Langford v. Prima et al
ORDER Denying 10 Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (LVer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No: 17-11862
Honorable Victoria A. Roberts
MUZIRMAN PRIMA, ET AL.,
ORDER DENYING MOTION TO TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [DOC. #10]
On June 9, 2017, Plaintiff Robert Langford filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Langford is a Michigan state prisoner who alleges Defendants denied him
adequate medical treatment for an ingrown toenail for over 10 months. On August 17, 2017,
Langford filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction to
“ensure that he receives proper medical care.”
Langford alleges that he first requested medical care for his ingrown toenail on
September 16, 2016. Defendant Muzirman Prima, a physician’s assistant, advised him that he
should have his toenail removed on October 14, 2016. According to the Complaint, Prima told
Langford that she had no experience in removing toenails, so he requested that an experienced
physician perform the removal instead. The Complaint lists several medical appointments
pertaining to the toenail removal that Langford claims were either cancelled or delayed.
Langford alleges that he filed a Step I grievance regarding his medical care on September
30, 2016, followed by a Step II grievance appeal on October 26, 2016. The Step II grievance
appeal indicated that although Prima offered to remove his toenail, he wanted a physician to do it
because “she said she did not perform toenail removals...and had no experience in doing so.”
Langford claims that he filed a Step III grievance appeal regarding the same issue on October 29,
2016. He says he got no response to it. In addition, Langford alleges that he was written up for
misconduct in retaliation for not letting Prima perform any procedures on his ingrown toenail on
January 25, 2017.
Standard of Review
Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy that should be granted only if the movant
carries the burden of proving that the circumstances clearly demand it. Overstreet v. LexingtonFayette Urban County Gov't, 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002). The proof required to obtain a
preliminary injunction is much more stringent than the proof required to survive a summary
judgment motion. Leary v. Daeschner, 228 F.3d 729, 739 (6th Cir. 2000).
In deciding a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, a court
must consider: (1) whether the movant shows a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2)
whether the movant would suffer irreparable injury without the injunction; (3) whether issuance
of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest
would be served by issuance of the injunction. Overstreet, 305 F.3d at 573. These factors are not
considered prerequisites, but instead should be balanced against each other. United Food &
Commercial Workers Union, Local 1099 v. Southwest Ohio Reg'l Transit Auth., 163 F.3d 341,
347 (6th Cir. 1998). No one factor is controlling, but “a finding that there is simply no
likelihood of success on the merits is usually fatal.” Gonzales v. Nat'l Bd. of Med. Examiners,
225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000).
A. Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Langford says he demonstrates a strong likelihood of success on the merits because he
was denied care for a serious medical need contrary to a physician’s instruction in violation of
the Eighth Amendment.
Under the Eighth Amendment, prison officials may not act with deliberate indifference to
the medical needs of prisoners. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50
L.Ed.2d 251 (1976).
The Complaint does not indicate that the Defendants intentionally interfered with medical
treatment once prescribed, but instead alleges that Langford did not want Prima to treat him
because of her lack of experience. Moreover, although the Complaint alleges several
appointment cancellations and miscommunication between Langford and Defendants, it is
doubtful that Defendants’ actions constitute deliberate indifference. A showing of deliberate
indifference generally requires allegations of acts or omissions that surpass both negligence and
medical malpractice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. The facts alleged do not rise to the level of the
deliberate indifference necessary to sustain a claim under the Eighth Amendment.
Langford fails to make a strong showing that his claim would likely succeed on the
B. Irreparable Injury
Langford alleges that he is threatened with an irreparable injury because, without proper
treatment, he “may have continued problems with his toenails resulting in permanent harm to his
feet.” He also claims that the continuous deprivation of constitutional rights constitutes
irreparable harm as a matter of law.
Courts have held that if a claim is based on a violation of a plaintiff’s constitutional
rights, the plaintiff can demonstrate that a denial of an injunction will cause irreparable harm.
Overstreet, 305 F.3d at 578. However, Langford is not entitled to this presumption of irreparable
injury if it is unlikely that his Eighth Amendment claim will succeed on the merits. Id. Moreover,
Langford’s allegations regarding the severity of his condition may not be concrete, imminent,
and substantiated enough to meet the burden required for injunctive relief.
C. Substantial Harm to Others
As to whether granting injunctive relief will substantially harm the Defendants, Langford
alleges that his present and potential suffering outweigh any harm others may suffer if he is taken
to a suitable doctor.
Where injunctive relief against prison officials is sought, this Court has frequently noted
the likely harm that would be caused by judicial interference with prison administration, for
which courts are ill-suited. See Garrison v. Davis, No. 06-13258, 2008 WL 786667, at *2 (E.D.
Mich. Mar. 21, 2008); Siler v. Green, No. 08–15077, 2009 WL 1393411, at *3 (E.D. Mich. May
Langford fails to satisfy this element for injunctive relief.
D. Public Interest
Langford alleges that injunctive relief will serve the public interest because “it is always
in the public interest for prison officials to obey the law, especially the Constitution.”
The public interest may well be served by ensuring that prisoners receive adequate
medical care. However, Langford’s claim that an injunction in his favor will benefit the public
interest rests on the presumption that his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment have
been violated. Langford has not make this showing.
Langford’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction is
/s/ Victoria A. Roberts
Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
Dated: August 30, 2017
The undersigned certifies that a copy of this
document was served on the attorneys of record
and Robert Langford by electronic means or U.S.
Mail on August 30, 2017.
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