and 84). The Court
held a hearing on the Motion on November 6, 2019 and heard
testimony from Plaintiff, Joann Reagan (nurse/consultant),
and Dr. Pittman (Lawrence physician). Based on the written
submissions and testimony presented, the Court finds that
preliminary injunctive relief is warranted as set forth
obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must demonstrate
that (1) his underlying case has some likelihood of success
on the merits; (2) he has no adequate remedy at law; and (3)
he will suffer irreparable harm without the relief. See
Hoban v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., 731 Fed.Appx.
530, 532 (7th Cir. 2018); Merritte v. Kessel, 561
Fed.Appx. 546, 548 (7th Cir. 2014). Once this burden is met,
the Court must weigh the “balance of harm to the
parties if the injunction is granted or denied and evaluate
the effect of an injunction on the public interest.”
Id.; Korte v. Sebelius, 735 F.3d 654, 665
(7th Cir. 2013).
action involves: (1) a Rehabilitation Act claim against
Warden Kink (official capacity claim) for failing to meet
Plaintiff's disability-related needs; and (2) an Eighth
Amendment medical deliberate indifference claim against all
defendants (individual capacity claim) for denying Plaintiff
medical care, medication, and permits for his serious medical
conditions. To satisfy this first requirement, Plaintiff must
only demonstrate a “better than negligible”
chance of succeeding on the merits of his claims, and he has
made this showing. Valencia v. City of Springfield,
Ill., 883 F.3d 959, 966 (7th Cir. 2018).
the testimony and evidence show that Plaintiff faces a
serious risk of irreparable harm and has no other adequate
remedy at law. Plaintiff has already lost one leg to diabetes
and his remaining leg is now at risk for amputation. To
manage his diabetes, he requires regular medical care, a
special diet, prescription medication (including insulin),
antiembolism stockings (TED hose), exercise or physical
therapy, and a means to elevate his leg. However, the
evidence currently on record suggests that severe staffing
shortages at Lawrence have resulted in the ongoing delay or
outright denial of medical care, including Plaintiff's
twice-daily access to insulin and other prescription
medications. He does not qualify for housing in the medical
unit, and placement in 5-House provides only some relief
(e.g., access to an ADA attendant or a
“wheelchair pusher”). Plaintiff has no access to
a special diet and is left with no other choice than to
consume a high-starch, high-sugar diet. He has only limited
access to exercise and no physical therapy.
testified that prison officials have thwarted his efforts to
help himself. He brought thirty pairs of TED hose to
Lawrence, but they were confiscated at intake and destroyed.
He has since been provided with few or no stockings that fit,
and he is currently suffering from swelling and leg sores. He
also used a walker to mobilize and exercise, but the walker
was also taken from him. Plaintiff also testified that he is
confined to a wheelchair, unnecessarily and involuntarily. He
purchased or acquired extra pillows to elevate his one
remaining leg in order to prevent swelling, but the pillows
were also confiscated.
indications, Plaintiff's condition is deteriorating.
During his recent placement in disciplinary segregation in
the late summer, Plaintiff's blood sugar levels reached
above 500 mg/dL, which are well above the 80-120 mg/dL he
indicated was the normal range. At the hearing, Plaintiff and
Dr. Pittman testified that his blood sugar levels were still
above 300 mg/dL. Nurse Reagan testified that Plaintiff's
levels have consistently trended upward during his
incarceration at Lawrence and indicate overall poor
management of his diabetes. Dr. Pittman agreed that
Plaintiff's diabetes is not under control at this time
and that his one remaining leg is now at risk of amputation.
Given the testimony and evidence presented, the Court finds
that Plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm if preliminary
injunctive is denied.
preliminary injunction is considered an “extraordinary
remedy” and should not be granted unless the movant
carries the burden of persuasion “by a clear
showing.” Chicago Dist. Council of Carpenters
Pension Fund v. K & I Constr., Inc., 270 F.3d 1060,
1064 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Mazurek v. Armstrong,
520 U.S. 968, 972 (1997) (per curiam)). And the Court acts
with great hesitation in matters of prison administration and
medical judgment of institutional providers. That said, based
on the evidence presented, this case clearly demands the
Court's intervention and the issuance of a preliminary
injunction at this time.
to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 65(a) and (d),
DEFENDANTS ARE HEREBY ORDERED to arrange a
medical evaluation of Plaintiff's diabetes and related
health issues with an outside physician; said appointment to
take place within thirty (30) days of the
date of this Order.
ARE ORDERED to file a written notice advising the
Court of the date and time of Plaintiff's appointment
once arranged; Defendants shall advise the Court in the event
of any change in the appointment date or time, indicating all
steps taken to reschedule the appointment (with the same or
alternative provider) and all steps taken to ensure
compliance with this Order.
ARE ORDERED to timely comply with any treatment plan
recommended by the outside physician.
ARE ORDERED to file a written notice within thirty
(30) days after Plaintiff's appointment with the outside
physician, advising the Court what, if any, diagnosis and
treatment plan was ...