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Alverson v. Copeland

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

August 4, 2014

RODNEY ALVERSON, #132431, Plaintiff,
v.
MS. COPELAND, et al., Defendants.

RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

TERRY F. MOORER, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This case is pending before the court on a 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 complaint filed by Rodney Alverson ["Alverson"], an indigent state inmate presently incarcerated at the Draper Correctional Facility ["Draper"]. In the instant cause of action, Alverson challenges the conditions of confinement and various adverse actions taken against him at Draper. In the compliant, Alverson seeks issuance of "[a] preliminary injunction that has the Corizon Medical Services have the plaintiff's left ear properly examined by a trained ear doctor." Complaint - Doc. No. 1 at 17.

The court required a response to this motion from the medical defendants. In their response, the medical defendants deny they acted with deliberate indifference to Alverson's need for medical treatment of his left ear. The evidentiary materials submitted by the medical defendants, including an affidavit from Darryl Ellis, the Director of Nursing at Staton Correctional Facility, and relevant medical records indicate that health care personnel routinely examined Alverson regarding his complaints of left ear pain and provided him treatment for his condition in accordance with their professional judgment. See Exhibits of Medical Defendants - Doc. No. 30-1 and Doc. No. 30-2.

Upon review of the motion for preliminary injunction and the response to the motion filed by the medical defendants, the court concludes that the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction is due to be denied.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The decision to grant or deny a preliminary injunction "is within the sound discretion of the district court...." Palmer v. Braun, 287 F.3d 1325, 1329 (11th Cir. 2002). This court may grant a preliminary injunction only if Alverson demonstrates each of the following prerequisites: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) a substantial threat irreparable injury will occur absent issuance of the injunction; (3) the threatened injury outweighs the potential damage the requested injunction may cause the non-moving parties; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. Palmer, 287 F.3d at 1329; McDonald's Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301, 1306 Cate v. Oldham, 707 F.2d 1176 (11th Cir. 1983); Shatel Corp. v. Mao Ta Lumber and Yacht Corp., 697 F.2d 1352 (11th Cir. 1983). "In this Circuit, [a] preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy not to be granted unless the movant clearly established the "burden of persuasion" as to the four requisites." McDonald's, 147 F.3d at 1306; All Care Nursing Service, Inc. v. Bethesda Memorial Hospital, Inc., 887 F.2d 1535, 1537 (11th Cir. 1989) (a preliminary injunction is issued only when "drastic relief" is necessary); Texas v. Seatrain Int'l, S.A., 518 F.2d 175, 179 (5th Cir. 1975) (grant of preliminary injunction "is the exception rather than the rule, " and movant must clearly carry the burden of persuasion). The moving party's failure to demonstrate a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits" may defeat the party's claim, regardless of the party's ability to establish any of the other elements. Church v. City of Huntsville, 30 F.3d 1332, 1342 (11th Cir. 1994); see also Siegel v. Lepore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1176 (11th Cir. 2000) (noting that "the absence of a substantial likelihood of irreparable injury would, standing alone, make preliminary injunctive relief improper"). "The chief function of a preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the controversy can be fully and fairly adjudicated.' Northeastern Fl. Chapter of Ass'n of Gen. Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fl., 896 F.2d 1283, 1284 (11th Cir.1990)." Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001).

III. DISCUSSION

Turning to the first prerequisite for issuance of preliminary injunctive relief, the court finds that Alverson has failed to demonstrate a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his claims. Alverson likewise fails to establish a substantial threat that he will suffer the requisite irreparable injury absent issuance of a preliminary injunction. The third factor, balancing potential harm to the parties, weighs more heavily in favor of the medical defendants as issuance of the requested injunction would improperly interfere with the ability of medical personnel to provide treatment to inmates in accordance with their professional judgment. Finally, the public interest element of the equation is, at best, a neutral factor at this juncture. Thus, Alverson has failed to meet his burden of demonstrating the existence of each prerequisite necessary to warrant issuance of a preliminary injunction.

IV. CONCLUSION

Accordingly, it is the RECOMMENDATION of the Magistrate Judge that:

1. The motion for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiff on July 2, 2014 be DENIED. 2. This case be referred back to the undersigned for additional proceedings. It is further

ORDERED that on or before August 19, 2014 the parties may file objections to the Recommendation. Any objection must specifically identify the findings in the Recommendation objected to. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections will not be considered by the District Court. The parties are further advised that this Recommendation is not a final order of the court and, therefore, it is not appealable. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings in the Recommendation shall bar the party from a de novo determination by the District Court of issues addressed in the Recommendation and shall bar the party from attacking on appeal factual findings in the report accepted or adopted by the District Court except upon grounds of plain error or manifest injustice. Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404 (5th Cir. 1982); see Stein v. Reynolds Securities, Inc., 667 F.2d 33 (11th Cir. 1982); see also Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206 (11th Cir. 1981, en banc), adopting as binding precedent all decisions of the former Fifth Circuit issued prior to September 30, 1981.


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