United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is a Report and Recommendation filed on August 10,
2018, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. ECF
No. 92. Plaintiff has filed timely objections. ECF No. 103.
The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
brings the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for alleged denial of medical care and retaliation related to
his pursuit of legal action. Plaintiff also alleges a claim
for “medical injury under Arkansas state law.”
ECF No. 14, p. 9. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the
Arkansas Department of Correction.
instant Report and Recommendation, Judge Bryant considered
Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No.
76) in which Plaintiff requests preliminary injunctive relief
in the form of an order directing Defendant Correct Care
Solutions, Inc. to “provide diagnosis and treatment for
the persistent pain in the tissues of [Plaintiff's] face
and head.” ECF No. 76, p. 4. Upon examining
Plaintiff's motion under the applicable standard,
Judge Bryant concluded that the motion should be denied,
finding: (1) it was questionable whether Plaintiff's
claims for denial of medical care will succeed on the merits,
(2) Plaintiff failed to demonstrate he will suffer
irreparable harm, (3) the balance of harms favors Defendants,
and (4) that the public interest would not be served by the
issuance of preliminary injunctive relief.
to 28 U.S.C. § 646(b)(1), the Court will conduct a
de novo review of all issues related to
Plaintiff's specific objections. For the sake of clarity,
the Court will separately address the four Dataphase
factors and any of Plaintiff's arguments that are
applicable to each in the order in which Judge Bryant
Likelihood of Success on the Merits
noted above, this case is based, in part, on alleged denial
of medical care and the injunctive relief Plaintiff seeks
regards that claim. Judge Bryant found that it was
questionable whether Plaintiff would succeed on the merits of
his denial of medical care claim.
Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment
prohibits deliberate indifference to prisoners' serious
medical needs. Luckert v. Dodge Cnty., 684 F.3d 808,
817 (8th Cir. 2012). To prevail on his Eighth Amendment
claim, Plaintiff must prove that Defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).
deliberate indifference standard includes “both an
objective and a subjective component: ‘The [plaintiff]
must demonstrate (1) that [he] suffered [from] objectively
serious medical needs and (2) that the prison officials
actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those
needs.'” Jolly v. Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094,
1096 (8th Cir. 2000) (alterations in original).
that he suffered from an objectively serious medical need,
Plaintiff must show he “has been diagnosed by a
physician as requiring treatment” or has an injury
“that is so obvious that even a layperson would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.”
Schaub v. VonWald, 638 F.3d 905, 914 (8th Cir.
2011). To satisfy the subjective prong of deliberate
indifference, “the prisoner must show more than
negligence, more even than gross negligence, and mere
disagreement with treatment decisions does not give rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. Deliberate
indifference is akin to criminal recklessness, which demands
more than negligent misconduct.” Popoalii v. Corr.
Med. Servs., 512 F.3d 488, 499 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal
quotation marks and citation omitted).
it is well settled that a “prisoner's mere
difference of opinion over matters of expert medical judgment
or a course of medical treatment fail[s] to rise to the level
of a constitutional violation.” Nelson v.
Shuffman, 603 F.3d 439, 449 (8th Cir. 2010) (alteration
in original). An “inmate must clear a substantial
evidentiary threshold to show the prison's medical staff
deliberately disregarded the inmate's needs by
administering inadequate treatment.” Id.
Bryant found that, at this stage of the litigation, it is
questionable whether Plaintiff's claim for denial of
medical care will be successful on the merits. Specifically,
Judge Bryant focused on the requirement that Plaintiff have a
serious medical need and noted that Plaintiff had failed to
mention the alleged pain in his face and head during multiple
recent sick calls. Judge Bryant found that this failure
undermined both Plaintiff's claim that he has a serious
medical need requiring immediate medical attention as well as
the argument that he had a condition that was “so
obvious that even a layperson would easily recognize the
necessity for a doctor's attention.” Judge ...