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Santiago v. Ey

April 10, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure


Plaintiff Marcos Santiago ("Plaintiff" or "Santiago"), an inmate confined at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood ("USP Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, initiated this pro se civil rights action pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Presently pending are Plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction (Record document no. 48), motion to expedite his motion for preliminary injunction (Record document no. 64), and motion for order (Record document no. 67). These motions are disposed of below.

I. Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction

In his motion, Plaintiff asserts that he has been suffering from pain in his head and neck for about two years that causes him to have to lie down and restricts his ability to stand or walk for long periods of time. (See Record document no. 48 ¶¶ 1- 3.) Plaintiff states that he had a Magnetic Resonance Angiography ("MRA") test on April 4, 2007 and that the results, which are attached to his Complaint in this action as Exhibit O, revealed a potential abnormality. (See id. ¶ 4.) He claims that when the doctor who performed the MRA, Dr. Carrington, saw the abnormality, he stated, "It's pretty big!" (See id.) Plaintiff also states that the report from his MRI, which is attached to his Complaint as Exhibit Z, revealed that Plaintiff had "sclerosis in his mastoid aircells." (See id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleges that he continues to suffer from "extremely bothersome and crippling pain in his head" even after he was prescribed sinus pills and nasal spray for the inflammation in his sinuses that was detected by the MRI. (See id. ¶¶ 5-6.) He claims that he has complained countless times to "the Warden, DeWald, etc." about this pain and his resulting inability to stand for long periods of time, but they have refused to provide treatment. (See id. ¶ 7.)

Plaintiff states that on May 6, 2008, his PA put in a request for him to be evaluated by an Ear, Nose, and Throat ("ENT") specialist, but that he still had not seen the ENT specialist.*fn1 (See id. 8.) As relief, he requests that this Court direct that an independent, outside doctor evaluate Plaintiff and "examine all the test results in order to explain whatexactly is sclerosis in his mastoid aircells, and how big is it."

(See id. ¶ 9.)

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 governs the granting of injunctive relief such as temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. It is well-established that injunctive relief is an "extraordinary remedy . . . ." See, e.g. Chez Sez III Corp. v. Twp. of Union, 945 F.2d 628, 634 (3d Cir. 1991) (citation and internal quotations omitted). As such, preliminary injunctive relief should issue only in limited circumstances. See American Tel. and Tel. Co. v. Winback and Conserve Program, Inc., 42 F.3d 1421, 1426-27 (3d Cir. 1994), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1103 (1995). Moreover, issuance of such relief is at the discretion of the trial judge. Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film Corp., 836 F. Supp. 309, 311 (E.D. Pa. 1993). The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has described the standard of review applicable to requests for preliminary injunctions as follows:

[t]he standard for evaluating a motion for preliminary injunction is a four-part inquiry as to: (1) whether the movant has shown a reasonable probability of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant will be irreparably injured by denial of the relief; (3) whether granting preliminary relief will result in even greater harm to the nonmoving party; and (4) whether granting the preliminary relief will be in the public interest.

United States v. Bell, 414 F.3d 474, 478 n.4 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing ACLU of N.J. v. Black Horse Pike Reg'l Bd. of Educ., 84 F.3d 1471, 1477 n.2 (3d Cir. 1996) (en banc)).

Perhaps the most important prerequisite for the issuance of a preliminary injunction is a demonstration that, if it is not granted, the applicant is likely to suffer irreparable harm before a decision on the merits can be rendered. See Continental Group, Inc. v. Amoco Chems. Corp., 614 F.2d 351, 356 (3d Cir. 1980). Irreparable injury is "potential harm which cannot be redressed by a legal or equitable remedy following a trial." Instant Air Freight Co. v. C.F. Air Freight, Inc., 882 F.2d 797, 801 (3d Cir. 1989). A court may not grant preliminary injunctive relief unless "[t]he preliminary injunction [is] the only way of protecting the plaintiff from harm." Id. The relevant inquiry is whether the party moving for the injunctive relief is in danger of suffering the irreparable harm at the time the preliminary injunctive relief is to be issued. Id. Speculative injury does not constitute a showing of irreparable harm. Continental, 614 F.2d at 359; see also Public Serv. Co. of N.H. v. Town of West Newbury, 835 F.2d 380, 383 (1st Cir. 1987).

In the instant case, Plaintiff has failed to satisfy the four-factor test set forth above. Moreover, Plaintiff has obtained the relief he sought. Defendants state in their opposition brief that, on August 27, 2008, Plaintiff was taken to an outside medical facility to see an ENT specialist. (See Record document no. 54 at 7; Record document no. 54-2, Dr. Kevin Pigos decl., at 6¶ 19.) Following an examination, the ENT specialist determined that Plaintiff has chronic maxillary and ethmoidal sinusitis and a deviated septum. (Id.) The specialist recommended a different antibiotic for three weeks, oral steroids (prednisone) for twelve days, and a follow up CT scan after treatment is completed. (Id.) Plaintiff also was scheduled to return to see the specialist after the prescribed course of treatment had been completed. (Id.) Because Plaintiff obtained the relief he sought, which was to see an outside specialist to evaluate his sinus condition, his motion will be denied as moot.*fn2

II. Plaintiff's Motion to Expedite his Motion for Preliminary Injunction

In his motion, Plaintiff requests that this Court direct Defendants to take Plaintiff back to Dr. Bruce for the follow up appointment that Dr. Bruce recommended take place after Plaintiff underwent the prescribed course of treatment and had a CAT scan. (See Record document no. 64 at 4.) Plaintiff claims that, even though he had a CAT scan on September 29, 2008, he had not yet seen Dr. Bruce for a follow up appointment. (See id. ¶¶ 3, 8.) He also alleges that he was not receiving adequate medical attention for problems he was experiencing with his eyes. (See id. ¶¶ 4-7.)

Defendants attach to their opposition brief a declaration submitted by Dr. Kevin Pigos, Acting Clinical Director at the Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex ("FCC Allenwood"). (See Record document no. 65-2 at 2.) Dr. Pigos is responsible for the medical evaluation and care of inmates in FCC Allenwood, which includes USP Allenwood, the facility where Plaintiff is housed. (See id.) In his declaration, Dr. Pigos states the following: (1) immediately upon his return from his August 27, 2008 appointment with Dr. Bruce, Plaintiff was prescribed the medications that Dr. Bruce recommended (see id. ¶ 5); (2) Plaintiff had a CAT scan on September 28, 2008 pursuant to Dr. Bruce's recommendations (see id. ¶ 7); (3) a PA explained the CAT scan results and provided a copy of the results to Plaintiff on December 1, 2008 (see id. ¶ 13); and (4) Plaintiff was scheduled to see Dr. Bruce for a follow-up appointment, but the exact date and time of his appointment could not be ...

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