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Paulcin v. Inch

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Tallahassee Division

June 27, 2019

PROPHET PAULCIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK S. INCH, et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This case was initiated in the Southern District of Florida, ECF No. 1, based on Plaintiff's complaint against Wexford Health Services, Inc., the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections, Health Services Director Tom Reimers, and numerous other prison officials from Martin Correctional Institution and Wexford Health Services. ECF No. 1 at 3-6. During the pendency of that proceeding, Plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, ECF No. 10. Because Plaintiff sought redress for claims which were separate from the claims presented in Plaintiff's initial complaint, ECF No. 1, and because Plaintiff was located at Wakulla Correctional Institution which is within the Northern District of Florida, the motion was transferred to this Court. ECF Nos. 11, 15. The underlying § 1983 complaint, ECF No. 1, was not transferred. Moreover, just prior to Plaintiff's filing of the motion, ECF No. 10, Plaintiff had been directed to file an amended complaint. ECF No. 7.

         Upon this case being opened, Plaintiff was required to file an in forma pauperis motion, ECF No. 18, which he did, ECF No. 19. Plaintiff was granted in forma pauperis status, [1] ECF No. 20, as he demonstrated that he lacked the financial ability to pay the filing fee for this case and he had alleged that he was “in threat of imminent death or great bodily harm” after arriving at Wakulla Correctional Institution Annex on February 28, 2018. ECF No. 10 at 1, 10. Plaintiff was also required to file an amended complaint in this new case. ECF No. 20. Plaintiff did so in late March 2019, ECF No. 21, but it was insufficient to properly state a claim. See ECF No. 22. Plaintiff was required to file a second amended complaint, no longer than 25 pages, but which presents specific facts rather than conclusory allegations.

         Subsequently, Plaintiff has filed a notice of change of address, ECF No. 23, which reveals he has been moved from Wakulla Correctional Institution and transferred to Florida State Prison. More recently, Plaintiff also filed a motion requesting leave to exceed the 25 page limit, ECF No. 24, and he simultaneously submitted the proposed “second amended complaint.” ECF No. 25. For purposes of proceeding expeditiously, the motion, ECF No. 24, is granted and the second amended complaint, ECF No. 25, is accepted for filing.

         Accordingly, the posture for Plaintiff's filing of his motion for temporary restraining order, ECF No. 10, is unusual. The motion was separate and apart from the initial complaint filed in the Southern District, and it is not anchored to the second amended complaint, ECF No. 25, recently filed in this case.

         The motion relates Plaintiff's mental health diagnoses and his transfer to Charlotte C.I. in 2015. ECF No. 10 at 3. After several attacks by other prisoners, Plaintiff was transferred to Martin Correctional Institution in February 2017, id. at 4, where he was again the victim of prison violence. Id. at 5. In August 2017, he was placed in administrative confinement pending review for protection and was evaluated by Dr. Rawson, who Plaintiff contends failed to renew his psychotropic medication. Id. at 6-7. Plaintiff further alleges that “Ms. Lee, ” who is part of the “mental health staff, ” began “to provoke and encourage [Plaintiff] to commit suicide.” Id. at 7. Although Plaintiff reported having suicidal ideations and other issues to the duty nurse, no help was provided and Plaintiff attempted to “deliberately overdose on dangerously toxic pills.” Id. Following his release from the hospital, Plaintiff was transferred to Lake Correctional Institution on October 4, 2017. Id. at 8. He alleges that his “treatment was abruptly stopped” and he “attempted suicide several” more times. Id. It appears that he was returned to Charlotte Correctional Institution. Id. He alleges that the medication Welbutrin had been used in his treatment, but the “DOC discontinued the distribution of” that drug. Id. at 9. He indicates that his clinical physicians recommended certain treatment that has been impeded by the DOC's actions. Id.

         Plaintiff motion details various mental health diagnoses and medications prescribed. Id. at 9-10. When Plaintiff was transferred to Wakulla Correctional Institution, however, an unidentified physician discontinued Keppla, a seizure medication apparently prescribed for Plaintiff's “epilepsy or epilepsy like symptoms.” Id. Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants “also discontinued furnishing [him] any medical and mental health treatment” without a medical justification. Id. at 10. Plaintiff spoke with ARNP Key who told Plaintiff that she would not provide him with medical care because he had written grievances against her. Id. at 10-11.

         Plaintiff alleges he faces imminent death or great bodily harm due to the lack of medical care. Id. at 11, 12. Plaintiff says that he continues to suffer physical pain due to several injuries, as well as “intense fear, hopelessness, despair, anxiety, and physical pain as a result of defendants discontinuation of [his] epileptic medication.” Id. Plaintiff says that he still has seizures and had one “such attack” in July 2018. Id. at 11.

         Plaintiff also alleges that he had been placed on permanent protective management (PM) status. Id. at 12. Plaintiff states that prisoners have a right to waive such status and be released into the general population of a particular prison if they feel it “meets their security needs.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that he attempted to do so, but “Defendants have continued to hold [him] hostage” and have not released him from PM. Id. Plaintiff contends that PM housing at Wakulla C.I. is an “open dormitory” and he is housed with gang members who are from the same gang that victimized him previously. Id. at 14.

         He also states that he had “gone nearly a year without any Disciplinary Reports (DR) before” his transfer to Wakulla C.I., but that since arriving, he has received two Disciplinary Reports and was recommended for close management. Id. at 13. Plaintiff contends that he is being punished for filing grievances and is in fear for his safety. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “lack the necessary facility and resources at Wakulla C.I. Annex to satisfy [his] medical security, and rehabilitative needs.” Id. at 15. He generally alleges that forcing him to stay at that institution will lead to a decline in his physical and mental health due to the denial of medical care. Id. at 16-17. Plaintiff requests this Court “intervene and protect the rights of its most defenseless and vulnerable citizens.” Id. at 17. He requests a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction, the appointment of counsel, and the appointment of an expert witness. Id. at 21-30.

         Granting or denying a preliminary injunction is a decision within the discretion of the district court. Carillon Importers, Ltd. v. Frank Pesce Intern. Group Ltd., 112 F.3d 1125, 1126 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing United States v. Lambert, 695 F.2d 536, 539 (11th Cir. 1983)). Preliminary injunctive relief may be granted only if the moving party establishes:

(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) a substantial threat of irreparable injury unless the ...

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