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Moore v. Maine Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Maine

May 4, 2018

WALTER WILLIAM MOORE, a/k/a Nikki Natasha Petrovickov, Plaintiff,
v.
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S REQUESTS FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         In this action, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Maine State Prison, alleges a civil rights violation based on the denial of appropriate medical treatment.

         The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Order of Medical Services (ECF No. 89), Plaintiff's First Motion Requesting Judicial Review (ECF No. 101), and Plaintiff's Second Motion Requesting Judicial Review. (ECF No. 110.) The Court construes the motions as Plaintiff's requests for injunctive relief.

         Following a review of the record and after consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the Court deny Plaintiff's motions.

         Background

         Plaintiff alleges that individuals responsible for the medical care at the Maine State Prison have not provided the appropriate treatment for gender dysphoria. Plaintiff contends that as of the date of the complaint, there was still no treatment plan in place.[1] (Complaint at 4, ECF No. 1.) In the motion for an order regarding medical services, Plaintiff requests certain treatment. (ECF No. 89.) Plaintiff maintains that the lack of appropriate medication and treatment has caused physical and emotional suffering. (ECF No. 89-1 at 6.)

         In the First Motion for Judicial Review, Plaintiff provides some additional information regarding potential therapies, and alleges an assault by another inmate in January 2018. (ECF Nos. 101-104.) In the Second Motion for Judicial Review, Plaintiff includes information regarding the availability of the requested treatment in other states, describes the injuries resulting from the alleged prison assault, and provides documents related to a grievance related to a hormone treatment plan. (ECF No. 110.)

         The State Defendants characterize Plaintiff's request as a disagreement over the proper course of treatment that does not generate a constitutional issue. (ECF No. 94 at 1.) In support of their argument, the State Defendants report: “Pursuant to the Department's policy regarding transgender prisoners, the state and medical defendants have convened a multidisciplinary team which has met a number of times over the past year to review plaintiff's situation, including requests for specific medical care and other accommodations.” (Id. at 2.) Additionally, Defendants introduced progress notes from Plaintiff's treatment chart. The documents reflect that a team meeting was held with Plaintiff to develop and implement a treatment plan.

         The CCS Defendants also oppose the request for injunctive relief. They write:

Gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, which requires an individualized approach to treatment in order to address a particular patient's needs. Treatment for gender dysphoria is complex and multifactorial and involves coordination between mental health care and medical care. In the correctional setting, that treatment is further complicated by correctional concerns, including housing and security.

(ECF No. 96 at 5.) The CCS Defendants contend injunctive relief is not warranted because the treatment plan is reasonable and, given the plan, Plaintiff cannot demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of the claim, and cannot establish irreparable harm, the absence of a harm to the public interest, or that the potential harm to Plaintiff outweighs Defendants' interest in administering prison healthcare without court intervention. (Id. at 7 - 10.)

         Discussion

         When evaluating a request for injunctive relief, courts “must consider (1) the likelihood of success on the merits; (2) the potential for irreparable harm if the injunction is denied; (3) the balance of relevant impositions, i.e., the hardship to the nonmovant if enjoined as contrasted with the hardship to the movant if no injunction issues; and (4) the effect (if any) of the court's ruling on the public interest.” Ross-Simons of Warwick, Inc. v. Baccarat, Inc., 102 F.3d 12, 15 (1st Cir. 1996) (citing Weaver v. Henderson, 984 F.2d 11, 12 &n.3 (1st Cir. 1993), and Narragansett Indian Tribe v. Guilbert, 934 F.2d 4, 5 (1st Cir. 1991)). “The sine qua non of this four-part inquiry is likelihood of success on the merits; if the moving party cannot demonstrate that he is likely to succeed in his quest, the remaining factors become matters of idle curiosity.” New Comm Wireless Servs., Inc. v. SprintCom, Inc., 287 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2002).

         To prevail in this case, Plaintiff must demonstrate that Defendants have acted with “deliberate indifference” toward “a substantial risk of serious harm to health, ” Coscia v. Town of Pembroke, 659 F.3d 37, 39 (1st Cir. 2011), or “serious medical need[], ” Feeney v. Corr. Med. Servs., 464 F.3d 158, 161 (1st Cir. 2006) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105 -106 (1976)). For a medical condition to be objectively “serious, ” there must be “a sufficiently substantial ‘risk of serious damage to [the inmate's] future health.'” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 843 (1994) (quoting Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. ...


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