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Bradley v. U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, D. Colorado

June 5, 2014

U.S. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, Agency; MR. DAVID BERKEBILE, Warden ADX; DR. NIXON ROBERTS, Dentist/ADX Florence; and MR. PELTON, Health Services Administrator; Defendants.


MARCIA S. KRIEGER, Chief District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court pursuant to the March 24, 2014 Recommendation (#34) of the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff Matthew Bradley's "Motion for Temporary Restraining Order/And Or Preliminary Injunction" (#15) be denied. Mr. Bradley filed timely Objections (#41) to the Recommendation.


Mr. Bradley, a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), asserts in his pro se Complaint (#1) that Defendants failed to provide him with timely and/or adequate dental treatment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.[1] According to Mr. Bradley, "his teeth are diseased and very painful making him unable to eat, causing him to lose weight and have headaches and unable to maintain his health." He further asserts that the "failure to receive adequate and timely dental treatment is allowing what teeth [he] has to degenerate and pain to worsen and spread, that will eventually require extraction and perhaps further extraordinary invasive treatment."

On February 5, 2014, Mr. Bradley filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction ("Motion"). The Motion asserts that injunctive relief is necessary to stop infection from spreading to all of Mr. Bradley's teeth. To that end, Mr. Bradley seeks an injunction directing Defendants to (i) allow Mr. Bradley "to be treated by a dentist whom is not a party hereto or affiliated with defendants for his dental condition" and to follow "the dentist[s] orders and follow up treatments needed"; (ii) "require the treating dentist to write a summary of findings and treatment and what follow up treatment is needed"; (iii) take photographs of Mr. Bradley's "mouth and dental condition before and after treatment"; and (iv) require Defendants to "in the future provide [Mr.] Bradley timely and adequate dental treatment within 48-hours of his request." The matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge.

The Magistrate Judge's Recommendation found that Mr. Bradley "failed to demonstrate, clearly and unequivocally, that his entitled to preliminary injunctive relief" because he "failed to allege specific facts that demonstrate that he will suffer future injury that is irreparable if no preliminary injunction is issued." Specifically, the Magistrate Judge concluded that (i) Mr. Bradley's allegations "only implicate something [he] fears may occur at some indefinite time in the future" and (ii) "the spread of infection if certain of his teeth are not extracted [] no longer exists" because Mr. Bradley had several teeth extracted after filing the Motion. Mr. Bradley filed timely Objections (#41) to the Recommendation.


When a magistrate judge issues a recommendation on a dispositive motion, the parties may file specific, written objections within fourteen days after being served with a copy of the recommendation. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The district court reviews de novo determination those portions of the recommendation to which a timely and specific objection is made. See United States v. One Parcel of Real Prop. Known as 2121 E. 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1060 (10th Cir. 1996).

Injunctive relief is an extraordinary remedy that should only be granted when the moving party clearly and unequivocally demonstrates its necessity. See Schrier v. Univ. of Colo., 427 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir.2005). A party requesting injunctive relief must clearly establish four elements: (i) the party will suffer irreparable injury unless the injunction issues; (ii) the threatened injury outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; (iii) the injunction, if issued, would not be adverse to the public interest; and (4) there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Id.

Certain types of preliminary injunctions are disfavored and, therefore, require that the movant satisfy a heightened burden of showing that the factors support the issuance of an injunction: those that (i) disturb the status quo, (ii) are mandatory as opposed to prohibitory, or (iii) afford the movant substantially all of the relief that they may recover after a determination of the merits. See O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal v. Ashcroft, 389 F.3d 973, 975 (10th Cir. 2004).


Mr. Bradley objects to Magistrate Judge's conclusion that he failed to establish irreparable harm sufficient to necessitate injunctive relief. Specifically, although Mr. Bradley acknowledges that since filing the Complaint he has received dental care-including the extraction of some of his teeth-he objects to the Magistrate Judge's reliance on this fact in concluding that Mr. Bradley had failed to show irreparable harm.[2] He argues that he will still suffer irreparable harm because "[t]he extraction fails to address [the] infection in [his] gums and large lumps of bone cutting [him] when he attempts to eat."

However, Mr. Bradley's argument fails in two respects. First, Mr. Bradley has not shown that the infection of his gums "is of such imminence that there is a clear and present need for equitable relief to prevent irreparable harm." See Heideman v. S. Salt Lake City, 348 F.3d 1182, 1189 (10th Cir. 2003) (quoting Prairie Band of Potowatomi Indians v. Pierce, 253 F.3d 1234, 1250 (10th Cir. 2001)) (emphasis in original). Second, he has not shown that the care received from an unaffiliated dentist would be different than the care that he is currently ...

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