Cook v. Godert et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunctive relief (Docket No. 43 ) is DENIED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal from the denial of this motion would not be taken in good faith. Signed by District Judge Stephen R. Clark on 1/8/2021. (SMM)
Case: 2:20-cv-00024-SRC Doc. #: 58 Filed: 01/08/21 Page: 1 of 4 PageID #: 464
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LUKENDRA LOCKHART, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on a letter submitted by plaintiff James Cook that has
been construed as a motion for preliminary injunctive relief. (Docket No. 43). For the reasons
discussed below, the motion will be denied.
On December 18, 2020, plaintiff submitted a document to the Court in which he alleged
that he was undergoing “emergency circumstances” due to what he believed was a “blood clot.”
Due to these circumstances, plaintiff stated that he was in pain, having trouble breathing, and
experiencing dizziness and an irregular heartbeat. Plaintiff further alleged that he was not being
allowed to see a doctor. Plaintiff asked the Court to “assist [him] as soon as possible.”
On December 21, 2020, the Court directed defendants to promptly investigate plaintiff’s
complaint to ascertain whether he was receiving appropriate medical attention. (Docket No. 45).
Defendants were given fifteen days in which to submit a written response.
On January 5, 2021, defendants complied with the Court’s order by submitting a response
detailing plaintiff’s medical treatment since September 1, 2020. (Docket No. 52). According to
defendants’ response, plaintiff has been seen by a doctor, nurse practitioner, and a nurse in
response to his medical issues. Plaintiff has self-declared a medical emergency on at least four
Case: 2:20-cv-00024-SRC Doc. #: 58 Filed: 01/08/21 Page: 2 of 4 PageID #: 465
different occasions, each time being examined by medical professionals. When appropriate, he has
been given medications to deal with his symptoms. On December 12, 2020, when plaintiff selfdeclared a medical emergency, complaining of chest pain, a doctor ordered two Troponin tests,
which indicated that plaintiff was not undergoing a heart attack. With regard to plaintiff’s belief
that he has a “blood clot,” the response indicates that medical staff have not noted any symptoms
related to deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. In short, defendants contend that
plaintiff has access to medical care for any medical complaints, and that when he has made such
complaints, he has been evaluated by a member of the nursing staff. Further, when higher-level
evaluation has been required, plaintiff has been seen by a nurse practitioner or doctor.
“A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right.” Winter
v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 557 U.S. 7, 27 (2008). In determining whether to grant a preliminary
injunction, a district court applies “a flexible consideration of (1) the threat of irreparable harm to
the moving party; (2) balancing this harm with any injury an injunction would inflict on other
interested parties; (3) the probability that the moving party would succeed on the merits; and (4)
the effect on the public interest.” St. Louis Effort for AIDS v. Huff, 782 F.3d 1016, 1021 (8th Cir.
2015). See also Dataphase Systems, Inc. v. C L Systems, Inc., 640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir. 1981).
In the prison context, a request for injunctive relief must always be viewed with great
caution because “judicial restraint is especially called for in dealing with the complex and
intractable problems of prison administration.” Goff v. Harper, 60 F.3d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1995).
For an injunction to issue, “a right must be violated,” and the court must determine whether “a
cognizable danger of future violation exists.” Id. at 521. Furthermore, the “danger must be more
than a mere possibility.” Id. Regarding the issue of whether a situation is ripe for injunctive relief,
Case: 2:20-cv-00024-SRC Doc. #: 58 Filed: 01/08/21 Page: 3 of 4 PageID #: 466
the Eighth Circuit has noted that courts “should not get involved unless either a constitutional
violation has already occurred or the threat of such a violation is both real and immediate.” Id. The
burden of proving that a preliminary injunction should be issued rests with the party seeking
injunctive relief. Mgmt. Registry, Inc. v. A.W. Cos., Inc., 920 F.3d 1181, 1183 (8th Cir. 2019).
Here, plaintiff has not met his burden of proving that he is entitled to injunctive relief. First,
he has not demonstrated a threat of irreparable harm. In his motion, plaintiff states that he is
experiencing “emergency circumstances” and not being allowed to see a doctor. As defendants’
response makes clear, however, plaintiff is receiving medical treatment, and when he has selfdeclared medical emergencies, medical staff has responded appropriately. Plaintiff has seen a
doctor, nurse practitioner, and nurse; he has been given medication; he has been given tests; and
he has been observed with regard to his specific complaints. Defendants have also noted that
plaintiff is routinely checked by staff to determine if he has medical or mental health complaints,
and that there have been no such complaints since December 13, 2020. In short, plaintiff has not
established that he is at risk of irreparable harm absent Court intervention.
Second, plaintiff has not demonstrated a probability that he would succeed on the merits.
The allegations in plaintiff’s motion regarding inadequate medical care, as well as “harassment,
abuse, [and] retaliation by staff,” are conclusory, and unsupported by any facts. Moreover, they
are belied by defendants’ response, which thoroughly documents the medical interventions on
plaintiff’s behalf. As previously noted, plaintiff has been seen by medical professionals with regard
to his health service requests and self-declared medical emergencies. He has been observed by
medical staff with regard to his specific complaints. When he complained of chest pains, he was
given two Troponin tests, even though his EKGs were normal, and those tests showed that he was
not undergoing a heart attack. With regard to his belief that he has a blood clot, medical staff has
Case: 2:20-cv-00024-SRC Doc. #: 58 Filed: 01/08/21 Page: 4 of 4 PageID #: 467
checked him for symptoms indicating deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism, and have
found no such symptoms.
Plaintiff has asked the Court to assist him with regard to his “urgent need of care and
assistance.” As discussed above, however, plaintiff has not carried his burden of demonstrating
that injunctive relief is warranted. Therefore, for these reasons, plaintiff’s motion for preliminary
injunctive relief must be denied.
Warning Against Future Filing of Frivolous Motions
Based on review of both plaintiff’s letter and defendants’ response, it appears that
plaintiff’s filing was frivolous, intentionally misleading, and contained misrepresentations of fact.
In particular, plaintiff alleged that he was in “urgent need of care” because of “cardiac issues,” and
that he had not been allowed to see a doctor. But defendants’ response thoroughly documents the
medical interventions that plaintiff received, including testing and observation for his alleged
“cardiac issues.” Further frivolous filings by plaintiff may result in plaintiff being ordered to show
cause as to why he should not be sanctioned pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(c).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief
(Docket No. 43) is DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that an appeal from the denial of this motion would not be
taken in good faith.
Dated this 8th day of January, 2021.
STEPHEN R. CLARK
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?