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Barnett v. Hill

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

May 1, 2019

NINA HILL, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon pro se plaintiff Brandon Nicholas Barnett's motion for preliminary injunction, and ten other filings from plaintiff seeking relief from the Court. For the reasons discussed below, all of plaintiff's motions will be denied except his motions for issuance and service of summons upon defendant “Dr. William K. Winkelmeyer.” ECF Nos. 30 & 35.


         Plaintiff is an inmate at Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”) in Charleston, Missouri. On January 31, 2019, the Court reviewed plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint and directed the Clerk of Court to issue process upon plaintiff's allegations of deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs as to defendants Nina Hill, Dr. Winkelmeyer, and Roxanne Anderson. ECF No. 8. The Court dismissed the complaint as to all other named defendants. Plaintiff was also directed to pay an initial partial filing fee of $1.00 within twenty-one (21) days; however, the Court later granted plaintiff's motion to waive this fee. ECF Nos. 17 & 20.

         On March 25, 2019, plaintiff filed a motion for injunction and temporary restraining order, regarding allegations of a delay in medical treatment in retaliation for the filing of this suit. ECF No. 18. The Court denied plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order regarding his medical treatment, but ordered defendants to respond to plaintiff's motion for injunctive relief by April 8, 2019. ECF No. 20. On March 29, 2019, defendants Anderson and Hill filed their answer to the complaint and on April 5, they filed a response to the motion for injunction. ECF Nos. 21 & 25. Service has not yet been executed on the third defendant, Dr. Winkelmeyer.

         Since the Court's order requiring defendants to answer plaintiff's arguments for injunctive relief, plaintiff has filed two supplemental filings (ECF Nos. 22 & 34) and eight motions for relief (ECF Nos. 26-28, 30-33, & 35).

         Motion for Injunction as to Delay in Medical Care (ECF No. 18)

         Arguments of the Parties

         In plaintiff's motion and supplemental document filed the same date (ECF No. 19), he states that he was seen by defendant Dr. Winkelmeyer on January 15, 2019, to discuss his frequent need to urinate, inability to hold food in his stomach, and testicle pain. According to plaintiff, Dr. Winkelmeyer referred him to be seen by a urologist and to have an endoscopy performed. Plaintiff says that he confirmed with Nurse Jackie on March 16, 2019, that the referral and recommendation for endoscopy were in his medical file. However, according to plaintiff, defendant Nina Hill is in charge of making the referrals at SECC and Hill has not made the referral in retaliation against plaintiff for the filing of this suit. Plaintiff alleges that this delay in medical care is causing him bodily harm including testicle and stomach pain, deterioration of his body, and blood in his stool. Plaintiff asks that the court “order Nina Hill, Jason Lewis, and Molly Leija[1] [to] have [him] sent to urologist and to get endoscopy done and have specialist orders carried out by 8-21-19 or before.” ECF No. 18 at 1.

         Defendants submit a declaration from defendant Hill, a Nurse Practitioner, and plaintiff's medical records in support of their arguments. Records indicate that plaintiff had a telemedicine visit with Dr. Winkelmeyer, a nephrologist or kidney disease specialist, on January 15, 2019. Defendants admit that Dr. Winkelmeyer recommended an upper GI endoscopy; however, defendants deny that Dr. Winkelmeyer referred plaintiff to a urologist. ECF Nos. 25-1 ¶ 56, 25-2 at 143. According to defendant Hill, Dr. Winkelmeyer recommended the endoscopy based on plaintiff's unsubstantiated reports of having blood in his vomit, urine, and stool. After receiving the recommendation, defendant Hill consulted with a SECC doctor. They decided to obtain stool samples and do a urinalysis in order to confirm the presence of blood, before deciding whether to do the endoscopy, given that plaintiff's hemoglobin and hematocrit levels suggested no bleeding. ECF No. 25-1 ¶ 56. A urinalysis performed three days later showed no blood in plaintiff's urine. Id. ¶ 57. Ten days following that test, plaintiff refused to “take a card for a fecal specimen, ” thereby preventing defendant Hill from confirming the presence of blood in his stool. Id. Without any medical evidence of blood in his urine or stool, Hill did not order the endoscopy because there was no indication that it was a “medical necessity.” ECF No. 25 at 20. According to defendants, all of Dr. Winkelmeyer's recommendations have been followed except as to the unnecessary endoscopy.

         Plaintiff has submitted several filings in the last few weeks seeking relief on other issues (detailed below), but some of those filings also contain additional arguments for his motion for an injunction. In one such filing, plaintiff argues that he is “threatened with irreparable harm because of the nature of his injury, stomach ulcers, and kidney failure with vomiting, blood in stool, and constant diarrhea, and constant loss of weight drastically with bones, muscles, and joint deterioration.” ECF No. 26 at 1. He states that if he does not get medical treatment it could lead to “permanent kidney failure, death, and loss of body organs and limbs.” Id. He also adds to the list of relief he seeks with the motion for injunction. In addition to wanting to see a urologist and get an endoscopy, plaintiff also wants to be sent to an emergency room for testing to “find out all health issues.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff warns of the possibly of permanent “testicle shrinkage”[2] if he does not see a urologist immediately. ECF Nos. 27 & 32.

         Although plaintiff filed these documents after defendants' filed their response to the motion for injunction, defendants did address plaintiff's other health issues in their response. Based on plaintiff's medical records, defendant Hill states that: (1) there is no evidence in the record that plaintiff has stomach ulcers; (2) plaintiff has not taken his stomach acid and heartburn medications consistently, and there is no evidence that such medications have shut down one of his kidneys (instead medical tests show that plaintiff was born with only one kidney); and (3) plaintiff has experienced fluctuations in his weight since 2016 but they have been addressed with diet bags and Ensure shakes, and plaintiff's current Body Mass. Index (“BMI”) is normal. ECF No. 25 at 20-21.

         Legal Standard for Injunctive Relief

         “Whether a preliminary injunction should issue involves consideration of (1) the threat of irreparable harm to the movant; (2) the state of the balance between this harm and the injury that granting the injunction will inflict on other parties litigant; (3) the probability that movant will succeed on the merits; and (4) the public interest.” Dataphase Sys., Inc. v. C L Sys., Inc.,640 F.2d 109, 113 (8th Cir. 1981). “In balancing the equities no single factor is determinative.” Id. at 113. The relevant inquiry is “whether the balance of equities so favors the movant that justice requires the court to intervene to preserve the status ...

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