Stechauner, Matthew v. Wall, Edward et al
ORDER denying plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner's 41 Motion for Preliminary Injunction. Signed by District Judge James D. Peterson on 4/13/2018. (jef),(ps)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
MATTHEW C. STECHAUNER,
OPINION & ORDER
PATRICK MURPHY, PHILIP WHEATLEY,
TROY SHEIDE, GARY NEAU, and
Pro se plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner, a Wisconsin prisoner incarcerated at the
Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OCI), is proceeding on deliberate indifference claims against
defendants Patrick Murphy, Philip Wheatley, Troy Sheide, and Dorrie Hansen for denial of
medical treatment and against defendant Gary Neau for ignoring his suicide threat. Dkt. 31,
at 11. Stechauner filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, alleging that he was being denied
medical treatment for his chronic cough, chest pain, and throat pain, but I denied the motion
because Stechauner was actually receiving medical treatment. Dkt. 20.
Stechauner now renews his motion for a preliminary injunction, alleging again that
defendants are denying him medical treatment. Dkt. 41. He seeks an order compelling medical
treatment that addresses his chronic cough, chest pain, and throat pain. Stechauner’s motion
is now fully briefed, and the parties’ submissions show that he is receiving medical treatment,
so I will deny the motion.
I have amended the caption to reflect the full names of defendants Philip Wheatley, Troy
Sheide, Gary Neau, and Dorrie Hansen. Dkt. 33 and Dkt. 48.
To obtain a preliminary injunction, the movant must show that: (1) he will likely suffer
irreparable harm before the final resolution of his claim without a preliminary injunction;
(2) traditional legal remedies are inadequate; and (3) his claim has some likelihood of success
on the merits. See Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008); BBL, Inc. v. City
of Angola, 809 F.3d 317, 323–24 (7th Cir. 2015). Once the movant makes this showing, the
court “weighs the factors against one another, assessing whether the balance of harms favors
the moving party or whether the harm to other parties or the public is sufficiently weighty that
the injunction should be denied.” BBL, 809 F.3d at 324. (citing ACLU of Ill. v. Alvarez, 679
F.3d 583, 589 (7th Cir. 2012)). Here, Stechauner’s motion turns on the first requirement.
The court must determine whether a preliminary injunction would address the alleged
irreparable harm. See Milwaukee Police Ass’n v. Jones, 192 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir. 1999). The
movant must show that he needs the proposed preliminary injunction to address the alleged
harm; otherwise, he fails to satisfy the irreparable harm requirement of a preliminary
injunction. See United States v. W. T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 633 (1953); Milwaukee Police
Ass’n, 192 F.3d at 748; Flynn v. Burns, No. 17-cv-312, 2018 WL 587889, at *18 (E.D. Wis.
Jan. 29, 2018).
Here, Stechauner has not satisfied the irreparable harm requirement because the
proposed injunctive relief cannot address the alleged harm. Stechauner insists that various
medical professionals, including defendants and nonparties, must relieve him of his symptoms
because failure to do so constitutes deliberate indifference. In particular, Stechauner’s proposed
preliminary injunction includes terms that require: Wheatley to give him medicine that would
actually cure his conditions; Wheatley to stop giving Stechauner medicine that does not relieve
his chronic cough, chest pain, and throat pain; Wheatley to stop sending Stechauner to a
hospitals that are not affiliated with the University of Wisconsin; and all defendants, their
employers, and their agents to stop allowing Stechauner to suffer from his symptoms.
The parties’ submissions show that defendants and other medical professionals
continually provide medical treatment to Stechauner. Such treatment is the “antithesis of
deliberate indifference.” Harper v. Santos, 847 F.3d 923, 927 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting McGee
v. Adams, 721 F.3d 474, 482 (7th Cir. 2013)). Danielle Foster, a manager of the health services
unit (HSU) at OCI, states in her declaration that Stechauner continues to receive medical
treatment on a regular basis. Dkt. 51. Between April 5, 2017, and March 19, 2018, HSU staff
saw him more than two dozen times. Id. ¶ 9. HSU staff gave Stechauner a bronchodilator, pain
medicine, cough syrup, and various antihistamines. Id. ¶ 6. Even though prison medical
professionals have not identified the cause of Stechauner’s symptoms, they have sent him to
off-site hospitals and conducted various diagnostic tests, including a laryngoscopy, a
bronchoscopy, blood tests, and a CT scan. Id. ¶¶ 10–19. Stechauner acknowledges in his
declaration that he has been sent to hospitals 13 times for diagnoses and treatment, even
though those hospital visits did not relieve him of his symptoms. Dkt. 44, ¶¶ 2–3. The
diagnostic tests could not identify the cause of Stechauner’s symptoms. For example, an
endoscopy showed “no significant abnormality” on March 29, 2017. Dkt. 51-1, at 84. On
September 26, 2017, a doctor who reviewed a radiology report of Stechauner’s chest wrote,
“The lungs are clear . . . No radiographic evidence of acute cardiopulmonary disease.” Id. at 44.
The fact that the treatment did not successfully treat Stechauner does not entitle him to a
preliminary injunction. The Eighth Amendment prohibits prison officials from turning a blind
eye to serious medical problems; it does not guarantee a cure.
Stechauner also asks for an injunction that compels courses of treatment that he
believes would help his symptoms. For example, Stechauner asks for an order requiring
Wheatley to prescribe him Codeine—an opioid—to help with his symptoms and send him to
the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics to see a specialist there. Stechauner is not
entitled to dictate the terms of his care, see Harper, 847 F.3d at 927, and he presents no evidence
that the courses of treatment he proposes would be any better than the courses of treatment
he has been receiving.
I have considered whether to hold a hearing to assess whether Wheatley and other
medical professionals are persisting on courses of treatment that they know are ineffective;
such persistence can show deliberate indifference. See Petties v. Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 730 (7th
Cir. 2016). I conclude that a hearing is unnecessary. Multiple medical professionals, including
those at the off-site hospitals, have made different attempts to help Stechauner, with his
symptoms. For example, they tried various medicines to address his symptoms, but the
medicines they tried did not work. Different diagnostic tests could not identify the cause of
Stechauner’s symptoms. Stechauner has suffered for over two years from chronic cough, chest
pain, and throat pain. But he has no evidence that Wheatley and other medical professionals
persist with futile treatment when effective options are available.
I will deny Stechauner’s renewed motion for a preliminary injunction.
IT IS ORDERED that plaintiff Matthew C. Stechauner’s motion for preliminary
injunction, Dkt. 41, is DENIED.
Entered April 13, 2018.
BY THE COURT:
JAMES D. PETERSON
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