United States District Court, D. Connecticut
CHADWICK ST. LOUIS, Plaintiff,
DR. JOHNNY WU, ET AL., Defendants.
RULING ON PENDING MOTIONS
A. Dooley United States District Judge
plaintiff, Chadwick St. Louis (“St. Louis”),
currently incarcerated at the Garner Correctional Institution
(“Garner”) brings this civil rights action
against certain employees of Correctional Managed Health Care
(“CMHC”) as well as medical staff members from
Garner and MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
(“MacDougall-Walker”). He alleges, inter
alia, that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent
to his medical needs and/or they promulgated or enforced an
unconstitutional policy prohibiting medical providers in
Department of Correction facilities from prescribing double
mattresses or mattress toppers. See IRO, ECF No. 8
before the court is St. Louis's motion for a preliminary
injunction in which he seeks an order directing the
defendants to provide him with a special mattress and
mattress topper and to send him to a medical specialist for
an evaluation. Also pending is his motion seeking a video
conference in connection with the motion for preliminary
injunction. The defendants filed an opposition to the motion
for preliminary injunction. For the reasons set forth below,
the motion for preliminary injunction and the motion for
video conference will be denied.
injunction is a drastic and extraordinary remedy, which
should not be granted as a matter of course.”
Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms, 561 U.S. 139,
165 (2010) (citation omitted). To warrant preliminary
injunctive relief, the moving party must demonstrate (a) that
he or she will suffer “irreparable harm” in the
absence of an injunction, and (b) either (1) a
“likelihood of success on the merits or (2)
sufficiently serious questions going to the merits [of the
case] to make them a fair ground for litigation and a balance
of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting
preliminary injunctive relief.” Cacchillo v.
Insmed, Inc., 638 F.3d 401, 405-06 (2d Cir. 2011)
(internal quotation marks omitted). If the movant seeks a
“mandatory preliminary injunction that alters the
status quo by commanding some positive act, ” rather
than a “prohibitory injunction seeking only to maintain
the status quo” then the burden of proof is even
higher. Id. at 406 (internal quotation marks and
citation omitted). A mandatory 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.” Id.
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.'” Riddick v.
Maurer, 730 Fed.Appx. 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2018) (quoting
Md. Cas. Co. v. Realty Advisory Bd. on Labor
Relations, 107 F.3d 979, 984 (2d Cir. 1997)). A hearing
is not necessary to decide 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.” Charette v. Town of
Oyster Bay, 159 F.3d 749, 755 (2d Cir. 1998). Upon
review of the record and the parties' submissions, the
court determines that oral testimony and argument are not
necessary in this case. Thus, the motion seeking a video
conference for that purpose is denied.
support of his motion seeking injunctive relief, St. Louis
alleges that he suffers from “extreme back pain”
which is exacerbated by the mattress that he is forced to
sleep on. Decl. Supp. Mot. Prelim. Inj., ECF No. 6, at 4
¶¶ 1-2. He claims that his current mattress is
compressed to a depth of less than one inch and is not
designed for an inmate who weighs as much as he weighs.
Id. at 5 ¶¶ 5, 7. St. Louis alleges that
medical providers at Garner have denied his requests for an
MRI of his back and an examination by a specialist.
Id. at 4 ¶ 3. In December 2018, he requested
that he be provided with a firm mattress and an egg crate
mattress topper. Id. ¶ 4. On January 28, 2019,
a district administrator denied the request. Id. at
Louis seeks mandatory injunctive relief in the form of court
orders directing the defendants to: (1) arrange to have him
examined by a “back specialist, ” (2) carry out
the plan of treatment prescribed by the specialist for his
condition, and (3) provide him with a firm mattress and an
egg crate mattress topper for “a bit more
comfort.” Id. at 5 ¶ 9. Given that St.
Louis is currently confined at Garner and CMHC no longer has
a contract with the Department of Correction to provide
medical care to inmates, the court construes the motion as
seeking relief from defendants Corcella and Borges, who are
the warden and deputy warden at Garner and defendant
Valletta, who is a physician working at Garner.
Valletta filed a declaration in opposition to the requests
for injunctive relief as well as copies of St. Louis's
medical records covering the period January through June
2019. See Defs' Obj. to Mot. Prelim. Inj., ECF
No. 20; Ex. A (Medical Records), ECF No. 32. St. Louis has
filed a reply to the defendants' objection and copies of
some of his medical records. See Reply Obj. Mot.
Prelim. Inj., ECF No. 28.
Defendants contend that St. Louis has received medical care
for his complaints about back pain and that he is not at risk
of suffering irreparable harm if the relief sought is not
granted to him. St. Louis's medical records reflect that
on October 16, 2018, Dr. Valletta prescribed Naproxen to be
taken by him twice a day to treat his back pain. See
Reply Obj. Mot. Prelim. Inj, at 10. On November 21, 2018, St.
Louis submitted a request for health services review
complaining of back pain and requesting an MRI of his back, a
firm mattress and an egg crate mattress topper. Valletta
Decl. ¶ 11, ECF No. 20-1, at 3; Compl., Ex. D, ECF No.
1, at 19. In response, Dr. Valletta indicated that an x-ray
of St. Louis's lumbar spine reflected that he suffered
from mild facet joint arthritis. Id. ¶ 12. Dr.
Valletta noted that St. Louis had exhibited no neurological
symptoms or abnormalities that might warrant an MRI or a new
mattress. Id. Dr. Valletta concluded that St.
Louis's condition did not require that he undergo an MRI
or that he be prescribed a medical mattress and recommended
that St. Louis lose weight and perform range of motion
exercises. Id. ¶ 13.
end of January 2019, St. Louis reported to a nurse that he
was experiencing back pain and pain in the area of his ribs
on the right side and that the two medications that had been
prescribed to alleviate his painful symptoms were only
minimally effective. Ex. A, Medical Records, ECF No. 32, at
234-37. The nurse referred St. Louis to be seen by a
physician. Id. at 237. On February 19, 2019, Dr.
Valetta examined St. Louis during a chronic care appointment.
Valletta Decl. ¶ 14. During the appointment, St. Louis
complained that he was experiencing severe pain in the area
of his right ribs. Ex. A, Medical Records, at 207-08, 211.
St. Louis did not voice any complaints about back pain or
request a new mattress. Valletta Decl. ¶ 16. X-rays of
St. Louis's right ribs were normal. Ex. A, Medical
Records, at 205, 212. Dr. Valletta prescribed a muscle
relaxant to treat St. Louis's rib pain. Id. Dr.
Valletta noted an unspecified lump lower in the inner
quadrant of St. Louis's right chest and indicated that he
would submit a request to the Utilization Review Board to
refer St. Louis for a test or procedure to evaluate the lump.
Id. at 213.
March 24, 2019, St. Louis reported to a nurse that that he
was experiencing back pain and had a mass in the right
anterior area of his ribs. Id. at 169. The nurse
noted that St. Louis was in no acute distress and was able to
sit, stand and walk without ...