Boone v. Heyns et al
ORDER denying 98 Motion to Enforce Stay. Signed by District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow. (Attachments: # 1 Document Continuation) (MLan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
RICHARD BOONE, II,
DANIEL HEYNS, et al.,
Case No. 12-14098
HONORABLE ARTHUR J. TARNOW
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
HONORABLE MONA K. MAJZOUB
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ORDER LIFTING STAY; DENYING DEFENDANTS’
MOTION TO ENFORCE STAY 
This case involves the question of what the appropriate remedy is for a claim
that the prison is withholding certain medically prescribed interventions. The Plaintiff
has indicated that the deprivation of treatment has caused him so much pain that he
has daily thoughts of suicide.
On July 25, 2013, the Court stayed this case pending appointment of counsel.
On January 22, 2014, Plaintiff was assigned counsel. In the interim, on October 15,
2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Lift Stay, for an Emergency Restraining Order or
Injunction and a Non-Retaliation Order . Additionally, on December 12, 2013,
the Court received a Letter  from Plaintiff indicating that his ongoing pain was
making him have suicidal ideation. On December 19, 2013, the Court held a
conference on the record, granting in part Plaintiff’s Motion  and implicitly lifting
the stay. At no point during the December 19, 2013 conference did defense counsel
raise an argument that the stay should not be lifted. In their Motion to Enforce the
Stay , Defendants argue that they were expecting a conference, not a hearing.
Lack of preparation, however, is not a compelling argument and Plaintiff had no
trouble representing himself pro se at the conference. Additionally, at the time of the
conference, Plaintiff’s Motion to Lift Stay, for an Emergency Restraining Order or
Injunction and a Non-Retaliation Order  was the only filing pending on the docket
and Plaintiff’s Letter  was the most recent filing. The Court originally imposed
the stay sua sponte, and, ultimately, lifting the stay is within the discretion of the
Court. Michigan Coalition of Radioactive Material Users, Inc. v. Griepentroq, 945
F.2d 150, 153 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding that when courts are making decisions about
stays they should balance certain interrelated considerations including the public
interest and irreparable harm to parties). Both the public interest and irreparable harm
at risk here were overwhelming reasons to lift the stay.
First, the public has an interest in preventing the suicide of incarcerated citizens.
Our society does not tolerate the cruelty of ignoring cries for help from those whose
freedom is so restricted that they cannot help themselves. So ignoring cries for help
could be construed as a constructive death penalty, which Michigan does not allow.
The role of the Michigan Attorney General is not limited to opposing prisoner
complaints in litigation. Another role of the Michigan Attorney General is to be a
counselor and enable its client, the Michigan Department of Corrections and related
entities, to serve the public interest. One of the Michigan Department of Corrections’
goals is to “provide humane and protective custodial care,” and so implicitly, the
Michigan Attorney General’s counsel should facilitate that goal. See Michigan
http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,1607,7-119-1441_44369---,00.html; and appended to
this Order. Additionally, one of the main objectives of the Michigan Department of
Corrections is promoting rehabilitation, Id., which is not possible in instances where
a prisoner kills himself. By highlighting these background concerns, the Court is not
minimizing the challenges in volume and resources the Michigan Attorney General
and Michigan Department of Corrections face, but merely elucidating some factors
relevant to the stay and Order  in this case.
Second, the risk of irreparable harm here dictates both lift of the stay and the
ongoing enforcement of the Court’s previous Order  that Defendants provide
Plaintiff with an air mattress and a knee brace. Plaintiff has severe arthritis and is
He is, therefore, limited to non-narcotic treatments to deal with his
pain—namely a knee brace, air mattress, Celebrex, and an extra pillow. As he stated
at the conference, he is not seeking a monetary award in this case. Tr. Dec. 19, 2013
at 11:34:58. The Court finds that he has expressed a credible risk of suicide due to
ongoing pain caused by the involuntary withdrawal of medical treatment.
In this case, what is at risk for Plaintiff is his life. In contrast, at worst,
Defendants risk unnecessarily providing Plaintiff with the “status symbol” of
temporarily avoiding using a “crappy” Michigan Department of Corrections mattress,
in the words of defense counsel. Tr. Dec. 19, 2013 at 11:20:36; 11:37:18.
Accordingly, the Court being fully advised in the premises,
IT IS ORDERED that the stay in this case is LIFTED;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Court’s Order  continues to be
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion to Enforce the Stay
 is DENIED.
Dated: January 24, 2014
s/Arthur J. Tarnow
Arthur J. Tarnow
Senior United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?