United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court
Denying Motion for Medical Injunction
Jeffrey McCloud seeks a preliminary injunction ordering
“the Defendants to seek out and pursue meaningful
medical attention that is required to fix the underlying
cause of the plaintiff's left arm pain and migraine
headaches.” Dkt. 22 at 6. The defendants have objected
to this motion and McCloud has filed a reply. For the reasons
explained below, the motion for medical injunction, Dkt. No.
22, is denied.
Standard of Review
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right. In each case, courts must balance the
competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on
each party of the granting or withholding of the requested
relief.” Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council,
Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008). “To obtain a
preliminary injunction, a party must establish  that it is
likely to succeed on the merits,  that it is likely to
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,
 that the balance of equities tips in its favor, and 
that issuing an injunction is in the public interest.”
Grace Schools v. Burwell, 801 F.3d 788, 795 (7th
Cir. 2015); see Winter, 555 U.S. at 20. “The
court weighs the balance of potential harms on a
‘sliding scale' against the movant's likelihood
of success: the more likely he is to win, the less the
balance of harms must weigh in his favor; the less likely he
is to win, the more it must weigh in his favor.”
Turnell v. CentiMark Corp., 796 F.3d 656, 662 (7th
Cir. 2015). “The sliding scale approach is not
mathematical in nature, rather it is more properly
characterized as subjective and intuitive, one which permits
district courts to weigh the competing considerations and
mold appropriate relief.” Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N
Shake Enterprises, Inc., 695 F.3d 676, 678 (7th Cir.
2012) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Stated another way, the district court ‘sit[s]
as would a chancellor in equity' and weighs all the
factors, ‘seeking at all times to minimize the costs of
being mistaken.'” Id. (quoting Abbott
Labs. v. Mead Johnson & Co., 971 F.2d 6, 12 (7th
filed this civil action alleging that the defendants have
been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.
McCloud alleges that in 2005 he first injured his left hand
when his arm went through a glass window causing tendon and
nerve damage. In 2013, he was prescribed physical therapy and
pain management. McCloud's pain continued through January
17, 2015, when he was assaulted and stabbed five times in his
left shoulder and arm at Wabash Valley. The wounds were
superficial in nature, and he was treated for the lacerations
at an outside medical facility.
medical records reflect that McCloud has been diagnosed with
radial and ulnar neuropathy for the at least the past four
years. Defendant Dr. Byrd's professional medical opinion
is that McCloud's symptoms and condition is not one that
can be “cured” by performing a surgical operation
to reattach a tendon or set a broken bone. This is because
McCloud's radial and ulnar neuropathy is a chronic
condition caused by trauma in 2005, which has led to
degeneration of McCloud's nerve endings and arm weakness.
In addition, McCloud was sent out to see a neurologist who
did not recommend any surgical treatment. The standard
treatment for neuropathy is Neurontin and physical therapy.
McCloud has seen a physical therapist and received a home
exercise plan. He is also receiving a significant dose of
Neurontin, along with Tylenol.
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
stage of the litigation, in order to receive a preliminary
injunction, the plaintiff has the burden of presenting
evidence to establish a reasonable likelihood of success on
the merits. To prevail on his Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference medical claim, McCloud must demonstrate two
elements: (1) he suffered from an objectively serious medical
condition; and (2) the defendant knew about his condition and
the substantial risk of harm it posed, but disregarded that
risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 8374 (1994);
Pittman ex rel. Hamilton v. County of Madison, Ill.,
746 F.3d 766, 775 (7th Cir. 2014); Arnett v.
Webster, 658 F.3d 742, 750-51 (7th Cir. 2011). The
defendants argue that McCloud does not have a reasonable
likelihood of success on the merits of these claims. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court agrees.
defendants do not argue that McCloud did not suffer from an
objectively serious medical condition, but they do argue that
there is no evidence that they were deliberately indifferent
to it. “[C]onduct is ‘deliberately
indifferent' when the official has acted in an
intentional or criminally reckless manner, i.e., the
defendant must have known that the plaintiff ‘was at
serious risk of being harmed [and] decided not to do anything
to prevent that harm from occurring even though he could have
easily done so.'” Board v. Freeman, 394
F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Armstrong v.
Squadrito, 152 F.3d 564, 577 (7th Cir. 1998)). “To
infer deliberate indifference on the basis of a
physician's treatment decision, the decision must be so
far afield of accepted professional standards as to raise the
inference that it was not actually based on a medical
judgment.” Norfleet v. Webster, 439 F.3d 392,
396 (7th Cir. 2006). See Plummer v. Wexford Health
Sources, Inc., 609 Fed.Appx. 861, 2015 WL 4461297, *2
(7th Cir. 2015) (holding that defendant doctors were not
deliberately indifferent because there was “no evidence
suggesting that the defendants failed to exercise medical
judgment or responded inappropriately to [the
plaintiff's] ailments”). In addition, the Seventh
Circuit has explained that “[a] medical professional is
entitled to deference in treatment decisions unless no
minimally competent professional would have [recommended the
same] under those circumstances.” Pyles v.
Fahim, 771 F.3d 403, 409 (7th Cir. 2014).
defendants argue that McCloud cannot show that they were
deliberately indifferent to his need for medical care because
he experienced a chronic condition that was treated
appropriately. The evidence here is that McCloud was
diagnosed with radial and ulnar neuropathy based on a nerve
conduction study. He was referred to a neurologist and his
Neurotin prescription was increased to the maximum dosage
allowed. McCloud has received access to physical therapy and
disagreement with this conclusion is not enough to show
deliberate indifference. See Pyles, 771 F.3d at 409.
McCloud's reply argues that more should have been done
for him and that a variety of recommendations made in 2013
were ignored. McCloud's arguments, however, are
insufficient to demonstrate a likelihood of success of the
merits at this point ...