WOLFE v. COMMISSIONER, et al
Entry Discussing Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Preliminary Restraining Order - For the foregoing reasons, Wolfe's motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, Dkt. No. 29 , is denied (SEE ORDER FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION). Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 11/13/2017. (DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
KENNETH GEORGE WOLFE,
KIM HOBSON, et al,
Entry Discussing Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Preliminary Restraining Order
Plaintiff Kenneth Wolfe brought this action pursuant to alleging that since he has been
confined at that facility, he has received constitutionally inadequate medical care in violation of
his Eighth Amendment rights. He seeks a preliminary injunction in the form of an order directing
that he be provided particular medical exams and treatment. For the foregoing reasons, the
motion for preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, Dkt. No. 29, is denied.
“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right. In each
case, courts must balance the competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on each
party of the granting or withholding of the requested relief.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). “To obtain a preliminary injunction, a party must establish
 that it is likely to succeed on the merits,  that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the
absence of preliminary relief,  that the balance of equities tips in its favor, and  that issuing
an injunction is in the public interest.” Grace Schools v. Burwell, 801 F.3d 788, 795 (7th Cir.
2015); see Winter, 555 U.S. at 20. “The court weighs the balance of potential harms on a
‘sliding scale’ against the movant’s likelihood of success: the more likely he is to win, the less
the balance of harms must weigh in his favor; the less likely he is to win, the more it must weigh
in his favor.” Turnell v. CentiMark Corp., 796 F.3d 656, 662 (7th Cir. 2015). “The sliding scale
approach is not mathematical in nature, rather it is more properly characterized as subjective and
intuitive, one which permits district courts to weigh the competing considerations and mold
appropriate relief.” Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N Shake Enterprises, Inc., 695 F.3d 676, 678 (7th Cir.
2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). “Stated another way, the district court
‘sit[s] as would a chancellor in equity’ and weighs all the factors, ‘seeking at all times to
minimize the costs of being mistaken.’” Id. (quoting Abbott Labs. v. Mead Johnson & Co., 971
F.2d 6, 12 (7th Cir. 1992)).
Wolfe alleges that he has “repeated reported his debilitating physical injuries to
Defendants in administrative grievances and appeals, putting Defendants on notice of the serious
harm caused. Nevertheless, as a result of Defendant’s deliberate indifference, Plaintiff continues
to face a substantial further risk of serious physical harm.” Dkt. 30, pg. 3. He seeks a physical
examination, MRI, wheelchair, and Methadone for cervical neuralgia, sciatica, and minor
osteoarthritis in his knee, and other chronic issues. Defendants Kimberly Hobson and Dr. Neil
Martin have responded by providing Wolfe’s medical records and arguing that he has been
monitored and treated appropriately for his ongoing conditions. Defendants Drs. Martin and
Young also argue his claims for injunctive relief against them are moot because they are no
longer responsible for his medical care. Nurse Hobson further argues that the claims against her
are based on isolated incidents that took place two years ago and therefore cannot form the basis
of equitable relief against her.
Claims that are Moot
Because they no longer provide medical care to Wolfe, he is not entitled to equitable
relief against Drs. Martin and Young. See Martin v. Davies, 917 F.2d 336, 339 (7th Cir. 1990)
(holding that because enjoining defendants’ action against the prisoner would have no effect, the
prisoner’s equitable claims against defendants were moot).
Claims against Nurse Hobson
Nurse Hobson points out that Wolfe’s claims against her are based on contention that she
ignored his allergy to a particular medication in 2015. He does not claim that she is currently
providing that medication or that he is having any current allergic reactions. He is therefore not
entitled to injunctive against her. See Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 564
(1992)(holding that past exposure to illegal conduct is not sufficient for injunctive relief if
“unaccompanied by continuing, present adverse effects.”)(quotations omitted).
Remaining Claims for Injunctive Relief
Defendants Martin and Hobson also argue that Wolfe has not demonstrated that he has a
likelihood of success on the merits of any of his claims. Wolfe’s claims are brought under the
Eighth Amendment. To prevail on an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical claim,
Wolfe must demonstrate two elements: (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical
condition; and (2) the defendants knew about his condition and the substantial risk of harm it
posed, but disregarded that risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 8374 (1994); Pittman ex rel.
Hamilton v. County of Madison, Ill., 746 F.3d 766, 775 (7th Cir. 2014); Arnett v. Webster, 658
F.3d 742, 750-51 (7th Cir. 2011). Wolfe alleges generally that he “continues to face a substantial
further risk of serious physical harm.” Martin and Hobson argue that he is being examined and
treated for his conditions. They have submitted evidence that he has a wheelchair to go to the law
library and is also able to walk with a cane. He is being provided medications for his pain and for
his gastrointestinal problems.
Wolfe’s generalized statements that he is not receiving proper medical care are not
enough to meet his burden of establishing that he has a likelihood of success on the merits of his
claims. The same is true of his general statement that the potential harm to him outweighs any
harm to the defendants or that the public interest will be served by granting the request for
injunctive relief. Wolfe therefore has not demonstrated his entitlement to injunctive relief.
For the foregoing reasons, Wolfe’s motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary
restraining order, Dkt. No. 29, is denied.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
KENNETH GEORGE WOLFE
WABASH VALLEY - CF
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY - Inmate Mail/Parcels
Electronic Service Participant – Court Only
Electronically registered counsel
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