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Langford v. Prima

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

August 30, 2017

MUZIRMAN PRIMA, et al., Defendants.



         I. Introduction/Background

         On June 9, 2017, Plaintiff Robert Langford filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Langford is a Michigan state prisoner who alleges Defendants denied him adequate medical treatment for an ingrown toenail for over 10 months. On August 17, 2017, Langford filed a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction to “ensure that he receives proper medical care.” Langford alleges that he first requested medical care for his ingrown toenail on September 16, 2016. Defendant Muzirman Prima, a physician's assistant, advised him that he should have his toenail removed on October 14, 2016. According to the Complaint, Prima told Langford that she had no experience in removing toenails, so he requested that an experienced physician perform the removal instead. The Complaint lists several medical appointments pertaining to the toenail removal that Langford claims were either cancelled or delayed.

         Langford alleges that he filed a Step I grievance regarding his medical care on September 30, 2016, followed by a Step II grievance appeal on October 26, 2016. The Step II grievance appeal indicated that although Prima offered to remove his toenail, he wanted a physician to do it because “she said she did not perform toenail removals...and had no experience in doing so.” Langford claims that he filed a Step III grievance appeal regarding the same issue on October 29, 2016. He says he got no response to it. In addition, Langford alleges that he was written up for misconduct in retaliation for not letting Prima perform any procedures on his ingrown toenail on January 25, 2017.

         II. Standard of Review

         Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy that should be granted only if the movant carries the burden of proving that the circumstances clearly demand it. Overstreet v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Gov't, 305 F.3d 566, 573 (6th Cir. 2002). The proof required to obtain a preliminary injunction is much more stringent than the proof required to survive a summary judgment motion. Leary v. Daeschner, 228 F.3d 729, 739 (6th Cir. 2000).

         In deciding a motion for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, a court must consider: (1) whether the movant shows a strong likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the movant would suffer irreparable injury without the injunction; (3) whether issuance of the injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and (4) whether the public interest would be served by issuance of the injunction. Overstreet, 305 F.3d at 573. These factors are not considered prerequisites, but instead should be balanced against each other. United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 1099 v. Southwest Ohio Reg'l Transit Auth., 163 F.3d 341, 347 (6th Cir. 1998). No one factor is controlling, but “a finding that there is simply no likelihood of success on the merits is usually fatal.” Gonzales v. Nat'l Bd. of Med. Examiners, 225 F.3d 620, 625 (6th Cir. 2000).

         III. Discussion

         A. Likelihood of Success on the Merits

         Langford says he demonstrates a strong likelihood of success on the merits because he was denied care for a serious medical need contrary to a physician's instruction in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Under the Eighth Amendment, prison officials may not act with deliberate indifference to the medical needs of prisoners. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976).

         The Complaint does not indicate that the Defendants intentionally interfered with medical treatment once prescribed, but instead alleges that Langford did not want Prima to treat him because of her lack of experience. Moreover, although the Complaint alleges several appointment cancellations and miscommunication between Langford and Defendants, it is doubtful that Defendants' actions constitute deliberate indifference. A showing of deliberate indifference generally requires allegations of acts or omissions that surpass both negligence and medical malpractice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106. The facts alleged do not rise to the level of the deliberate indifference necessary to sustain a claim under the Eighth Amendment.

         Langford fails to make a strong showing that his claim would likely succeed on the merits.

         B. ...

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