United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR DECLARATORY
RELIEF AND MOTION TO COMPEL
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Motion for Declaratory Relief
on the determination by prison physician Dr. Byrd that no
further treatment was needed to address the plaintiff’s
continuing knee pain, in the Entry of March 30, 2016, the
Court granted the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary
medical injunction and stated as follows:
Dr. Byrd, or his designee with the authority to do so, shall
refer Mr. Perkins to an outside orthopedic specialist to
examine and evaluate Mr. Perkins’ right knee. The Court
denies Mr. Perkins’ request for specific pain
medications and MRI, and leaves whatever treatment, if any,
is appropriate, to the determination of the specialist.
Dkt. 39, p. 4.
response to the Court’s order, the plaintiff was
referred to and seen by an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Madsen,
on May 2, 2016.
27, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion for declaratory relief
and damages. In that motion, he requests that the Court find
the defendants in contempt for stating that they will not
necessarily comply with all of Dr. Madsen’s
recommendations. He also sought an award of $119.00 for each
day he was not provided the Tramadol that Dr. Madsen
prescribed. The Court agrees with the defendants in finding
that the plaintiff’s motion for declaratory relief is
in substance a motion to compel compliance with the
Court’s prior order, and that a declaratory judgment is
not appropriate under these circumstances. For this reason,
the plaintiff’s motion for declaratory relief [dkt. 65]
Motion to Compel
1, 2016, the plaintiff filed a motion to compel which also
requests an order directing the defendants to comply with the
Court’s order of March 30, 2016. Specifically, he
argues that the defendants must provide the medication
prescribed by Dr. Madsen and send the plaintiff back to Dr.
Madsen for a follow-up appointment.
plaintiff contends that the defendants have failed to provide
the “follow-up” recommended by Dr. Madsen. Dkt.
84, p. 4. He interprets Dr. Madsen’s
“follow-up” notation as meaning that he was
supposed to have a second appointment with Dr. Madsen.
Although the Court agrees that it would have been reasonable
to send the plaintiff back to Dr. Madsen after the MRI, Dr.
Madsen’s report specifies that the follow-up he
recommended was an MRI and Tramadol. Id. In fact,
the plaintiff had an MRI and Tramadol was prescribed.
of sending the plaintiff back to Dr. Madsen after the MRI was
completed, however, the defendants sent the plaintiff to a
second orthopedist on July 15, 2016. This physician
recommended a diligent course of physical therapy and
Meloxicam, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
(“NSAID”). Dkt. 86-1, p. 6. The plaintiff was
also offered a corticosteroid injection but he declined.
the plaintiff was not seen again by Dr. Madsen, the
defendants report that after the MRI was taken Dr. Madsen
recommended surgery due to the plaintiff’s thinning
ACL. The defendants further report that Dr. Madsen did not
specify the cause of the plaintiff’s condition or state
why he recommended surgery. Any post-MRI report from Dr.
Madsen is not part of this record, nor have the defendants
sought any further clarification from him.
appear to be the major disputed points presented by the
motion to compel are the type and duration of medications
prescribed and whether or not surgery should be provided.
Before proceeding further with that discussion, to clear up
any misunderstanding on the part of the plaintiff, the
Constitution does not mandate that he be restored “back
to his pre-incident health.” Dkt. 81, p. 6. He is
entitled to “reasonable measures to meet a substantial
risk of serious harm.” Arnett v. Webster, 658
F.3d 742, 754 (7th Cir. 2011). What is
“reasonable” with respect to the
defendants’ conduct prior to the filing of this lawsuit
must be decided based on professional judgments and standards
and is the ultimate issue in this action, one that will not
be decided on this ancillary motion.
respect to medication, the parties disagree as to whether the
Tramadol prescribed by Dr. Madsen was given to the plaintiff
for two weeks or three, but the record has no medication
dispensation report. Therefore, the Court cannot determine
precisely how many pills were prescribed and if the
prescription was given in its entirety. If Dr. Madsen’s
prescription was specific in duration, the plaintiff is
entitled to that medication under the Court’s March 30,
2016, Entry. The Court’s Entry, however, shall not
be construed to place all future medical decisions ...