United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER
(DOC. NO. 11)
C. Hall United States District Judge.
February 16, 2017, the plaintiff, Victor Smalls
(“Smalls”), filed a Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order against the defendants, Dr. Carson Wright
(“Dr. Wright”) and Nurse Vicky Scruggs
(“Scruggs”) (Doc. No. 11), along with a
supporting Memorandum of Law (Doc. No. 11-1). Smalls claims
that the injury, on which his Eighth Amendment claim is
based, is deteriorating and, if left untreated, will result
in permanent physical disability. See Pl.'s Mem.
at 4. The injunctive relief he seeks is for specific medical
services, including an MRI of his right ankle, an examination
by “a qualified orthopedic specialist, ” and
“a prescription for a course of physical therapy that
will restore and maintain the full function of his right
ankle.” Mot. at 1. On March 14, 2017, Dr. Wright and
Scruggs submitted a Memorandum of Law in Opposition to
Smalls' Motion (Doc. No. 20). For the following reasons,
Smalls' Motion is denied.
Court has discretion whether to issue a temporary restraining
order where specific facts in an affidavit or a verified
complaint clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury,
loss, or damage will result to the movant before the adverse
party can be heard in opposition and the movant certifies in
writing any efforts made to give notice and the reasons why
it should not be required.” Oliphant v.
Villano, No. 09 Civ. 862 (JBA) (D. Conn. Feb. 11, 2010),
2010 WL 537749, *12 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(b)). “The
purpose of a temporary restraining order is to preserve an
existing situation in statu quo until the court has
an opportunity to pass upon the merits of the demand for a
preliminary injunction.” Garcia v. Yonkers School
Dist., 561 F.3d 97, 107 (2d Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Second Circuit applies similar standards for temporary
restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, “and
district courts have assumed them to be the same.”
See Foley v. State Elections Enforcement Com'n,
No. 10 Civ. 1091 (SRU) (D. Conn. Jul. 16, 2010), 2010 WL
2836722, *3 (quoting Allied Office Supplies, Inc. v.
Lewandowski, 261 F.Supp. 107, 108 n.2 (D. Conn. 2005)).
Preliminary injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy and
is never awarded as a matter of right. Winter v. Natural
Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008);
Johnson v. Newport Lorillard, No. 01 Civ. 9587 (SAS)
(S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2003), 2003 WL 169797, *1. “A
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish
that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely
to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary
relief, that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and
that an injunction is in the public interest.”
Glossip v. Gross, 135 S.Ct. 2726, 2736 (2015)
(internal quotation marks omitted). With respect to the
“irreparable harm” prong, courts will presume
that a movant has established irreparable harm in the absence
of injunctive relief when the movant's claim involves the
alleged deprivation of a constitutional right. See
American Civil Liberties Union v. Clapper, 804 F.3d 617,
622 (2d Cir. 2015). “In deciding a motion for
preliminary injunction, a court may consider the entire
record including affidavits and other hearsay
evidence.” Johnson, 2003 WL 169797, *1.
the movant seeks a “mandatory injunction, ”
meaning an injunction that will “alter[ ]”-rather
than maintain-“the status quo by commanding” some
“positive act, ” the movant must satisfy an even
“higher standard” of proof. D.D. ex rel. V.D.
v. N.Y. City Bd. of Educ., 465 F.3d 503, 510 (2d Cir.
2006). He “must make a clear or substantial showing of
a likelihood of success on the merits.” Id. at
510 (internal quotation marks omitted).
case, Smalls is alleging a violation of his constitutional
protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Thus, the
court will presume that a denial of preliminary injunctive
relief will result in irreparable harm. See American
Civil Liberties Union, 804 F.3d at 622. Smalls is also
seeking a “mandatory injunction” in the form of
specific services to address his medical needs, which
subjects him to the heightened standard of proving a
substantial showing of likelihood of success on the merits of
his claim. See D.D., 465 F.3d at 510. At this stage
of the proceeding, Smalls has not clearly shown a likelihood
of success on the merits to warrant preliminary injunctive
relief. He has thus far failed to provide evidence that any
of the defendants acted with the sufficiently culpable state
of mind required to establish a claim of deliberate
indifference to medical needs. See Johnson v.
Connolly, 378 Fed. App'x. 107, 108 (2d Cir. 2010)
(holding that plaintiff failed to show that prison official
acted with sufficient culpable intent to obtain injunctive
relief); Jones v. Tompkins, No. 12 Civ. 57 (W.D.N.Y.
Mar. 5, 2014), 2014 WL 860334, *8 (stating that, to obtain
preliminary injunction in form of medical treatment plaintiff
must show that medical condition is “objectively
serious” and that defendants acted with deliberate
indifference to medical needs); Amaker v. Fischer,
No. 10 Civ. 0977A (Sep. 28, 2012), 2012 WL 8020777, *2
(stating that plaintiff's bare allegations of
constitutional violations were insufficient to demonstrate
likelihood of success on merits for injunctive relief).
Smalls has provided an Affidavit (Doc. No. 11-2) stating that
Scruggs denied his request to see Dr. Wright because Smalls
was not on the list to see Dr. Wright, and that Dr. Wright
determined that an MRI was not necessary. See Aff.
¶¶ 10, 15. This evidence does not clearly show that
Scruggs or Dr. Wright “knew of and disregarded
[Small's] serious medical needs.” Chance v.
Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 703 (2d Cir. 1998); see
also United States ex rel. Hyde v. McGinnis, 429 F.2d
864, 867-68 (2d Cir. 1970) (holding that disagreements over
treatment between prisoner and physician does not give rise
to constitutional violation). Without additional evidence
that Scruggs and Dr. Wright acted with deliberate
indifference to his medical needs, Smalls cannot establish a
likelihood of success on the merits to warrant injunctive
Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order ...