United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JAMES L. ASHER, Plaintiff,
GEO GROUP, INC., KEITH BUTTS, SCOTT FITCH, ROY DAVIS, and STEVEN ROBERTS, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGEQ
civil rights action, pro se Plaintiff James L. Asher
(“Mr. Asher”) alleges an Eighth Amendment policy
or practice claim against GEO Group, Inc. for failing to have
adequate staffing which resulted in two inmates attacking and
injuring him at the New Castle Correctional Facility
Asher subsequently filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction,
requesting that the Court issue a protective order against
the GEO Group and the Indiana Department of Correction
(“IDOC”) and order that he be placed in the
Federal Witness Protection program and transferred from NCCF
to a federal prison. (Dkt. 59 at 1-2.) The Defendants have
opposed the motion for preliminary injunction. (Dkt. 62.)
PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION STANDARD
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy.”
HH-Indianapolis, LLC v. Consol. City of Indianapolis and
County of Marion, Indiana, 889 F.3d 432, 437 (7th Cir.
2018) (internal quotation omitted). “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) (internal
quotations omitted); see also Winter v. Nat'l
Resources Defense Co., Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008)
(same). “If the plaintiff fails to meet any of these
threshold requirements, the court must deny the
injunction.” GEFT Outdoors, 922 F.3d at 364
(internal quotations omitted).
Asher 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).
Complaint and Response, Mr. Asher alleges that the GEO Group
has a policy or practice of understaffing their facilities
creating dangerous conditions for inmates. (Dkt. 1; Dkt.
He believes this practice resulted in him being beaten and
injured by two inmates. Id. In his motion seeking
injunctive relief, Mr. Asher alleges that the medical
department attempted to murder him by giving him a lethal
dose of two medications-Cymbalta and Prozac-that are not
supposed to be combined. (Dkt. 59 at 1.) He asserts that they
attempted to kill him in retaliation for him filing this
lawsuit. Id. at 2. He believes that if he is not
removed from the GEO Group and IDOC custody, there will be
another attempt on his life. Id.
Defendants acknowledge that medical personnel prescribed Mr.
Asher Cymbalta and Prozac, (Dkt. 62-1 at ¶ 8), but they
deny responsibility over his medical care. Grievance
Specialist Hannah Winningham (“Ms. Winningham”)
testified that the GEO Group contracts with the IDOC to
manage the operational control of NCCF, but it has no control
or responsibility over medical decisions. Id. at
¶ 5. Mr. Asher told Ms. Winningham that he believed
medical personnel were trying to kill him by prescribing
Cymbalta and Prozac. Id. at ¶ 8. She did an
internet search which confirmed that a side effect of
combining those two drugs could be coma or death.
Id. at ¶ 9. Ms. Winningham spoke with medical
department personnel who confirmed the drugs should not be
prescribed together and stated they would speak with medical
staff and Mr. Asher to resolve the issue. Id. at
¶ 10. After that, Ms. Winningham had no further
interaction with Mr. Asher or medical personnel about the
issue. Id. at ¶ 11.
explained below, Mr. Asher has failed to establish his right
to injunctive relief. Mr. Asher has not shown that he is
likely to succeed on the merits of his claims, that he will
suffer irreparable harm if immediate relief is not granted,
and that his legal remedies are inadequate.
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
Asher alleges that the Defendants are trying to kill him in
retaliation for filing this lawsuit, but the GEO Group has no
responsibility for medical care at NCCF, and the medical
provider is not a defendant in this suit. Further, Ms.
Winningham, a GEO Group employee, addressed Mr. Asher's
legitimate concern about the interaction between these two
drugs with medical staff, and the matter appears resolved.
See Dkt. 65 at 4 (Mr. Asher acknowledges that he is
no longer taking the two medications).
the relief he seeks is not possible. A prisoner has no
constitutional right to select a particular correctional
facility or to be transferred to a different facility upon
request. See Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238,