United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE.
Christopher Jewell, an inmate currently incarcerated at
Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”),
brought this action against medical providers and other
employees at Pendleton, including Dr. Paul Talbot and his
employer, Wexford of Indiana, LLC (“Wexford). Mr.
Jewell alleges that the Medical Defendants have and continue
to provide deficient medical treatment for his severe acid
reflux diseases, commonly referred to GERD and
before the Court is Mr. Jewell’s motion for a
preliminary injunction. He asks the Court to order the
Medical Defendants to place him on a no-citrus diet and be
prescribed necessary medications. The Medical Defendants
responded to Mr. Jewell’s motion, but failed to submit
any evidence supporting their factual assertions.
The State Defendants failed to respond. This leaves the
substantial evidence submitted by Mr. Jewell unopposed. This
unopposed evidence shows that Mr. Jewell is entitled to a
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).
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Court begins with whether Mr. Jewell has a likelihood of
success on the merits of his Eighth Amendment medical claim.
Mr. Jewell 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 (1994).
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.
parties do not dispute that Mr. Jewell has been diagnosed
with GERD and Barrett’s esophagus and that these are
objectively serious medical conditions. To treat these
conditions, Mr. Jewell presents evidence that he has been
placed on a no-citrus diet and prescribed various
medications, including Zantac and Prilosec. See,
e.g., dkt. 31-1 at 3; dkt. 49-2. Nevertheless, evidence
shows that there have been several gaps in receiving his
medications and that he has been removed from the no-citrus
diet without explanation. See dkt. 31-1 at 2; dkt.
49 at 6-9. Mr. Jewell attests that with an order from Dr.
Talbot, he would receive a no-citrus diet from the prison
food provider. Notably, the no-citrus diet information sheet
states that one of its purposes is for individuals with GERD.
Dkt. 49-3 at 2.
the Medical Defendants have failed to present any evidence,
Mr. Jewell’s evidence is accepted as
true. The Seventh Circuit has held that the
denial of Zantac for GERD- and even the failure to administer
Zantac at the appropriate time in relation to meals-could
allow a reasonable jury to infer deliberate indifference.
See Rowe v. Gibson, 798 F.3d 622, 626-28 (7th Cir.
2015). Moreover, a reasonable jury could, and likely would,
infer that unexplained gaps in providing medication and
unexplained removal from a non-citrus diet-especially when
the diet is specifically designed for individuals with