United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION (ECF NO.
MICHAEL P. SHEA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
14, 2018, the plaintiff, Rodney Martin Kyles, an inmate
currently confined at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional
Institution in Suffield, Connecticut, brought a civil action
pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for monetary,
injunctive, and declaratory relief against Dr. Omprakash
Pillai and Nursing Supervisor Tawanna Furtick for violating
his Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual
punishment. Compl. (ECF No. 1). The plaintiff claimed that
the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his
medical needs by refusing to treat him for his chronic back
problem and/or provide him with a double mattress to
alleviate his back pain. Id. This Court issued its
Initial Review Order on November 6, 2018 permitting the
complaint to proceed against both defendants in their
individual capacities for damages and in their official
capacities for declaratory and injunctive relief. Initial
Review Order (ECF No. 7).
November 26, 2018, the plaintiff filed the instant motion for
preliminary injunctive relief. Mot. for Order to Show Cause
for Prelim. Inj. and TRO (ECF No. 9). He requests that this
Court order the defendants to provide him with a
“medium-size[d] hospital mattress” to alleviate
his back pain. Id. at 3, 5. The defendants objected
to the motion on January 22, 2019, contending that (1) the
plaintiff has received consistent care for his medical needs,
including a double mattress which was given to him in January
17, 2019, and (2) neither an additional mattress nor a
medical mattress “would be medically indicated for the
plaintiff's back issues.” Defs.' Obj. and Mem.
of Law in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim. Inj. (ECF
No. 18). They also argue that the plaintiff has failed to
show a likelihood of success on the merits of his Eighth
Amendment claim, and thus, preliminary injunctive relief is
not warranted. Id. at 5. The plaintiff filed a reply
on February 4, 2019, countering that (1) he is not being
provided with consistent medical care, (2) the double
mattress provided to him in January 2019 did not alleviate
his back problems, and (3) he has shown a substantial
likelihood of success on the merits of his Eighth Amendment
claim warranting an order for the defendants to provide him
with a medical mattress. Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Obj.
and Mem. of Law in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Prelim.
Inj. (“Pl.'s Reply”) (ECF No. 21). The Court
will deny the plaintiff's motion without prejudice
subject to refiling.
Standard of Review
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), 2003 WL
169797, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2003). “In deciding a
motion for preliminary injunction, a court may consider the
entire record including affidavits and other hearsay
evidence.” Johnson, 2003 WL 169797, at *1.
movant seeking a preliminary injunction must establish (1)
irreparable harm in the absence of the injunction and (2)
either a likelihood of success on the merits or sufficiently
serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair
ground for litigation and a balance of hardships tipping
decidedly in the movant's favor. Jolly v.
Coughlin, 76 F.3d 468, 473 (2d Cir. 1996); Shapiro
v. Cadman Towers, Inc., 51 F.3d 328, 332 (2d Cir. 1995);
Mitchell v. Cuomo, 748 F.2d 804, 806 (2d Cir. 1984).
respect to the first 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. Jolly, 76
F.3d at 482; Mitchell, 748 F.2d at 806. However, the
likelihood of irreparable harm must be “actual and
imminent, ” not speculative. Lopez v. McEwan,
No. 3:08-CV-678 (JCH), 2010 WL 326206, at *8 (D. Conn. Jan.
22, 2010) (quoting New York v. Nuclear Regulator
Comm'n, 550 F.2d 745, 775 (2d Cir. 1977)).
moving party is seeking a “mandatory injunction,
” meaning an injunction that changes the status quo by
commanding the opposing party to perform a positive act, then
he must satisfy an even higher standard of proof with respect
to the second prong. Lopez, 2010 WL 326206, at *8.
He “must make a clear or substantial showing of a
likelihood of success on the merits . . . a standard
especially appropriate when a preliminary injunction is
sought against the government.” Id. (quoting
D.D. ex rel. V.D. v. New York City Bd. of Educ., 465
F.3d 503, 510 (2d Cir. 2006)). “[A] mandatory
preliminary injunction ‘should issue only upon a clear
showing that the moving party is entitled to the relief
requested, or where extreme or very serious damage will
result from a denial of preliminary relief.'”
Banks v. Annucci, 48 F.Supp.3d 394, 421 (N.D.N.Y.
2014) (quoting Citigroup Global Mkts., Inc. v. VCG
Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd., 598 F.3d 30, 35
n.4 (2d Cir. 2010)).
light of the evidence presented by both parties, the Court
concludes that the plaintiff has failed to establish imminent
irreparable harm in the absence of an order for the
defendants to provide him with a hospital mattress. Dr.
Pillai has affirmed that he continues to evaluate the
plaintiff on a three-month basis and that, as of January 17,
2019, the plaintiff has been provided with an additional
mattress to alleviate his back pain. Decl. of Dr. Omprakash
Pillai (“Pillai Decl.”) (ECF No. 18-1)
¶¶ 4, 13. The plaintiff has also indicated in his
supporting exhibits that he continues to receive medication
and assessment for his back pain. Pl.'s Ex. 3 (ECF No.
21-1 at 3). Based on his evaluations, Dr. Pillai has not
found a medical mattress to be appropriate for the
plaintiff's condition. Pillai Decl. ¶ 12.
plaintiff has provided evidence that as of January 29, 2019,
Nurse Shantay Wells recommended that he be provided with a
medical mattress for his ongoing back and leg pain. Pl.'s
Ex. 4 (ECF No. 21-1 at 5-6). Nurse Wells asked the plaintiff
to discuss the issue with his “treating facility
physician.” Id. Wells' assessment also
indicates, however, that the plaintiff “appears to be
coping well requiring no use of pain medications or frequent
in[j]ections.” Id. It is not clear whether the
defendants, Dr. Pillai and Nurse Furtick, have had a chance
to review Wells' assessment or re-evaluate the plaintiff.
Given this very recent development, the Court does not agree
that preliminary injunctive relief is warranted at this time
because the plaintiff's evidence does not show that
irreparable harm is imminent absent the immediate delivery of
a medical mattress. The Court will permit the plaintiff one
opportunity to refile his motion after the defendants have
had a chance to evaluate Wells' assessment and/or
reevaluate the plaintiff's condition.
the plaintiff has not made a “clear or substantial
showing of a likelihood of success on the merits, ”
which is required for a mandatory injunction compelling the
defendants to provide him with a hospital mattress. See
Lopez, 2010 WL 326206, at *8. He argues that the
Court's finding of a plausible Eighth Amendment claim in
the Initial Review Order and order directing the defendants
to respond to his motion for preliminary injunctive relief
“indicates that there is merit to [his] case.”
Pl.'s Reply at 9. The plaintiff is incorrect. Although
the Court found that the plaintiff's allegations stated a
plausible Eighth Amendment, it did not find, nor could it
find, that his claim was sufficiently meritorious to warrant
immediate injunctive relief. Thus, a mandatory preliminary
injunction is not warranted at this time.
motion for preliminary injunctive relief (ECF No. 9) is
DENIED without prejudice subject to refiling at a later stage
of litigation. Given the recent development in the case,
however, the defendants are advised to reevaluate the
plaintiff and ...