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Cosby v. Tawana

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

October 18, 2019

HOWARD W. COSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
TAWANA, et al., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER

          MICHAEL P. SHEA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The plaintiff, Howard W. Cosby, has filed a motion (ECF No. 32) seeking “emergency intervention and restraining order” in which he seeks orders that he be transferred to the medical unit at Osborn Correctional Institution or another adequate medical facility; sent to the University of Connecticut Health Center for emergency/adequate medical care including x-rays, nerve testing, diagnosis, and physical therapy; and kept separate and in a different correctional facility from all defendants in this case for the duration of his sentence. The defendants have filed an objection to the motion (ECF No. 39). Plaintiff moved for an extension of time (ECF No. 44) to respond to the defendants' objection, and the Court granted an extension until August 23, 2019 (ECF No. 51). The Plaintiff has not filed any response, despite filing other items on the docket since that time.

         I. Legal Standard

         The same standard is used to evaluate requests for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. Gilmore v. Schenectady Cty. Sheriffs, 2018 WL 794579, at *5 (N.D.N.Y. Feb. 8, 2018) (citing Local 1814, Int'l Longshoremen's Ass'n, AFL-CIO v. New York Shipping Ass'n, Inc., 965 F.2d 1224, 1228 (2d Cir. 1992)). Interim injunctive relief “is an extraordinary and drastic remedy, one that should not be granted unless the movant, by a clear showing, carries the burden of persuasion.” Grand River Enterprise Six Nations Ltd. v. Pryor, 481 F.3d 60, 66 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). To prevail, the plaintiff must demonstrate “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 and citation omitted). The Second Circuit considers a showing of irreparable harm the most important requirement for an award of preliminary injunctive relief. NAACP v. Town of East Haven, 70 F.3d 219, 224 (2d Cir. 1995).

         “[T]he court's task when granting a preliminary injunction is generally to restore, and preserve, the status quo ante, i.e., the situation that existed between the parties immediately prior to the events that precipitated the dispute.” Asa v. Pictometry Intern. Corp., 757 F.Supp.2d 238, 243 (W.D.N.Y. 2010); Constitution State Challenge, Inc. v. Nyemchek, 2001 WL 640417, at *9 (D. Conn. June 1, 2001) (noting that preliminary injunctive relief was not needed to preserve status quo); Transamerica Rental Finance Corp. v. Rental Experts, 790 F.Supp. 378, 381 (D. Conn. 1992) (“It is well established in this Circuit that the purpose of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo between two parties.”).

         Where the plaintiff seeks a mandatory injunction, i.e., an injunction seeking to order the defendants to perform positive acts, he must meet a higher standard. Cacchillo v. Insmed, Inc., 638 F.3d 401, 406 (2d Cir. 2011) (citing Citigroup Global Mkts., Inc. v. VCG Special Opportunities Master Fund Ltd., 598 F.3d 30, 35 n.4 (2d Cir. 2010)). 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 the denial of preliminary relief.” Id. (citing Citigroup Global Mkts., 598 F.3d at 35 n.4 (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Tom Doherty Assocs., Inc. v. Saban Entertainment Inc., 60 F.3d 27, 33-34 (2d Cir. 1995) (plaintiff seeking mandatory injunction must make “clear” or “substantial” showing of likelihood of success on the merits of his claim).

         The district court has wide discretion in determining whether to grant preliminary injunctive relief. Moore v. Consolidated Edison Co. of New York, Inc., 409 F.3d 506, 511 (2d Cir. 2005). “In the prison context, a request for injunctive relief must always be viewed with great caution so as not to immerse the federal judiciary in the management of state prisons.” Fisher v. Goord, 981 F.Supp. 140, 167 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 846-47 (1994) (other citations omitted).

         Because the plaintiff must demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of his claims in the complaint to obtain preliminary injunctive relief, the injunctive relief requested must relate to those claims. See, e.g., De Beers Consol. Mines Ltd. v. United States, 325 U.S. 212, 220 (1945) (preliminary injunction appropriate to grant intermediate relief of “the same character as that which may be granted finally, ” but inappropriate where the injunction “deals with a matter lying wholly outside of the issues in the suit”); Torres v. UConn Health, 2017 WL 3713521, at *2 (D. Conn. Aug. 29, 2017) (preliminary injunctive relief not warranted because claim in motion was unrelated to underlying claims in complaint).

         II. Background

         This action concerns the plaintiff's confinement in restrictive housing at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution (“MacDougall”) from December 18, 2018 through January 3, 2019. The remaining claims are ADA and RA claims for injunctive relief and compensatory damages, Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs claims relating to two falls, an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim, claims for use of excessive force and failure to intervene, and retaliation claims. The defendants all work at MacDougall.

         The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in response to incidents occurring at MacDougall between June 30, 2019 and July 3, 2019, the date of the motion. The plaintiff alleges that, since he filed this case, custody and medical staff have retaliated against him through acts of medical neglect, verbal abuse, and physical violence. ECF No. 32, ¶ 1. Staff has been taking his legal work, refusing to send out his legal work, and not returning documents submitted for electronic filing. Id., ¶ 2. The plaintiff received five disciplinary reports since June 30, 2019, resulting in his return to restrictive housing. Id., ¶ 3.

         The plaintiff also alleges that medical and custody staff refuse to provide his mobility aids in restrictive housing. These aids include orthopedic shoes, knee braces, a back binder, compression socks, adult diapers, a urinal, a wheelchair, and a handicap-accessible cell. Id., ¶ 4. Custody staff, with the approval of medical staff, have applied full metal restraints including two pairs of handcuffs at the same time. The handcuffs cut circulation in his hands causing numbness in the top of his hands. Id., ¶ 5.

         The plaintiff injured a toe on his disabled left foot. Id., ¶ 7. Housing unit officers forced him to pull himself from restricted housing to the medical unit. During this trip, his left foot was injured further. Id., ¶ 8. Officers called him a rapist and harassed him. Id., ¶¶ 8-10, 13. He has been denied his medication and access to his legal property. Id., ¶¶ 11-12.

         In response, the defendants state, inter alia, that the plaintiff has been transferred to Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution (“Corrigan”), where he has received ...


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