United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge.
Victor Keeylen, an inmate currently incarcerated at Wabash
Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”),
brought this action against medical providers and other
employees at Wabash Valley. He alleges that defendant Dr.
Paul Talbot has and continues to provide deficient medical
treatment for his Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(“MRSA”). Presently before the Court is Mr.
Keeylen's motion for a preliminary injunction. He asks
the Court to order him sent to the hospital for medical
testing and to be provided all other necessary medical care.
For the reasons explained below, Mr. Keeylen's motion for
a preliminary injunction is denied.
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never
awarded as of right.” Winter v. Natural
Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
“To obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must
establish that it has some likelihood of success on the
merits; that it has no adequate remedy at law; that without
relief it will suffer irreparable harm.” GEFT
Outdoors, LLC v. City of Westfield, 922 F.3d
357, 364 (7th Cir. 2019) (citation and quotation marks
omitted); see Winter, 555 U.S. at 20. “If the
plaintiff fails to meet any of these threshold requirements,
the court must deny the injunction.” GEFT
Outdoors, 922 F.3d at 364 (citation and quotation marks
plaintiff passes the threshold requirements, “the court
must weigh the harm that the plaintiff will suffer absent an
injunction against the harm to the defendant from an
injunction, and consider whether an injunction is in the
public interest.” Planned Parenthood of Ind. &
Ky., Inc. v. Comm'r of Ind. State Dep't of
Health, 896 F.3d 809, 816 (7th Cir. 2018)). The Seventh
Circuit “‘employs a sliding scale approach'
for this balancing: if a plaintiff is more likely to win, the
balance of harms can weigh less heavily in its favor, but the
less likely a plaintiff is to win the more that balance would
need to weigh in its favor.” GEFT Outdoors,
922 F.3d at 364 (quoting Planned Parenthood, 896
F.3d at 816).
Court's analysis begins and ends with the first threshold
factor-whether Mr. Keeylen has a likelihood of success on the
merits of his Eighth Amendment medical claim. Mr. Keeylen was
and remains a convicted prisoner; thus his treatment and the
conditions of his confinement are evaluated under standards
established by the Eighth Amendment's proscription
against the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment.
See Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31 (1993)
(“[T]he treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the
conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny
under the Eighth Amendment.”). Pursuant to the Eighth
Amendment, prison officials have a duty to provide humane
conditions of confinement, meaning they must take reasonable
measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates and ensure
that they receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and
medical care. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
determine if the Eighth Amendment has been violated in the
prison medical context, [the Court] perform[s] a two-step
analysis, first examining whether a plaintiff suffered from
an objectively serious medical condition, and then
determining whether the individual defendant was deliberately
indifferent to that condition.” Petties v.
Carter, 836 F.3d 722, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2016) (en banc).
To show deliberate indifference, “a plaintiff does not
need to show that the official intended harm or believed that
harm would occur, ” but “showing mere negligence
is not enough.” Id. at 728. Instead, a
plaintiff must “provide evidence that an official
actually knew of and disregarded a substantial risk
of harm.” Id.
Keeylen has been diagnosed with both MRSA and Eczema. The
parties do not dispute, at least for purposes of this motion,
that MRSA and Eczema are objectively serious medical
conditions. But they dispute whether Defendants are acting
with deliberate indifference toward them. Mr. Keeylen states
in his motion that “anyone who has seen [his] body can
visibly see that [he] suffers fro[m] random rashes,
reoccurring boils, blurry vision, complications from lower
leg swelling, pain and more.” Dkt. 83 at 1. He states
further that he “repeatedly tried to get medical care
from the defendants, [but] they have been willful, and
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical condition
to the point that it now may be
life-threatening.” Id. at 2.
Dr. Paul Talbot, who is familiar with Mr. Keeylen's
treatment, explains in his affidavit that MRSA is an
infection that “can be treated and cured, [while]
Eczema is a lifelong condition that is managed rather than
cured.” Dkt. 87-1 at 1. But each condition complicates
the treatment for the other. Dr. Talbot explains,
“[t]he typical treatment for Eczema is steroids,
” but “overuse of steroids can lead to or
exacerbate MRSA by suppressing the immune system.”
Mr. Keeylen's current condition, Dr. Talbot explains that
Mr. Keeylen “does not currently have an active
diagnosis of skin MRSA.” Id. at 2. Dr. Talbot
acknowledges that Mr. Keeylen was diagnosed with MRSA in
April 2018, but attests that “Mr. Keeylen's skin
MRSA condition . . . resolved after he was decontaminated and
provided various antibiotics.” Id. Ultimately,
Dr. Talbot concludes that “[b]ecause Mr. Keeylen does
not have an active diagnosis of skin MRSA, a referral to a
dermatologist or infectious disease specialist is not
medically indicated at this time.” Id.
the same period, Mr. Keeylen was, and continues to be,
treated for Eczema. Id. Specifically, Mr. Keeylen
was prescribed Triamcinolone, which is “a topical
corticosteroid [that] Mr. Keeylen has been instructed to
apply twice per day to the affected areas.”
Keeylen has not presented any evidence disputing Dr.
Talbot's testimony regarding Mr. Keeylen's MRSA and
Eczema and the medical treatment he has received for each.
The undisputed evidence thus shows that Mr. Keeylen received
effective treatment for his MRSA, which was cured, and is
currently receiving treatment for his Eczema, which is a
“lifelong condition that is managed rather than
cured.” Dkt. 87-1 at 1. For there to be any likelihood
that Mr. Keeylen can establish that Defendants were
deliberately indifference to his medical condition, he must
“provide evidence that [a defendant] actually
knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of harm.”
Petties, 836 F.3d at 728. Not only has he not
produced such evidence, Defendants' undisputed evidence
shows the opposite: they have cured his MRSA and are
presently treating his Eczema, which can only be managed, not
Keeylen resists this conclusion in his reply. He points the
Court to Dr. Talbot's statements regarding the
simultaneous treatment of MRSA and Eczema to argue that Dr.
Talbot overprescribed steroids, which caused Mr. Keeylen to
contract MRSA. See dkt. 93 at 1-3. As an initial
matter, Mr. Keeylen does not present any evidence that this
occurred. He relies solely on Dr. Talbot's statement that
it can occur. But even if the steroids prescribed for Mr.
Keeylen's Eczema caused him to contract MRSA, he is still
not entitled to the preliminary injunction for at least two
reasons. First, evidence that steroids can cause MRSA, by
itself, is not evidence that Dr. Talbot or any other
Defendant was deliberately indifferent to either condition.
As Dr. Talbot explained, “[t]he two conditions-skin
MRSA and Eczema-complicate the course of treatment for both
conditions.” Dkt. 87-1 at 1. Merely because the
treatment for one condition caused another does not establish
that Dr. Talbot acted with deliberate indifference to that
possibility. Second, the undisputed evidence discussed above
reveals that Mr. Keeylen's MRSA is cured. Thus, ...