United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING ON MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, ECF No.
Michael P. Shea United States District Judge
March 5, 2018, the plaintiff, Jeffery DeAngelis, 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 and
injunctive relief against Dr. Mahoob Ashraf, Dr. Monica
Farinella, the Correctional Managed Health Care, the
Connecticut Department of Correction (“DOC”), and
former DOC Commissioner Scott Semple for violating his Eighth
Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Compl., ECF No. 1. The plaintiff claims that the defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
Court issued its Initial Review Order on November 6, 2018
permitting the complaint to proceed on the Eighth Amendment
claim against Dr. Ashraf and Dr. Farinella based on the
discontinuation of his neurological medication, Lyrica, and
Dr. Ashraf's refusal to provide any treatment for his
heart condition and Hepatitis-C. Initial Review Order, ECF
No. 7, p. 11. The Court dismissed all other claims.
April 4, 2019 the plaintiff filed this motion for preliminary
injunctive relief. Mot. for TRO and a Prelim. Inj.
(“Pl.'s Mot.”), ECF No. 13. Referring to
Hepatitis-C, he claims that prison officials are denying him
any medication “to cure his deadly disease” and,
therefore, seeks an order requiring the defendants to
“tak[e] [him] to a suitable doctor and provid[e] the
prescribed medication.” Id. at 1, 5. The
defendants, thereafter, filed a written opposition to the
motion, contending that (1) the plaintiff has received, and
continues to receive, consistent medical care for his
Hepatitis-C, (2) there is no evidence that the plaintiff is
at risk of suffering irreparable harm, and (3) Dr. Ashraf was
never involved in treating or evaluating the plaintiff.
Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Prelim. Inj.
(“Def.'s Opp'n”), ECF No. 17. For the
following reasons, the plaintiff's motion for preliminary
injunctive relief is DENIED.
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). “There is no
hard and fast rule in this circuit that oral testimony must
be taken on a motion for a preliminary injunction or that the
court can in no circumstances dispose of the motion on the
papers before it. A hearing is not required for a preliminary
injunction when the relevant facts either are not in dispute
or have been clearly demonstrated at prior stages of the
case, or when the disputed facts are amenable to complete
resolution on a paper record.” Riddick v.
Maurer, 730 Fed.Appx. 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2018) (internal
citations and alterations omitted).
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. But 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)).
Court has reviewed the evidence in the record, including the
exhibits the plaintiff attached to his complaint.
See Pl.'s Exs. A, B, ECF No. 1-1. Although the
Court ruled that the allegations in the complaint stated a
plausible claim against Dr. Ashraf for deliberate
indifference to medical needs, the evidence in the record
does not support the plaintiff's claim that Dr. Ashraf is
violating the Eighth Amendment by depriving him of medication
for his Hepatitis-C or that the absence of such medication
will result in irreparable harm. First, Hepatitis-C is not
the focus of the Plaintiff's complaint and his sworn
allegations concerning Dr. Ashraf's role in treating his
Hepatitis-C are cursory. See ECF No. 1 at 11-13
¶¶ 63-69 (“Dr. Ashraf refuses to order
medication that not only treats but cures hep-C
disease” and “Dr. Ashraf stated that ‘Hep-C
medication is very expensive but you can live without it for
years.'”); ECF No. 13 at 9 (“Dr. Ashraf
stated on multiple occasions that he would not order the
medication that will cure the disease and save my life
because its too expensive.”). In fact, Dr. Ashraf's
name only appears once in the medical records submitted as
the plaintiff's exhibits. That reference lists him as the
treating physician during a sick call visit on September 1,
2018, at Osborn Correctional Institution, during which the
plaintiff complained of “low back pain” and
denied other symptoms. See Pl.'s Ex. A, ECF No.
1-1, p. 28. The plaintiff has submitted no medical record
suggesting that Dr. Ashraf treated him for Hepatitis-C or
even suggesting that the plaintiff complained about
Hepatitis-C symptoms or treatment to Dr. Ashraf. Further, the
defendants have submitted an affidavit from Dr. Pillai
stating that he, not Dr. Ashraf, was responsible for treating
the plaintiff for Hepatitis-C. Attached to that affidavit are
medical records showing that Dr. Pillai and another doctor
provided treatment and monitoring of the plaintiff's
Hepatitis-C. (ECF No. 18.) Even if the state of the record is
considered sufficient to show a factual dispute about whether
Dr. Ashraf had some responsibility for treating the
plaintiff's Hepatitis-C, the remainder of Dr.
Pillai's affidavit dispels any need for an evidentiary
hearing and makes clear that the plaintiff has failed to meet
the standards for preliminary injunctive relief regarding his
Pillai's affidavit shows that the plaintiff's
Hepatitis-C is being monitored by state medical officials and
that the plaintiff is not at a substantial risk of sustaining
additional damage to his liver as a result of his infection.
Decl. of Dr. Pillai, ECF No. 17-1, ¶¶ 23-26.
According to the evidence submitted, the plaintiff's most
recent evaluation on June 18, 2018 showed essentially no
liver damage or fibrosis, which are common problems
associated with Hepatitis-C infection. See id.,
¶¶ 10, 31; Medical Records, ECF No. 18. The
plaintiff has not disputed any of this evidence. It is
well-established that the fact that the plaintiff disagrees
with the level of treatment he is receiving or would prefer a
different treatment is not a basis for an Eighth Amendment
claim. Chance v. Armstrong, 143 F.3d 698, 703 (2d
Cir. 1998). Thus, the current record does not support the
plaintiff's contention that he will likely suffer
irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary injunctive
relief or that any defendant has been deliberately
indifferent to his Hepatitis-C condition.
case upon which the plaintiff relies, Johnson v.
Wright, 412 F.3d 398 (2d Cir. 2005), does not support
his request for preliminary injunctive relief. The Second
Circuit in Johnson vacated a district court's
ruling on a summary judgment motion because there was
evidence in the record that would have supported a reasonable
conclusion that the defendants were deliberately indifferent
to the plaintiff's chronic Hepatitis-C by denying his
requests for a particular prescription medication, Ribavirin,
that multiple physicians had recommended as appropriate to
treat the plaintiff's condition. Id. at 404. By
contrast, there ...