Phelps v. Godinez et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 22 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Kevin Phelps, adopting 34 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS. Signed by Judge Staci M. Yandle on 6/4/2015. (rlw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
KEVIN PHELPS, K78191,
Case No. 15-cv-0073-SMY-PMF
SALVADOR GODINEZ, STEVE
DUNCAN, ASSISTANT WARDEN
MOORE, ASSISTANT WARDEN
TREDWAY and JOHN DOES,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary
Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. 22), on which a hearing was held by
Magistrate Judge Philip Frazier on May 11, 2015. Judge Frazier subsequently issued a
Report and Recommendation (“Report,” Doc. 24) recommending that a preliminary
injunction be granted as to Plaintiff’s daily shower access and denied in all other respects.
Defendants Stolworthy, Duncan and Moore filed an Objection to the Report (Doc. 39),
pointing to the dismissal of Count 5 regarding shower access in this Court’s Merit Review
at Doc. 7.
The Supreme Court has described modern prison administration as an
"inordinately difficult undertaking," Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 407 (1989), and
has repeatedly cautioned that prison officials have "broad administrative and discretionary
authority over the institutions they manage," Westefer v. Neal, 682 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir.
2012) (quoting Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467 (1983)). Nevertheless, federal courts
are under a duty to enforce the federal rights of prisoners. Brown v. Plata, 131 S.Ct. 1910,
A court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations of the magistrate judge in a report and recommendation. Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b)(3). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are
made. The Court has discretion to conduct a new hearing and may consider the record
before the magistrate judge anew or receive any further evidence deemed necessary. Id.
“If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those
unobjected portions for clear error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th
Here, Defendants object only to the portion of the Report that recommends granting
a preliminary injunction for enforcement of Plaintiff’s medical permit allowing daily
shower access. In particular, Defendants object on the basis that (1) Count 5 regarding
shower access was dismissed during threshold review of Plaintiff’s Complaint and (2) the
“least intrusive means” requirement of 18 U.S.C § 3626(a)(2) would be best met by
allowing the existing medical permit to continue. This de novo review is therefore limited
to these two issues.
Upon threshold review, this Court divided Plaintiff’s Complaint into five counts,
the fifth of which contained Plaintiff’s specific allegations regarding the denial of shower
access. This Court dismissed Count 5 for failure to state a claim due to no specific
defendants being named in connection with the shower denials, as well as the claim being
factually and legally distinct from the claims in Counts 1-4. (Doc. 7, p. 10.)
Plaintiff filed his Motion for Preliminary Injunction to enforce his existing medical
permit which allows daily showers. Plaintiff is disabled, bound to a wheelchair and cannot
control his bowel and bladder functions. Without a daily shower, he is forced to sit in his
feces and urine. When he is soiled, he does not go to meals and is thus deprived of
sustenance. This is the cascading effect of a disabled person being deprived of a medical
program (a daily shower permit) designed for ADA/RA compliance and not subject to the
discretion of the correctional officers. As such, the injunctive relief falls squarely within
Count 4 of Plaintiff’s Complaint and will not be denied on this basis.
As to the second basis for Defendants’ objection, the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PRLA”) requires that preliminary injunctive relief “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). Defendants argue that the least
intrusive means would be to allow the medical permit to continue and not apply an
Testimony at the May 11, 2015 hearing before Judge Frazier revealed not only that
Plaintiff is denied daily shower access as mandated by his medical permit, but also that
correctional officers currently face no consequences for violating Plaintiff’s right to
reasonable accommodation under Federal law. Therefore, a preliminary injunction does
not extend beyond what is apparently necessary to correct the harm. While the Court
appreciates Defendants’ efforts to ensure compliance by way of clarifying Plaintiff’s
permit to Lawrence staff, a preliminary injunction extends no further than mandating what
is already required in the permit, and is therefore no more intrusive than the permit itself.
For these reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Report at Doc. 34 in its entirety and
GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction at Doc. 22. Accordingly, the Court
enters an injunction against Defendants Stolworthy, Duncan and Moore, in their official
capacities, as follows:
ENSURE PLAINTIFF KEVIN PHELPS, #K78191, BE PROVIDED
SHOWER ACCESS DAILY PURSUANT TO PLAINTIFF’S MEDICAL
PERMIT EXCEPT IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY, WHERE
This injunction will expire in 90 days according to 18 U.S.C § 3626 unless the
Court determines an extension is necessary.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATE: June 4, 2015
s/ Staci M. Yandle
STACI M. YANDLE
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