Joiner v. Allen et al (INMATE2)

Filing 50

ORDER; that the motion for preliminary injunction and motion for permanent injunction filed by Plaintiff 27 & 28 be and are hereby DENIED. Signed by Honorable Terry F. Moorer on 4/2/2010. (jg, )

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA NORTHERN DIVISION ____________________________ H E N R Y JOINER, #140 755 P l a in tif f , v. * * * 2:09-CV-243-TFM (WO) ASSISTANT WARDEN MASON, et al., * D e f e n d a n ts . _____________________________ * ORDER T h is matter comes before the court on Plaintiff's Motions for a Preliminary and P e rm a n e n t Injunction. Plaintiff seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction with respect to his allegation that his constitutional rights are being violated by Defendants' failure to p ro v id e adequate medical care. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks to prohibit Defendants from c o n tin u in g to provide inadequate health care due to delays in medical care, inadequate ons ite , off-site, and specialty care, issuance of harmful medication, inadequate testing and tre a tm e n t, and untimely medical care. As directed, Defendants filed a response to Plaintiff's re q u e s t for issuance of a preliminary injunction. (Doc. No. 38.) Upon consideration of P la in t if f ' s motions for preliminary and permanent injunction and Defendants' response th e re to , the court concludes that the motions are due to be denied. I . STANDARD OF REVIEW " T h e decision to grant or deny a preliminary injunction "is within the sound discretion of the district court...." Palmer v. Braun, 287 F.3d 1325, 1329 (11 th Cir. 2002) (citations o m itte d ). This court may grant a preliminary injunction only if Plaintiff demonstrates each o f the following prerequisites: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a s u b s ta n tia l threat irreparable injury will occur absent issuance of the injunction; (3) the th re a te n e d injury outweighs the potential damage the requested injunction may cause the n o n -m o v in g parties; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. P a lm e r, 287 F.3d at 1329; McDonald's Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 (11th Cir. 1 9 9 8 ); Cate v. Oldham, 707 F.2d 1176 (11 th Cir. 1983); Shatel Corp. v. Mao Ta Lumber and Y a c h t Corp., 697 F.2d 1352 (11 th Cir. 1983); see also Parker v. State Board of Pardons and P a r o le s, 275 F.3d 1032, 1034-35 (11th Cir. 2001). "In this Circuit, `[a] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy not to be granted unless the movant clearly established the "burden of persuasion"' as to the four re q u is ite s." McDonald's, 147 F.3d at 1306; All Care Nursing Service, Inc. v. Bethesda M e m o r ia l Hospital, Inc., 887 F.2d 1535, 1537 (11 th Cir. 1989) (a preliminary injunction is iss u e d only when "drastic relief" is necessary); Texas v. Seatrain Int'l, S.A., 518 F.2d 175, 1 7 9 (5 th Cir. 1975) (grant of preliminary injunction "is the exception rather than the rule," a n d movant must clearly carry the burden of persuasion). The moving party's failure to d e m o n s tra te a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits" may defeat the party's claim, re g a rd le s s of the party's ability to establish any of the other elements. Church v. City of H u n tsv ille , 30 F.3d 1332, 1342 (11 th Cir. 1994); see also Siegel v. Lepore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1 1 7 6 (11 th Cir. 2000) (noting that "the absence of a substantial likelihood of irreparable injury would, standing alone, make preliminary injunctive relief improper"). "`The chief f u n c tio n of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the co n tro v ersy can be fully and fairly adjudicated.' Northeastern Fl. Chapter of Ass'n of Gen. C o n tra c to rs of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fl., 896 F.2d 1283, 1284 (11 th Cir.1990)." S u n tr u s t Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11 th Cir. 2001). The " e x tra o rd in a ry remedy" provided by an injunction is only available when a "legal right has b e e n infringed by an injury for which there is no adequate legal remedy and which will result in irreparable injury if the injunction does not issue." Alabama v. United States Army Corps o f Eng'rs, 424 F.3d 1117, 1127 (11 th Cir. 2005). T h e standard for a permanent injunction is essentially the same as for a preliminary in ju n c tio n except that Plaintiff must show actual success on the merits instead of a likelihood o f success." Klay v. United Healthgroup, Inc., 376 F.3d 1092, 1097 (11 th Cir. 2004) (quoting S ieg e l, 234 F.3d at 1213). In addition to succeeding on the merits, a plaintiff must " d e m o n s tra te the presence of two elements: continuing irreparable injury if the injunction d o e s not issue, and the lack of an adequate remedy at law." Siegel, 234 F.3d at 1213 (quoting N e w m a n v. State of Ala., 683 F.2d 1312, 1319 (11 th Cir. 1982)). I I . DISCUSSION T u rn in g to the first prerequisite for issuance of preliminary injunctive relief, the court c o n s id e r s whether Plaintiff has proven a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. H a v in g thoroughly reviewed the request for a preliminary injunction and in light of a p p lic a b le federal law, the court concludes that Plaintiff fails to carry his burden. Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to show a substantial likelihood of success o n his Eighth Amendment claim. A violation of the Eighth Amendment requires a showing o f "deliberate indifference" to an inmate's health or safety. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 8 2 5 , 834 (1994). Specifically, an inmate must show that: (1) the prison officials had s u b je c tiv e knowledge of a risk of serious harm; (2) the prison officials disregarded that risk; a n d (3) the conduct rises above mere negligence. McElligott v. Foley, 182 F.3d 1248 (11 th C ir . 1999). To establish an objectively serious deprivation of medical care, a prisoner must e sta b lis h : (1) an objectively serious medical need, and (2) that the response made to the need w a s poor enough to constitute an unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, and not merely a c c id e n ta l inadequacy, negligence in diagnosis or treatment, or medical malpractice. Taylor v . Adams, 221 F.3d 1254, 1258 (11 th Cir. 2000). A "serious medical need" is one that has b e e n diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a la y person would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention, and, in either case, m u s t be one that if left unattended poses a substantial risk of serious harm. Kelley v. Hicks, 4 0 0 F .3d 1282, 1284 n. 3 (11 th Cir. 2005). D e la y of treatment for a serious condition can rise to the level of deliberate in d if f e r e n c e where it is apparent that delay would detrimentally exacerbate the medical p ro b lem , the delay does seriously exacerbate the medical problem, and the delay is medically u n ju s tif ie d . Taylor, 221 F.3d at 1259-60 (11th Cir.2000) (citing Hill v. Dekalb Reg'l Youth C tr ., 40 F.3d 1176, 1187 (11th Cir.1994), overruled on other grounds by, Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U .S . 730, 739 (2002)); Lancaster v. Monroe County, Ala., 116 F.3d 1419, 1425 (11th Cir.1997). Whether the delay was tolerable depends on the nature of the medical need and th e reason for the delay. Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d 1235, 1247 (11th Cir.2003). D e f en d a n ts do not dispute that Plaintiff has a serious medical condition. They argue, h o w e v e r, that Plaintiff has received timely, appropriate, and adequate medical treatment for h is medical issues. Defendant Siddiq states that in his professional opinion and based on his re v iew of Plaintiff's medical records, the care and treatment afforded Mr. Joiner has at all tim e s met and/or exceeded the standard of care for practicing physicians in Alabama. (Doc. N o . 38, Siddiq Affidavit.) Plaintiff's medical records reflect that subsequent to his refusal to be taken to the h o s p ita l for surgery on April 21, 2009, a second appointment was made for him. Dr. Timothy H o lt performed the following surgical procedures on Plaintiff on June 3, 2009: 1) an anterior lu m b ar intrabody fusion, L5-S1; 2) implantation of spacer, L5-S1; 3) an anterior screw f ix a tio n through plate L5-S1; and 4) a posterior removal of ostephytes and f o rm a n in o to m ie s/p a rtia l vertebrectomy, S-1 and L-5. Following his surgery, Plaintiff re c eiv e d rehabilitation at the Kilby Correctional Facility and was then returned to the B u llo c k Correctional Facility. (Doc. No. 38, Siddiq Affidavit and Plaintiff's Medical R e c o rd s .) Dr. Holt saw Plaintiff again on October 8, 2009 for his continued complaints of pain. D r. Holt did not recommend any further surgery and advised Plaintiff to follow up with him if necessary. Dr. Holt examined Plaintiff again on March 4, 2010 and noted he had d ev elop ed Pseudoarthosis at the L5 -S1 post-surgery. The physician recommended surgery for the L5 - S1 subluxation which has been ordered and approved. (Doc. No. 38, Siddiq A ffid a v it and Plaintiff's Medical Records.) D e f en d a n ts assert that Plaintiff has received appropriate medication for his medical i s s u e s , his medications have been closely monitored by medical staff at the Bullock C o rre c tio n a l Facility, and medical treatment for Plaintiff's medical issues have not been d e la ye d or denied during his incarceration at Bullock. Plaintiff's medical records also reflect th a t he has been issued various medical profiles in response to his medical condition in c l u d in g no prolonged standing, a bottom bunk, lay-ins, extra blankets, and foot soaks. (D o c . No. 38, Siddiq Affidavit and Plaintiff's Medical Records.) A fter reviewing the medical records submitted by Defendants in response to Plaintiff's re q u e st for preliminary injunctive relief, the court cannot say that Plaintiff has shown a s u b s ta n tia l likelihood of success on the merits. Plaintiff's medical records reflect that medical p e rs o n n e l continuously monitor and treat him for his complaints associated with his back p a in in addition to his myriad other medical complaints. Plaintiff's records likewise show th a t medical staff routinely examine him, evaluate his conditions, and respond in accordance w ith their evaluations to his various complaints and requests for treatment. The medical rec o rds also establish that attending physicians prescribe relevant medications in an effort to treat Plaintiff's physical ailments, and that medical personnel routinely order consultation re q u e sts with outside providers, medical profiles, lab work, x-rays, and additional therapeutic tre a tm e n ts whenever their observations of Plaintiff indicate the need for such action. The re c o rd reflects that Defendants have not been indifferent to Plaintiff's condition. To the extent there exists a difference in medical opinion as to the provision of medical care, a d if f ere n c e in medical opinion will seldom rise to the level of a constitutional violation and b a s e d on the records filed in this matter does not do so in this case. Hamm v. DeKalb, 774 F .2 d 1567, 1575 (11 th Cir. 1985) (where a prisoner receives adequate medical care but desires to receive a different mode of treatment, the care provided does not amount to deliberate in d if f e r e n c e ) ; Adams v. Poag, 61 F.3d 1537, 1545 (11 th Cir. 1995) (whether a defendant s h o u ld have used additional or different diagnostic techniques or forms of treatment "is a c la ss ic example of a matter for medical judgment and therefore not an appropriate basis for liab ility under the Eighth Amendment."). H av in g found Plaintiff has failed to satisfy the first requirement for either a p re lim in a ry injunction or a permanent injunction, the court need not consider the other f a c to rs . See Church, 30 F.3d at 1342; Siegel, 234 F.3d at 1176. III. CONCLUSION F o r the foregoing reasons, it is ORDERED that the motion for preliminary injunction a n d motion for permanent injunction filed by Plaintiff (Doc. Nos. 27 & 28) be and are hereby D E N IE D . D o n e , this 2 n d day of April 2010. /s /T e r r y F. Moorer TERRY F. MOORER U N IT E D STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

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